Monday, May 16, 2011

Harvest time!

It is harvest time, and the vegetables are beautiful this year.  Here you see spectacular beets and one of many baskets of sugar snap peas. I only had one row of beets, but what a great yield!  The peas are ripening so quickly now that it is difficult to pick them often enough.  They are so very good, but I need to come up with some new ways to prepare them.  Raw and lightly steamed are great, but with so many peas, I have to do better!

Did you notice the picture of the pea vines on the ground?  Our dog Jo likes sugar snap peas.  A lot.  She watched me and learned how to pick them.  She now also knows that pulling too hard brings the entire crop down on your head.  Every morning when she goes out now, I can look out and see her standing in the middle of these vines, munching away.  Luckily I have another set of vines in the next bed over.

I also had to include a picture of that gorgeous chard plant, with its red stem now growing tall above the adjacent potato plants.   I did not have the heart to snap it off, so it just keeps growing.  Soon I will remove it for some other plants, but for now it is just a living, growing piece of art in the backyard.

If you haven't cooked fresh beets before, remember this trick to make preparation easier: wash them well and cut off the leaves, leaving about an inch of leaf stem attached to the beet.   You will want to cook and eat the leaves separately.  Now, place the washed beets in a pot of water, enough to cover them all, and bring to a boil.  Let them simmer until just tender: test with a knife.  Immediately drain off the water and rinse with cold water until they are cooled enough to touch.  The skins now will slip right off:  I keep a couple of paper towels handy to help with the process.  Remove the skins, cut off the top and the tip of the root, and you have beets ready to slice and prepare.