It’s getting to the time to think about planting vegetables for winter meals.
Lets see, now. We’ll need carrots for sure, overwintering broccoli, cabbage, Kale, kohlrabi, onions — and what about planting some more peas, lettuce, spinach, radishes and Brussels sprouts (buy small sprout plants).
Now you can fall back in your lounge chair and relax, until your spouse mentions that you need brown bread and cottage cheese. Get up with a groan.
“May as well get those seeds while I’m at it,” you might think, smiling to yourself, remembering that the liquor store is next door to the hardware store that handles seeds.
Before you can plant anything, you’ll need to dig over the vegetable patch and bring in all the vegetation. Those new potatoes are so good, and they can have a salad with your own lettuce, green onions, ripe tomatoes, small cucumbers. Remember, you must pick them soon for the spouse to make some dill pickles and maybe that tasty relish that is so good on a hamburger.
The spouse sees his or her partner looking fondly at the garden and knows from the gleam in their eyes that they have plans that include each other.
Oh dear, it must be about time to start washing, packaging and freezing vegetables for the coming winter. Gardeners love this part — the pulling of baby beets, carrots, potatoes, the picking of peas, raspberries, logans, Tay berries and blackberries, the picking of apples, peaches and pears.
A gardener’s work will then be done, where the one responsible for preserving or preparing those vegetables is just about to begin — and that doesn’t include the making of jam, jelly and pies.
Much of the food can be frozen, but not all. Oh dear, it is wonderful, it really is. But, oh my, it all is a lot of hard work.
I remember working in a hot kitchen where my late husband had the great outdoors to keep him cool — and he had the nerve to complain of being tired! HA! Tired!? Let me tell you about tired.
Just wait until I’ve done all the boiling, washing of jars, melting of wax to cover the jellies, the boiling of jar caps to make sure they will seal properly, the application of band-aids to the cuts earned while slicing onions for the chutney.
And he thought he was tired! I’m already exhausted and I haven’t yet even peeled a peach.
Incidently if you are handling fresh peaches at this time of year and are looking to serve them up as a dessert or a snack, you need to scald peaches to be able to just slide the skin off.
Dip each peach into boiling water for about 40 seconds, before slipping them into cold water to cool. The peel should just wipe off when you rub each peach between your hands. Messy, but it works!
Now slice them, pour a small amount of orange juice over the slices and add brown sugar. Stir to make sure all the slices have been moistened and lightly covered with brown sugar. Let them soak for about half an hour before serving.
Marvelous over ice cream, but delicious just as they are.
Helen Lang has been the Peninsula News Review’s garden columnist for more than 30 years.