Back in May, I went up to Olympia (WA) to visit my family and help build raised beds. We put in three beds. I had no doubt we could fill them with fresh veggies like carrots, broccoli, zucchini, beans, and cukes.
The garden has been producing all summer. A few weeks ago I went up to visit and process (wash, blanch, shock and freeze) a bushel of spinach. Last "weekend" (in my world, weekend = two days in a row off, mine is usually Thursday anf Friday) was the start of pickling time.
But... nothing can keep the family from loading down a single gal in Portland with waaaaaay more stuff than I can process. As my sister Anne said, "Ha Ha, we won, you're leaving with more stuff than you brought." Win I did:
Really? Thanks Family.
Thank goodness I have Priscilla right down the hall. She relieved me of half of the produce. The cukes I kept became juice, and the zucchini will be cut and dried for use in soups this winter. The beans and carrots require a little thought. I might make a couple quick batches of pickles; ginger carrots and dill beans. We'll see. Before I do anything with this stuff, I have to make the baked goods for the state fair.
While in Olympia, we made zucchini relish and watermlon rind pickles. I'm anxious to try the watermelon. The super-sweet but rich flavor of the rind is a taste straight out of my childhood. I even remember a poem about pickled watermelon rind.
Elements of it remind me of growing up in rural New Jersey, and the freedom of summer.
Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle Received from a Friend Called Felicity
During that summer
When unicorns were still possible;
When the purpose of knees
Was to be skinned;
When shiny horse chestnuts
Fitted with straws
Crammed with tobacco
Stolen from butts
In family ashtrays)
Were puffed in green lizard silence
While straddling thick branches
Far above and away
From the softening effects
During that summer--
Which may never have been at all;
But which has become more real
Than the one that was--
Thick imperial slices
Melting frigidly on sun-parched tongues
Dribbling from chins;
Leaving the best part,
The black bullet seeds,
To be spit out in rapid fire
Against the wall
Against the wind
Against each other;
And when the ammunition was spent,
There was always another bite:
It was a summer of limitless bites,
Of hungers quickly felt
And quickly forgotten
With the next careless gorging.
The bites are fewer now.
Each one is savored lingeringly,
But in a jar put up by Felicity,
The summer which maybe never was
Has been captured and preserved.
And when we unscrew the lid
And slice off a piece
And let it linger on our tongue:
Unicorns become possible again.