By Eve Springwood Minson
As temperatures warm up and days lengthen, the season’s harvest rolls in with arugula, broccoli, lettuce, garlic scapes, kale, chard, snap peas, scallions and other early veggies gracing our kitchens and plates. Garden tasks revolve around fertilizing, weeding and watering when it’s not raining, but the best part is the delicious, healthy meals we can finally enjoy, along with gorgeous bouquets of flowers for our homes!
My thoughts turn to all the dishes I love to cook this time of year. Included in my repertoire are strawberry jam, spring soups, pestos and wonderful vegetarian dishes, saving extra greens and strawberries for smoothies and the winter freezer. Baked kale chips, Italian and Asian dishes, soups and amazing salads are on the menu for me, filling me with the finest nutrients available – from the backyard to my belly in minutes.
It’s also time to harvest herbs to dry for winter use – oregano, parsley, thyme, rosemary, summer savory and sage are but a few herbs we can put into a food dehydrator or bundle up and hang in a warm attic or kitchen for drying so we can enjoy in winter. Lavender flowers are heavenly and dry well, along with chamomile and mint for tea. Mint is also delicious fresh in iced tea and cocktails.
Summer crops like blueberries, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants are a little slow coming in this year because of cool temperatures, but soon we will enjoy their bounty, as well. I try to preserve the summer’s harvest in any way I can. Tomatoes can be oven-dried or made into sauce and canned, peppers can be sliced fresh and frozen for future use, blueberries frozen or made into jam, various dishes and soups can be cooked and frozen in containers to be enjoyed on a cold winters’ night. Yum! I hope you enjoy every bite. You’ve worked hard for it.
And me? I’m headed back into the kitchen!