One aspect of having a lot of garden but not much time to freeze, dry, or can, is finding opportunities to eat really fresh, thereby saving labor later.
When I'm outside in spring, I always grab, whenever I think about it, a dandelion, mint leaf, onion spear, spinach, lettuce, snap peas, whenever they are within reach as I pass by. Later in the year, the obvious: plums, blackberries, grapes, (not this year), tomatoes, corn, pears, and apples, apples, apples. For a break I might sit under the hazel tree cracking filberts. Or even pick a few (very few) acorns, surprisingly good raw in small quantities (choosing acorns from trees with round-lobed as opposed to sharp-lobed leaves if I can).
Or I may take radishes, beets, parsnips, turnips, new potatoes, or Jerusalem artichokes into the house, dice up, steam briefly, add assorted greens and steam briefly again, and take my bowl outside to eat by the poultry pasture, watching the antics going on inside (it's a 3 ring circus, literally: chicken, duck, goose).
And you might be surprised by how much many of these things go well together.
The lunch shown in the picture, which was taken about 1/2 hour ago, is a case in point.
I was in a rush this morning, because I'm cutting about half my commute by driving to a park-and-ride over in the next watershed, and the bus leaves earlier than I'm really good for. So on the way out of the house, I snapped up a (used) produce bag, a red potato, two radishes (with tops), a hard-boiled duck egg, and a pair of chopsticks, and ran. Made the bus with forty seconds to spare.
At lunch, I got out this unpromising-looking combo and took it to the staff lounge. I cut up the potato and radishes, and zapped them in the staff microwave in a bowl for 99 seconds, while cutting up the greens. Then I added the shredded radish tops to the roots and zapped for 55 more seconds while peeling the egg and dicing it up. Then I took out the bowl from the microwave, tipped it into a cooler bowl, added a bit of pepper and ranch dressing that were on hand, cleaned up after myself, and went out to sit on a bench in the June sun, people-watching and munching.
Much better than one might think. I was never fond of radishes because I only knew them store-bought and raw in salads -- so I'm conditioned to think of them as bitter, not one of my preferred flavors. But homegrown, cooked (yet not overcooked!)! Revelation! Tomorrow, I'll try not to be so rushed, and work some spinach and Bok Choi into this.
And next week I get to start in on the sugar snap peas.
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