My shed is now decked with shallots, garlic, basil and random bulbs, the smell is intense. I’ve hung chain from hooks and will have plenty of room to hang my onions when they’re ready. Curing takes time, but it is also an enjoyable aspect of growing and harvesting. Watching as the crop prepares itself for storage, smelling the change as the oils, I think it’s oils, become more contained. I’ll have to rest my squash too when they’re ready to harvest. They only need three days, the shallots will take a few weeks. As will the garlic, but proper curing means I can replant the garlic. I’ve managed to save a few chive seeds too, I blanked on getting to the flowers in time, but luckily I spotted them today. I like saving seeds. All my chillies this year are from saved seeds and they’re doing really well. I’ll try to save some plant seeds as I go, I know where to find the pods and have a decent idea of when they’re ready to harvest.
One of the parts I love of the journey from seed to table is just after harvesting. When you’ve removing the damaged crops and are looking at a motley hodgepodge of shapes and sizes. This isn’t the perfect vegetables from the supermarket. But, each vegetable is still worthwhile, beauty imparts no better flavour, shape gives it no more richness when perfect, the lumpy vegetable is as worthwhile as any. These are the product of a lifetime encapsulated within a short piece of my own lifetime. I watched seeds germinate, leaves spring forth, fretted when weather turned foul, dashed back and forth with water and feed when the weather was harsh, then a day comes when they have reached their potential, some didn’t but they become compost to feed another generation of plants, another set of lifetimes, and their final step lies ahead. they go into the kitchen and are made into a meal, a requiem of sorts, a final thank you from them to me for growing them and from me to them for giving me a purpose greater than myself for a while. I really do love my garden, dear reader.
The great part of growing something you’re unfamiliar with, in a culinary sense, is that it forces you to get creative or get researching. You’ll be surprised at how little you’re willing to waste or how tolerant of foods you never liked before when you’ve put in the effort of growing them yourself. For me it’s a matter of limits, there is so much I can’t eat and when finally given something new to try I’ll gladly acquiesce. I’ll be searching for recipes that really utilise the shallots well, rather than just replacing onions, I have enough onions as is, so it’ll fun to get started when they’ve finish curing.
As cliched as it is, the adage that there’s nothing better than homegrown holds true. There are foods that are completely different when eaten fresh. Some are more tender, others sweeter, some are just completely different. It’s also the reason I often grow varieties that aren’t readily available in shops, you get the best of the fresh and also a new flavour or component to a dish. Fresh herbs are the easiest way to add some flair to meals. You just can’t get the same taste when the herb has been cut and left there, from the moment it’s cut it’s losing flavour, it’s getting limp and unappealing. It’s the reason I only make pesto when I can grow basil. It might be frozen, but the basil was fresh when it was prepared.
Not much else to say today. The vegetable beds will soon be cleaned and covered. I might try for second croppings next year, but with the uncertainty of when my surgery will be, always hopeful it’ll be soon, I couldn’t do anything this year. I’ll be tending to whatever is in the greenhouse, looking at and after the squash, collecting flower seeds for next year. If I can keep the caterpillars from eating them I might see some Brussels Sprouts. The weather has been terrible so it’s probably for the best that I hadn’t many plans for later planting. I hope that my life can finally come out of the limbo it’s been in, dear reader I know some of these posts haven’t been filled with joie de vivre, hopefully things will pick for. Be patient with Jack, dear reader and take care.