Last evening I saw the man in the moon. In the incredible Hunter’s Moon that hanged, powerful and enormous, for a short while. As I was driving home, the sun sinking behind the mountains at my back , the majestic Moon was rising in the Eastern sky, capturing and reflecting the dying light from the sun. I was moon-struck. You don’t get to see such moons very often.
It’s the moon that give the hunters light to finish their task, even as the sun sinks down. It can also be used by the harvesters to finish gathering the crops (although they got their own harvest moon, 28 days ago).
In between those moons, we’ve been harvesting.
Venison. Bow hunting opened in early October, and Keith took one buck. We’ve been making pasta sauce; very slow cooked roasts with a little bacon and braised red cabbage with juniper berries; quick-fry ground venison with a variety of spices & herbs. Most of it, of course, found its way to the freezer.
Peppers. Lots of peppers. I finally decided that it was time to harvest them all, saved the very small ones. On Sunday, the last harvest yielded almost a mixed bushel of Quadrato D’Asti, Sweet Banana, Italian, Gipsy, California Wonder, Aconcagua, Jimmy Nardello and Sweet Round of Hungary. We fry them, roast them, and also diced them for the freezer. And they’ll keep fine for a few weeks at room temperature. Next year, I still need to start them earlier so they are bigger by the time I put them out. Would love to have lots of ripe peppers, not just green ones.
Hot Peppers. This year: Jalapenos, Fish & Bird. We make these hot sauces.
Zucchini & Summer Squashes. That’s it. All uprooted! We sautéed the last fresh ones yesterday. After having had our fill of this fresh zucchini relish. Grated, squeezed and frozen; also dried, is how I have been preserving them.
Spinach. Although I did not plant spinach as early as I really should have, the bed is yielding well (and I just sowed another long bed this week-end). They find their way in all kinds of stir-fry and many salads.
Salad Greens. Ditto. Well… OK, I don’t braised them, but is is time for the huge salads made of various lettuces – some reddish, some curly – endives, arugula, sorrel and handful of herbs.
Tomatillo. Now officially a weed. Salsas and soups, like this Tomatillo Chicken soup. I have also experimented with sweet potatoes & tomatillo soup, and I really liked the result – especially with handful of cilantro. Love the fall cilantro!
Swiss Chard. Braised, steamed, casseroled and gratined. LOVE Swiss chard (except for the red stem ones!), and this year as we are growing some in one of our second-hand new-to-us growing tunnels (which we have not covered up for the winter yet), I hope to be able to harvest throughout the winter.
Chayote Shoots. One of my favorite greens. Encouraged by comments and other readings, I also finally tried the young tendrils and they are perfectly edible. Older tendrils are too tough, though.
Ground Cherries. Here is when I recently talked about them.
Raspberries. It’s been an incredible year for raspberries, and even this late in the year, I am getting a cup twice a week. I keep telling Keith, that’s it for the raspberries, and they keep showing up! But then again, we only had a very light frost to date (that’s about to change!)
Green Beans. Lots of green beans. Many found their way – after a quick blanching – to the freezer. We also eat them in salad with a simple vinaigrette dressing and diced shallots, as well as sautéed with some chopped pecan, garlic, and minced red onions. The biggest surprise this year was to find out that – contrary to popular wisdom, at least contrary to everything I’ve read – bush green beans will produce quite a nice second crop, and a small third. No need to pull them out after they seem done. That, I learned, ahem, by accident, being too lazy to pull them out. Wasn’t that nice?
I am also still making and canning apple sauce & pear sauce from local orchards. Last count shows the pantry has well over 175 jars of jam, tomatoes, peaches, quince, pears, apples and various pickled veggies. That’s almost a jar a day during the winter – I am starting to feel better (I was feeling quite bummed in late August because I was so late with the winter garden and did not have as much as I wanted preserved).
Now is the time to start working on the spring garden and really go after the weeds in the asparagus bed. But maybe not under the moon, there might be too much magic there…