Wonky Harvests & What To Do With Them
wonky (adj.) – shaky, groggy, unsteady (British slang) from Random House Dictionary 2010
All hail Harvest Season. All hail the nothing-short-of-amazing SUPER Harvest Moon last week. But what to do if your harvest is a little short of the perfection you’d imagined so long ago…back when you raised those veggies…from tiny seeds…(wiping tear)…and now…
They didn’t ripen in time!…They’re a little TOO ripe!…There are too many to store!…I don’t have time this week to make proper preserves in water baths? Some of the recent wonky vegetables I have come across, with ideas for do-able (and totally delicious) solutions…
SORTA-GREEN, SORTA-RED TOMATOES
If your tomatoes are showing the first signs of turning to red-ness/ripeness (some heirloom varieties don’t turn full-on hypersaturated red, but are ripe when soft), they can be picked and left in a dry, closed container to ripen. If you accidentally pick too early, or don’t cover them when night temperatures start to drop, you can use this ripening method. I learned recently that, contrary to popular belief, leaving them out in the sun can cause premature rot instead of ripeness.
TOTALLY GREEN TOMATOES
If your tomatoes are showing ZERO signs of red-ness/ripeness, try a zesty green tomato relish.
It’s a New Hampshire miracle!!! I grew some melons in the front yard. But…I planted them late. The seeds didn’t get into the ground until late June, and the fledgling fruits are not yet fist-size. As the days grow chilly, worry sets in. I hear that late/small melons are less sugary, less juicy than the late-Summer melons we see in our garden reveries. Here are several backup plans I have in case these melon babies turn out less-than-succulent…
Enough said. Too weird to bake, too rare to die…
Try using them to thicken a soup. Here’s a personal favorite…
Cream of Cucumber Soup
2 1/4 cup veggie stock
3 tblsp olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 3/4 cup cucumbers – peeled and chopped
1 cup potatoes – peeled and chopped
1/2 cup lettuce – chopped
1/4 cup sour cream
1/8 cup milk
Salt/pepper to taste
Heat stock. Add oil, vegetables, and salt to taste. Boil until onions are clear and potatoes are soft. Liquefy, in parts, in blender, along with mint leaves. Return to pot. Whisk in cream and milk. Garnish with additional mint, season to taste.
TOO MANY TOMATOES
This is obviously a current (uphill) battle. I recommend…salsa, a simple tomato sauce with garlic/basil/oregano, flash freezing in single layers, and spicy ketchup.
BASIL, ABOUT TO GO TO FLOWER
Quick! Pesto! Now! Pick all the basil. Wash it, pat dry. Chop in blender or food processor with pine nuts, fresh parmesan, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt/pepper, and plenty of garlic. Freeze in single-serve containers!
A MILLION RADISHES
Radishes really leave me baffled. They are so tasty raw, sliced in salads and included in slaw. They are really strange cooked (referring to a few stir-fry incidents I try to never speak of). Somehow, I ended up with several buckets full of HUGE Chinese Winter Radishes. Pressed for time, I mixed and matched a few recipes for refrigerator pickles (no need for hot water bath, you cure and store them in the fridge).
1. Slice them into discs. Fill pint mason jars.
2. Fill jars with warm water, 2 tblsp pickling or kosher salt, a few slices of fresh ginger, and a sprinkling of whole peppercorns.
3. Done. Stick them in the fridge. Eat in two weeks. Use as garnish, sandwich condiments, sides for asian dishes, etc.
VEGETABLES BEYOND HELP
Ok, so…the tomatoes are just…rotten. The lettuce is beyond wilted. The cucumbers look like prunes…
Compost away and give back to the soil for next year. Consider them casualties of Garden War.
And one last solution…Do you have hens?
During normal feeding time, try tossing a few of the more salvageable veggies into the yard. My hen friends seem to have developed a fondness for radish greens and wilted arugula.