Autumn Gems

As I was preparing to plant garlic, I discovered that our garden is still producing a lot of food. Tucked among the frost-wilted foliage, I found a variety of vegetables that are soldiering on in the cold.

Broccoli is sending out side shoots.
Swiss Chard is lush with green leaves.
Lemon sorrel is great in salads or as a steamed vegetable.
I’ll save some seeds, but most of these beans will get baked-with-bacon or pressure canned in pint jars for future use. Canned beans are more convenient than dried beans, which need soaking and lengthy cooking times.
Purple cabbage can be used raw in slaws or braised with apples & vinegar.
Purple Curly Kale will last all winter, so we can use leaves in smoothies.
I missed harvesting this whole plant of Thai Dragon chilies! The frost has killed all the plant’s leaves but the chilies were still firm and salvageable.
I gathered about 6 cups of chilies. Some I threaded up so they will dry and can be used during the winter months. The rest I made into Garlic Chili Oil.
In the blender, I added 1 cup of garlic cloves, 2 TB sea salt, 12 chilies and 2 cups of olive oil. I pureed the ingredients and then froze small jars full. I keep one jar in the fridge for daily use in vegetables and salad dressings.
My clump of chives looked sad, so I cut most of it off to preserve it.
After washing and sorting out the best stalks, I sharpened my knife and chopped several bunches of chives.
Most of the chopped chives went into Garlic Chive Butter.
I used one pound of softened butter (salted), 3-4 pressed cloves of garlic and 3 cups of chopped chives. After mixing, I divided it onto plastic wrap.
The Garlic Chive Butter is rolled and ready for freezing. I slice off frozen “coins” for topping steaks, baked potatoes, steamed vegetables or put it on toast to accompany pasta dishes.
I’ve been waiting all summer for my “onions” to bulb up. But apparently (obviously), I planted summer leeks instead of WallaWalla onions!
I harvested half of the row, and peeled them right on site. It’s much tidier to leave most of the vegetable trimmings in the garden, rather than bringing dirt into the kitchen.
I rinsed the leeks and then chopped them up.
I’m going to substitute leeks for onions, in my final salsa batches for the season.

As I was pulling weeds and getting ready to plant fall garlic, I found some garlic that I had forgotten to harvest in July! Only now, did I remember leaving this small patch of garlic to mature more. Oh well, they definitely matured more! The cloves are big and plump and “pre-started” for the next years crop. I’ll separate the bulb into individual cloves, so they can grow unrestricted. And as always, I’ll plant all of my 2020 garlic crop in a new area of the garden. Crop rotation helps to prevent soil nutrient deficiencies and diseases from developing.

Take a wander through your garden and see what Autumn Gems you might find lurking under fallen leaves 🙂