Sunday, July 10, 2011
Eating from the Garden
Latest meal on the table was parsnips and baby beets sauteed with fresh onions, beet greens and leaves of lamb's quarters. Sprinkled with rice vinegar and sesame seeds, served with summer Sauer Kraut and meat patties, this was a splendid experience. As usual, a gardener (and particularly, a permaculture gardener) never ceases to enjoy meals (or dishes) made completely out of garden-provided bounty.
herbs for tea (raspberry leaves, alfalfa, red clover etc) - dried in the shade, stored for months to come. Lavender and onions don't seem to create a dish of any notable taste, but each has a lot to offer individually.
Iced water with fresh lavender blossom and crushed leaves of mint plant, oh how good it goes with the month of July and its heat and some inherent endlessness of futile efforts to keep up with weeds.... This drink punctuates the heat, brings some certainty that rains will come, they MUST come, and that the garden will perk up and grow and not just sit there patiently suffering the heat.
Those of us gardening soon realize that traditional dishes are not just a combination of things that taste well together. They are made of foods that occur at the same time and in the same place. Try making peach chutney if you are homesteading and don't have a supply of garlic or (even worse) fresh peaches. Garlic and peaches ripen at the same time (at least some varieties of peaches do, some come in after the garlic is cured but still plentiful).
Basil-tomato-mozzarella combo also arises from the bounty of the season, with plentiful summer milk to make fresh cheese, and sun-ripened herbs and fruit.