September 8, 2023 at 5:35 a.m.

Fish Like a GIRL

So, who needs some zucchini?

Outdoors Writer

That is a typical question one might hear in the Northwoods if they happen to hang around with any gardeners. I have been trying to pawn off zucchini as well. I saw a joke the other day warning people not to leave their vehicles unlocked — not because of car thefts or people stealing things out of vehicles, but because car owners would surely come back to find someone had put zucchini in their car.

While it is projected to be super hot again today as I am writing this, the truth is, harvest time has started. I know I started my garden far too early inside, so I may be ahead of some others while harvesting, but I have been knee deep in it of late.

I planted one Amish paste tomato plant. I did not stake it up. I learned a ton this year about growing tomatoes horizontally. One thing I learned is that I simply do not have the space to do that again! I can honestly say I do not think I have ever grown a tomato plant of the magnitude of this particular plant. It has spread across half of my four-foot by eight-foot bed and down two sides of it to run across a few feet of the yard. The number of tomatoes a plant that size can grow was mind boggling. I have canned tomato sauce, frozen tomato sauce and yesterday I made my first batch of salsa. This time I just made fresh salsa, to be eaten now. My next batch will be canned salsa for the winter. 

I started out with just blanching and freezing vegetables. Honestly, it is just simpler than canning. But now my freezer is pretty full. Full to the point that, if I am lucky enough to harvest a deer this fall, odds are good that the meat, and the half of a pig that I will be ordering here soon, will necessitate me purchasing another freezer. That would not be the worst thing in the world, to be sure. But I still plan to can many things, as I have said before.

I also want to pickle some of my garden harvest. Last year was the first time I had ever had pickled kohlrabi. The thought had never even entered my mind before. How that could be true, I have no idea. My grandmother was big on kohlrabi. She was also big on pickled things. I remember she and my mom would always eat pickled pigs feet together. They would only eat it with each other, though, which I thought was pretty neat. It was their mother/daughter special treat. So I grew up with pickled things. But when I put that first piece of spicy pickled kohlrabi in my mouth, I knew I needed more of this in my life.

I also cannot wait to experiment with different types of pickles. My cucumbers were largely overrun by that crazy tomato plant, but if need be I will supplement my cucumber supply with goods from the farmer’s market. I love bread and butter pickles, so I know those will be on tap for sure. And I would like to try some spicy pickles this year, which I have never done before. They sound like they would be perfect for the two or three bloody Marys I have throughout the year. 

Speaking of the farmer’s market, I can always use a nice jar of pickled eggs in the fridge. I know that is not a garden product, per se, but still one of my favorites. And if I use dill out of my own garden, that kind of counts, does it not?

My sister makes some great dilly beans every year. Those are another favorite of mine. The cool thing about dilly beans is they can be spicy or not as well. I love to experiment in the kitchen anyway and have a culinary arts background. That said, experimenting with pickled products is just an extension of my culinary curiosity.

“I wonder what would happen if I added this,” is a favorite saying of mine in the kitchen. So I will be just as surprised as everyone else what comes out of my pickling session. I will be sure to share the successful recipes here with you all. Those that do not quite pass muster? Well, I will probably share those, too. We all need a laugh from time to time, to be honest.

All of this makes me wonder about pickling zucchini. I have never done that, but I suppose it might be possible. In any event, I would welcome any and all ideas to use up some of these oblong green vegetables that are threatening to take over my laundry room right now. We can only eat so much minestrone and zucchini bread. I do like zucchini bread, and putting different fruits in with it changes it up a bit, but there is only so much a person can do with it, right?

Beckie Gaskill may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected].


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