Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sack Gardens Revisited, August 2010

Below you will find a few websites with instructions on how to make sack gardens. The photos are very helpful and this seems better than listing the steps here. I encourage you to give sack gardens a try.

I did want to move on from sack gardens and talk about the harvest season. I am anxiously waiting for my tomatoes to ripen, but in the meantime there is plenty of produce to be had. My early apple trees are loaded. Gardens and markets are bursting at the seams and if you have been waiting to incorporate locally grown food into your diet, now is the perfect time. An excellent recipe for using a multitude of fresh vegetables is gazpacho (see recipe below). When we had gazpacho in Spain, it was blended as to be creamy like tomato soup. Most gazpacho in the U.S. is chunky, with vegetables cut in small pieces. You can try it both ways and see what you think. Serve with fresh bread for a wonderful lunch or as a starter with dinner.

If you are interested in continued access to local food throughout the winter, now is the time to get started canning and freezing. Canning ideas include: Dilly beans, pickled beets, tomatoes, salsa, applesauce, pickles, pressure canned veggies (such as wax beans, corn and carrots) and jams such as blueberry and peach. Freezing includes: pesto (basil/cheese pasta topping), berries, zucchini, kale and chard, tomatoes, broccoli and cauliflower, apples and corn. My favorite food preservation book is The Ball Blue Book. My copy is tattered, stained and notes are scribbled here and there. It has seen much use.

Food preservation methods not mentioned here are drying and dehydrating. I don't have much experience with these. I do dry herbs – oregano, thyme, basil, lavendar and sage. Please share with us if you have experience with drying and dehydrating.

If you have too much produce and don't wish to preserve for the winter, please donate it to a food pantry. This way food can make its way to those who need it the most. See a list of pantries right here on the GardenShare website.

Gazpacho Andaluz

from Spain, by M.Teresa Segura


4 fl. oz olive oil

2 fl. oz red wine vinegar

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 Tbsp. salt

¼ tsp. ground cumin

1/8 tsp. Tabasco sauce

4 large ripe tomatoes, sliced

2 lb canned plum tomatoes (I just used fresh)

1 green bell pepper, sliced

1 cucumber, sliced

½ onion, sliced

ice cubes

To garnish:

chopped tomatoes


hard-cooked eggs

Combine the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, cumin and Tabasco sauce in a food processor with half of the vegetables listed and puree. Transfer the soup mixture to a large bowl. Puree the remaining vegetables and add to the soup. Add ice cubes (or water) to taste and additional salt if necessary. Refrigerate until very cool or overnight.

Before serving, garnish the gazpacho with chopped tomatoes, croutons and hard-cooked eggs.

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