Monday, July 28, 2008

mmm mmm... summertime

I love all the fresh food of summer. Even though grocery stores try to rob us of a sense of season by having everything all of the time, there are times when things are going to taste better because it is their season.

And for a lot of fruits and vegetables that is high summer. We grow a garden and there is always anticipation for the first of the season and then there is the point of gluttony where you wonder what you will do with one more zucchini.

Welcome summer eating in a northern clime. This week was our first zucchini and our first cherry tomatoes. We can see the peppers and eggplant getting bigger and anticipate eating them in a couple of weeks along with tomatoes if they hold out against the wilt.

We were able to get corn for the first time a couple of weeks ago. It is one thing we don't grow. It is so abundant in Wisconsin, you can go any direction out of town and run into a roadside stand selling it. It is so delicious! We usually just boil it and slather it with butter and salt and pepper.
This year, though, because I was feeling a little bit homesick for where I grew up,the first corn and zucchini went to calabacitas! This is comfort food from New Mexico. Saute corn and zucchini with onions and green chiles. Season with salt and pepper and top with cheddar cheese.

But the best part about summer is the fruit. It starts with strawberries in June, moves into sour cherries and blueberries in July and continues with apples and grapes in September.

There are several pick your own places in the area, so we'll go out on a weekend and pick enough to enjoy fresh, make jam and freeze some for treats later in the year.

Strawberries were ready at the end of June and we were able to find rhubarb at the farmer's market at the same time so we made strawberry-rhubarb jam and William made the most delicious pie.

Next were cherries. We drive a couple of hours south of our home for these. These are sour cherries, make great pies and jam, but not necessarily an eating cherry - the crop wasn't very good this year, but we got enough to make jam and froze enough for about 10 pies.

We will be picking blueberries next weekend. We went last year and they are fun to pick (ie. no prickly thorns or scratchy branches to attack you) and were very abundant. I love to go to the freezer and grab a handful for a snack and then the pies...

If you hadn't guessed we make lots of pies, but that is the subject for another post.

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