Bits of summer: basil flowers, growing eddoes and harvesting jalapeno peppers
It’s hard to believe that summer is over. Even though it’s still warm enough to wear shorts and sandles most days, that doesn’t change the fact that the days are getting shorter, kids and teachers are getting ready for school to start, and my calender screams “hey you, it’s September!!” whenever I glance at it.
When I look back on the past few weeks of summer, I’m surprised that I accomplished anything. It seems like I mostly walked around in a heat-induced stupor, absentmindedly watering the plants when I noticed they were starting to droop (whoops, almost forgot about those) and eating mostly pre-packaged foods. Thankfully, I’ve still managed to be productive. There are a few mini projects that don’t take much time or effort, which is good whether you are crunched for time or just incredibly lazy like me.
For example, I got a real kick out of growing eddoes. I found them at the supermarket one day, had no idea what they were, and took them home anyway just for fun. As it turns out, the eddoe is a tropical root vegetable also known as taro. It has a brown and fuzzy skin similar to a coconut, yet it tastes more like a potato after it has boiled, mashed, grilled, turned into chips, or whatever else you decide to do with them.
They also make for an interesting addition to your garden, if you so desire. Just leave them in a dry place for a few weeks until they sprout stems. At this point, they can be planted just deep enough so the stems are above the surface. It won’t take long for them to grow leaves.
I don’t know how to harvest them yet, nor am I sure if a Canadian climate will allow for the growth of actual vegetables from this heat-loving plant, but I’ll post an update when I figure it out. The point is that the plants are cool to look at.
Speaking of harvesting, the rainbow chard, jalapeno peppers and basil have all made it to the cutting board.
I served the rainbow chard with perogies and turned the basil into pesto, but I have no idea what to do with the jalapeno peppers. My original plan was to grow enough to make them into jelly, but as you can see there are only 5 of them, and they have all turned red. Someone suggested that I bake them into focaccia bread, so maybe I will try that.
It’s also late enough in the season that the basil is flowering. Not wanting to waste the flowers, I googled “basil flowers” until I found this blog post by Shawna. She suggests putting them into a blender with an equal amount of olive oil, blending until smooth, and pouring the mixture into ice cube trays. Once the basil cubes are frozen, they can be popped out of the tray and stored in a ziplock freezer bag until ready to use. I found it helpful to slide a knife around the edges of each cube for easy removal.
I’m actually excited that it’s September. It’s almost time to plant garlic bulbs, wear warm chunky scarves, drink apple cidar and walk in contemptative seriousness along the river as coloured leaves fall to the ground. There’s something about autumn that brings focus and clarity to the mind – maybe it’s the cool air? But it’s not that cold yet, so maybe I should enjoy the warmth while I can.
How was your summer?