Funny, this summer, while the garden was in progress, I found myself uninspired, and not actually eating that much from it. Perhaps its because the season was so strange — once my early success with spring greens under hoops burned out (because it got hot, and the plants burned up), I wound up in this long odd period when there wasn’t much out there a person could eat right now, most of it was things like carrots and beets and tomatoes and peppers and beans that took a long long time this summer to ripen.
However, I did put in some time as the season went on putting things up. The beets, for example. I harvested beets three or four times this summer, roasted them off, peeled them and froze them on cookie sheets in the freezer. Then I just popped them into ziploc bags (like the tomatoes in this photo — I just stuck them in a bag and froze them). So now, I can pull a few out, and have beets ready to throw in a salad or in some pasta. The tomatoes too — I’ve been thawing them in by the pyrex dish load, and throwing them in a burrito or using them when I sautee chard. They’re a little watery sometimes, but still so much better than a grocery store tomato. And then there are the pickled peppers. I love those pickled peppers and I’ve been eating them on everything.
For instance, breakfast lately has been burritos made with beans I cooked and froze in pint jars, cheese, chard (one of the few things still growing well in the garden), pickled peppers, previously-frozen tomatoes, and onion. The only things I have to buy in that meal are the tortillas and the cheese. Why this makes me as ridiculously happy as it does, is something of a mystery. I’m working again, so it’s not even like the money I save is that significant. I think it’s just the plain old pleasure of doing something oneself.
What I love about this part of the year, after the garden is over, and after the work of putting things up, is the pleasure inherent in that old phrase, “the fruits of one’s labor.” I’m eating the fruits of my labor — which means that I can find a wide variety of yummy things to eat for days on end without having to go to the grocery store. And that makes me very happy, especially when it’s cold and blustery and snowy outside.