In your box:
- Head lettuce
- Red Onion
- Summer Squash
- Sweet corn
Remember a couple weeks ago when I was lamenting the lack of summer this year? Thankfully, it finally showed up. Personally, I was more than happy with the great weather we had been having since late July. But the heat and humidity have been a real blessing to the crops, even if it’s uncomfortable to bring them in.
Thanks to the heat wave, our tomato harvest is up 443%, from 7 pounds per average harvest to 38 pounds. Summer squash have more than doubled, from 22 pounds average to 42 . Cucumbers are also happy, up from 26 pounds to 37 pounds per picking. And beans have finally started filling out. After a slow trickle of 4.25 pounds average, we’re finally bringing in 17 pounds after the heat wave moved through.
Now that the boxes are quite full and heavy, I thought I’d offer some ideas on how to use or preserve the harvest before it either takes over your fridge or begins to rot.
Summer Squash: When these start to pile up, my favorite remedy is zucchini cake (See recipe below). For quick storage, grate them into a plastic bag and freeze for up to one year. To save yourself a step, grate as much as you like and then measure out the necessary amount for zucchini cake and freeze servings individually. That way, you can thaw just what you need to make a cake in the winter.
Can be grated or sliced thinly into salads. Also, try grating it to make a squash slaw
Steam squash whole or halved to retain texture. Cook squash cut into 1-2” pieces for 10-15 minutes, chunks for 5-10 minutes or until tender when a fork is inserted. Do not overcook! Top with butter, lemon juice, herbs, Parmesan cheese, or pepper.
Great in soups and stews. Add toward the end of the cooking to retain texture.
Grill summer squash halves about 3–4 minutes on the hottest part of the grill and then 8-10 on a cooler side. Baste with oil or marinade.
Mash cooked summer squash, drain well, and blend with butter and salt and pepper. Add grated cheese, if desired.
Cucumbers: With a lot, you can can your own pickles. Otherwise, check out our newsletter from a couple weeks ago for refrigerator pickles. I’ve included a recipe for a cucumber salad, below.
Dice or slice them raw into green salads
Add as a topping for snack crackers, or on any sandwich
Slice and mix into yogurt
Puree or grate cucumber to make your own chilled vegetable soup stock.
Beans: This year, we’ve again planted three varieties: green, yellow, purple, and purple/white “Dragon’s Tongue.” However, this year our seed supplier has changed the name to “Dragon’s Langerie.” I don’t know enough French to know what langerie is, but of course my first thought went to a picture of a dragon in lingerie. As far as I can tell, langerie is simply the French word for mouth or tongue—it just sounds more delicious if you call your product by a French name, I guess. In any event, if your beans are piling up you can freeze them easily:
1. Break off the inedible ends of the beans.
2. Bring a large pot of water (and a pinch of salt) to a rapid boil.
3. Once the water is boiling, dump in the beans and return to a boil.
4. Cook the beans for 3-5 minutes at a hearty boil and then remove from heat.
5. Dump the beans into a colander and drain the water. Immediately run cold water over the beans, tossing in ice cubes if your patience wanes. Keep this up until the beans are no longer hot. This is important-—if the beans do not cool, they will continue boiling internally and get mushy.
6. Once cool, set the beans out to dry.
7. Once dry, move them into plastic freezer bags and jam into the freezer.
This process is known as blanching and can be used for peas, corn, and some other veggies as well.