13 Jul

There’s something I dare not speak of.

You see that up there? And then do you see the other thing? I can’t, I just can’t. After last year, I just dare not speak of it.

And then there’s that other plant. You see that? You see all those?  Ugh, I can’t. I just can’t. I can’t talk about it.  I just sit and fret and chew on my nails and check the weather obsessively.  Ugggggh.  I can’t stand imagining another year of failure.

So! Let’s concentrate on the things I can talk about.  Like garlic, turnips and cherries.

I have harvested all our garlic now and only two heads didn’t cure correctly.  So we ate them and oooooh maaaaaaan, there’s just something so much more satisfying about eating garlic you grew yourself.  It’s going to be tough to not eat it all–to not rub the pungent cloves over grilled bread and minced finely into salad dressing and added at the end of bright summery pastas for an extra kick of garlicky heat–so that there are cloves to plant again in a few months.

And would you look at this beautiful turnip (how many times have you ever heard that in your life?)

We didn’t eat that one, it was too big, but isn’t it gorgeous? It’s a Rapa di Milano Coletto Viola a turnip I decided to grow after reading about it in this article from the Times (I figured if Michele has the good taste to adore Blue Coco and Rosa Bianca, then I could probably trust her. Turns out she’s totally trustworthy).  On July 4th we ate some of the big turnip’s brethren in a very non-traditional version of Neeps & Tatties (apropos of almost nothing, read this article, it’s very funny).  While Isaac was grilling one of Georgia‘s beautiful chickens, a few chopped up turnips and a few quartered potatoes wrapped up in little packets of foil cooked on the coals.  When they were all soft and luscious Isaac mashed them together with a bunch of herbs and a little olive oil. They were unbelievably good. Pungent, yet soft and sweet. Very good. Very, very good.

Also, we went cherry picking. Sour cherry picking. Over at Love Apple Farm, which has a 10 pound minimum.

We got up early and picked and picked and picked.  The trees were pretty worked over, so we worked hard to make 10 pounds and just as we were finishing up a family with lots of little kids showed up to cherry pick too. Whoops! Boy did those kids complain “Daaaaaadddddddy!!! Why are there no cherrrrries?!?!” Sorry kid, it’s a tough lesson to learn, but the early bird gets the sour cherry.

What did I do with 10 pounds of sour cherries? I made jam, er, uhm, preserves of course!  It took a long time and two recipes (one and two) to turn 10 pounds (16 cups!) of cherries into 11 1/2 jars (132 ozs!) of Sour Cherry Jam (I mean Preserves!), but it was so worth it; especially when we used the little remainder jar to make Sour Cherry Shortcake with a drizzle of Gran Gala and some vanilla-scented Marscapone.

And while these things are all well and good, summer really isn’t summer, and gardening really isn’t gardening without one thing.  But I dare not mention it.

I would ask you to mention the thing you dare not mention, but that’s just inviting disaster in for tea. So, instead, let’s talk about the cheery stuff: What have been your summer’s gardening triumphs?


9 Responses to “Dare”

  1. heather July 13, 2010 at 7:18 am #

    gorgeous! you’re gonna be sitting pretty with those dare-not-speak-ofs.

    the garlic looks great, too.

    we have too much lettuce. but i should happy right? I mean, i didn’t screw it up.

  2. Adrienne July 13, 2010 at 7:19 am #

    My unmentionables are starting to turn from green to edible shades and I cannot even TELL you how nervous I am. Squirrels got a couple just as they started to blush, but I moved them to a harder-to-access location and hopefully that’s saved a few. We lost peas to aphids and cucumbers to heat and zucchini to poor spatial planning on my part this year, but our carrots are sweet and crispy, the radishes had bite, and our unmentionables are grown from seed, ourselves, and I couldn’t be prouder of them. Also, this weekend, we spent a few hours weeding and hoeing and mulching the odd triangular jungle off the back patio and planted some flowers. I feel awfully triumphant about how much better it looks!

  3. Rachel @ Working Out Wellness July 13, 2010 at 7:57 am #

    Those cherries are BEAUTIFUL! There’s just something about that bright red fruit that makes me heart thump a little harder. I need to get myself to a pick-your-own farm ASAP.

  4. Marisa July 13, 2010 at 8:40 am #

    Your cherry preserves look wonderful!

    I’ve had one ripe speak-not-its-name so far this year and it was amazing. The rest are staying stubbornly green. Nonetheless, it looks like a better year than last. I hope.

  5. Christine July 13, 2010 at 10:12 am #

    We have had two sweet unmentionables off our pots. One plant must have gotten too dry between waterings, or maybe over watered, or it just isn’t too happy being potted, because some of the unmentionables suffered blossom rot, before they had a chance to ripen. Still three left on that plant and about 15 left on the other.

    The Thai basil is growing like crazy, and I have more jalapenos than I can eat, but not enough to pickle. Oh the conundrum. More Mexican inspired dishes are called for, but the cilantro bolted and died in May after our crazy warm April. I guess it’s time to plant some more!

  6. ann July 14, 2010 at 6:44 am #

    Heather — You can never have too much lettuce! I’m hoping that if the unmentionables do what they’re supposed to that you guys will be able to help us come over and dispose of them. Sound good!

    Adrienne — Squirrels! Gah! Oh they’re horrid little things. Did you see this article? http://nyti.ms/c9H87M Turns out they’re smarter than we think. I’d love to see a picture of the flower garden, sounds lovely!

    Rachel — Hi, and welcome! Cherry picking is great exercise (it’s like really dangerous yoga). Get out there!

    Marisa — Thanks, and thanks for your help and encouragement. You are indeed the Canning Guru! Keep your fingers crossed on the date-not-speaks. I will too!

    Christine — Too many jalapenos sounds like the name of a hip kids band! Love it! And what a great problem to have. We’re still working our way through last year’s pickled and salt-cured chiles, they’re so awesome to have around. I’ve found cilantro to be really hard to deal with. It bolts so quickly. Good luck!

  7. Jimmy Cracked-Corn July 14, 2010 at 12:56 pm #

    Two of my favorite things, garlic and sour cherries. I have my cherry trees planted and growing, but it will be years and years before I need a ladder. I’ll be trying garlic this winter/spring.

  8. Anne July 16, 2010 at 2:16 pm #

    Oooo! That garlic looks like it tastes better than bought-garlic! Those cherries, scrumptious. Though I can never resist making cherry pie. Not very exciting, but always delish.

    I am waiting with bated breath to hear what becomes of That Which Will Not Be Named. Fingers crossed, Annie!

  9. ann July 21, 2010 at 11:27 am #

    Jimmy — Hi! And thanks for stopping by! Good luck with your cherry trees! You’ll be so happy once they’re in fullswing. That’ll be great. The garlic is turning out to be more difficult that I could imagine. The curing process is really quite touchy. Who knew?

    Anne — Cherry pie! I’ve never made a cherry pie, and yet Isaac married me even so ;-) Someday, someday… I tend to just eat them all.

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