We had a wonderfully productive garden this year! It's always exciting to see what kind of harvest we get after all the work we put into it.
The asparagus is always ready first and we definitely look forward to having it. We had countless meals with it, but our favorite way to cook it was on the grill...delicious! It came on the strongest it's ever been this year, so there was definitely more than enough to keep us happy. ;-)
We had a lot of summer meals that looked similar to this. I can't tell you how many times I made 'Zucchini Scramble' (top left)! It was a wonderful way to use up all the zucchini, onion and eggs that we had. We actually had zucchini growing into October, so I just made the last zucchini scramble a few weeks ago! The 'Zucchini Fritters' and 'Fried Cabbage' are also favorites and we ate those numerous times as well.
I'm pretty sure I made all my favorite zucchini recipes at least once and this bean dish was also requested by Rich. It's something I look forward to as well. It doesn't use a whole pound of bacon, so I decided to use up a tomato and have BLTs to make up a meal. :-)
I don't think I canned as much as I have in the past, but I still have a lot of beans and tomatoes (the main things I can) from previous years and didn't need much. I canned 36 pints of beans (4 batches), 56 pints of zucchini salsa (7 batches) and 18 quarts of spaghetti sauce (2 batches).
When the sweet corn is ready, things really get exciting! The kids LOVE corn-on-the-cob and couldn't wait to help husk. The cattle were more than happy to help as well! We ended up with 20 pints of corn that I froze along with a few meals worth of corn-on-the-cob. I think I counted about 120 ears of corn that we picked this year. :-)
The sweet corn is in it's own garden with the pumpkins. We ended up with 5 pumpkins this year, but one had rotted before we got to them.
Blake was a 'pro' at picking pumpkins. Morgan and I struggled to get one off the vine...trying not to get picked by the vines while still trying to grab them. (Gloves would have been smart.) Blake just held onto the stem with one hand, stomped the vine with his foot and the other 3 pumpkins were off the vine in no time! He amazes me with his ingenuity sometimes. ;-)
Posing with their pumpkins.
We've cooked and eaten three of the pumpkins. I've tried several recipes, including mini muffins, pumpkin snicker doodles, pumpkin pie, a pumpkin roll cake, pumpkin french toast bake and pumpkin pancakes. The only thing the kids liked were the snicker doodles though. :-/
I tried a new kind of popcorn this year called "Glass Gem", instead of the 'Indian', aka 'Rainbow', popcorn that I usually grow. The instructions said to wait until the stalks were no longer green to get the most vibrant colors, so we were picking them a good month later than usual, but it was well worth the wait! Of course the kids were wonderful helpers! They love opening the beautiful little surprises. :-)
We absolutely LOVED these colors!
I quickly got them all bunched and hung to dry before they molded. I'm excited to see how they pop up and what they taste like! Of course I'll be holding onto some to replant next year as well. :-)
We ended up with 13 butternut squash. (I found another hiding in the garden after these were picked.) I'm hoping to eat them all before they go bad...but that would be A LOT of squash! LOL!
The kids helped Rich dig ALL THESE potatoes too. The top view doesn't do the amount that is there justice. Rich said it's about 7 milk crates worth. I think we could eat them every day for the next 5 months (they don't last much longer than that) and still have plenty left to plant in the Spring!
The gardens have all been cleaned out now. We had a new addition, some ever-bearing strawberries, that I have covered with straw and ready for winter. I have to admit it's such a huge relief to be done with the garden until the Spring. I don't know why I let it stress me, trying to use up everything so it doesn't go to waste, but I do. It's a good feeling to have made the most of our garden and have plenty to eat through the winter, though. :-)