The Milkweed Diaries

Monday, August 11, 2008

Putting Food By

In an attempt to survive the vegetable onslaught, we borrowed a dehydrator and spent some time yesterday drying tomatoes and squash.

I also desalted a bunch of brine pickled vegetables and packed them in a 4-to-1 water/vinegar solution and put them in the fridge, where they will keep for a few months without heat processing (which would have killed all of the beneficial bacteria from the brining).

Because we were already in a frenzy of food preservation, we figured it wouldn't hurt to add one more food project to the kitchen mix, so we told Alan he could come by to make pesto out of the huge quantity of purslane he, LJ, and I gathered last week while we were up in Pennsylvania.

Purslane is a common weed which is quite tasty and contains alpha-linolenic acid, one of the famous Omega-3 fatty acids, and other nutrients. There's a little bit volunteering in various spots around our garden, but we came across the motherlode last week as we were passing through Haverford, PA. We gathered a ton and brought it home to turn into pesto.

Above are the squash and tomatoes on their way to the dehydrator, and below is Alan making purslane pesto. We ended up with a little more than 1/2 gallon of pesto, made with nothing but purslane and olive oil. We can add nuts and/or cheese later if we want, but the flavor is so good and tart and juicy as it is that I hate to change it at all!

Above: Alan making purslane can see the jars of brine-pickled squash, cucumbers, and cauliflower at the left of the photo, too.

Below: triumphant end-of-the-day photo of the same table pictured in yesterday's blog, much emptier after a day of preserving. Alan, Christopher, and I feasted
last night on fresh veggies, including a
very tasty Italian edible gourd and some of the aforementioned pesto
, around a candlelit centerpiece of the remaining tomatoes...


Dana said...

I am jealous of your food harvest. I did not grow much food this year, being transistional and all, and I realized today that I want more veggies! I plan to buy 2 big ole candy roasters this fall from a guy in Marshall to cook and freeze, and that will be my putting food by project for the year. I also will be going to the home of a different old guy in Marshall this fall to gather paw paws- that will be fun and a half. You should get in on some of dat. In the past I have sun dried tomatoes in a car on screens, with the windows cracked and using a fan. I sprinkled the maters with a little salt and the sun and wind did the rest. Enjoy your bounty. Dana

Jordana said...

dried squash?
I'm curious.
Seeing bare-chested Alan makes me miss him. Many of my memories of him involve him doing something cooky topless. (That didn't sound quite right, did it?)

Brian and Dianne said...

Howdy from Sourwood Farm - glad you found us and as a result that we found you. I've just started reading your blog - wow you guys are doing tons of cool stuff. I am very envious of your broccoli. When do you usually plant it?

I've driven over the Swannanoa river many times on my way to and from a friend's cabin in Waynesville. It's a beautiful area. I'm also envious of your river valley soil - looks like good stuff.

Looking forward to learning more from your blog.

jack-of-all-thumbs said...

Congratulations on a bountiful harvest! Ours was especially productive this year as well, such that we spent a few days and built a large-scale food dryer (developed by the folks at Appalachian State University a few years back). You can see pictures and original references here:

I also have a number of posts on rainwater collection, since we use it for everything.

We have a mutual friend who blogs at "Arsenal and Grand"

Milkweed said...

Jordy, yes, dried squash! It turned out much better than I would have thought. Pretty yummy. Christo was looking for a "chip substitute." Not sure he would chooose squash chips over honey bbq kettle chips, but they will definitely be eaten.

Alan. Kooky. Shirtless. Yep.

Hope to see you soon....want to come out for a walk?