Summer into autumn

At Victory View Vineyard, La Crescent grapes cluster on the vines before picking, September.

Summer foraging is over, the pickles are made, tomatoes roasted and canned. Now all those berries I picked while it was too hot to cook have to go into pots for jam.

Late season ramps from early June, now curried pickles.

This year was my first for  pickling – starting with late season ramps in June. The greens die back but the bulbs are at their biggest, if you can find them.

The French cucumber seeds I ordered yield little cukes, perfect when picked small for classic cornichon pickles.

A handfull of cukes for cornichon

A few cucumbers always managed to evade my search, growing too large for pickling but great for salads.  I had only six plants survive to maturity, not enough to yield a jar a day. I did learn to wash them and wrap in a thick cotton towel in the fridge to keep them crisp enough until I had a full batch. Next year I’ll triple my plantings and make sure each of them has a protective ring around the base to the seedlings.

Peak tomato season - ready for roasting

In our garden it was a very good year for tomatoes. Loads went in the oven for roasting – very few of which were really sauce tomatoes. Roasting slicing tomatoes produces a lot of juice and dramatically little sauce. To roast, I tossed in fresh herbs, garlic, spicy peppers, set to 325 for an hour or until soft, then pureed them for freezing. All winter they will be a base for soups, sauces, or cook on the stove to reduce the juices and serve as is.

Though the blasting heat burned up all the wold black raspberries, summer offered up  a lot of magnificent harvesting days, days with friends, days in quiet communion with nature, and one big weekend out at Victory View Vineyard in Easton, helping them pick three of their wine varietal. The company, the easy rhythms of picking and conversations, great lunches and wine to take home – that weekend merits a much longer description. Plan to join the harvest next year and find out for yourself. They sent me home with grapes, two reds, Marshall Foch and Marquette, and one white, La Crescent for jellies. The juice smells sweet, intensely grape. The weekend’s cool rainy weather will be perfect for warming up the kitchen with  jams and jellies for canning.


About barbaraprice

Artist, Food writer, book editor, gardener
This entry was posted in Adventures in cooking, Gardening, Jams and other canning and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Summer into autumn

  1. lisahaun says:

    I love pickles!

  2. Michael Dill says:

    I love this time of year myself. So happy somebody had a good year for tomatoes. Mine got an early blight and the harvest was cut short right when it should have been peaking. Now that it’s cool I’ve planted broccoli, kale, and Brussels sprouts in their stead. I’m hoping they do well.
    Have you ever tried drying some of your tomatoes? Two years ago, when I had a very large harvest at end of season, I tried it, and even though they were not sauce tomatoes, they did make intensely flavored dried tomatoes.
    I wish ramps grew around here. They look so good as curried pickles.

    • barbaraprice says:

      Last year I received a swap of a large bag of dried cherry tomatoes and they are so delicious I’ve saved them for snacking. Apparently around here people had mixed results with tomatoes. I had loads of cherry tomatoes and plenty of others for salads but the heirlooms were slow to ripen.

      • Michael Dill says:

        My most resistant to the early blight was an heirloom tomato. I can’t remember the name, and can’t find the tag, which I always try to save, but it was a Russian black cherry tomato. Though I thought it looked more like a plum tomato. They were very sweet and crunchy when ripe. I hope I can find them again. Celebrity was the most vulnerable to the blight; I won’t be planting them again.

      • barbaraprice says:

        If you can change the location in your garden where you plant your tomatoes, it may help.

    • Michael Dill says:

      Yes. I realized I’d been using the same raised bed for tomatoes for far too long. Next year I plan on rotating them, and will continue rotating, insuring they only return to a bed once every three years.

  3. SQ says:

    I love the way you’ve brought the seasons together for this piece!
    best, Sue

Comments are closed.