Posts Tagged ‘zucchini’

Pureed Zucchini Ginger Soup

Thursday, August 15th, 2013
Zucchini Ginger Soup

Zucchini Ginger Soup

As they say – a prolific zucchini plant is the mother of invention!  We have just 2 zucchini plants.  It’s hard to tell with the tangle of vines and leaves but you’d think there were a dozen plants in the garden.

I’ve been sautéing them in various ways with different additives each time – onions, garlic, tomatoes, corn, peppers, potatoes, whatever is on hand.  Today I decided to make pureed zucchini soup with a ginger kick.  The great thing about this recipe is that it uses up a lot of zucchini, unlike zucchini breads and cakes that only use a couple cups.   When the zukes get away from you (yes, I know you are supposed to pick them when they are small), it’s good to have an enjoyable way of working down the stash.

The beauty of pureed soups is that you can throw just about any veggie in the pot.  Once it’s blended only you, the cook, will really know what’s in it.

Raw Ingredients

Raw Ingredients

Here’s what I threw in the soup pot today:

6 cups veggie broth

6-8 cups unpeeled zucchini, coarsely chopped

1 large unpeeled potato, scrubbed and chopped

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

4 cloves garlic, skinned and chopped

1 knob of ginger, about 1” x 1”, peeled and chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Simmer all ingredients for 20-30 minutes.  Cool slightly and blend 2 cups at a time in blender.  Cover the top of the blender with a towel to help prevent hot liquid from splashing out.  I also put it through a food mill or sieve in case the ginger has any tough fibers.  Adjust the seasonings, adding pepper and salt, if necessary.

We ate it with just a few grinds of fresh pepper.  The soup could also be embellished with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of freshly ground parmesan cheese, fresh herbs or whatever you choose.  I have enough left to freeze for a winter warm-up….and more zucchini waiting for another innovative recipe to be made!

Anticipating the Main Harvest

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Here Come the Tomatoes

With this year’s warm weather, we’ll be picking things from the garden a lot earlier than most years.  I’m often late getting things started, but I did a good job of getting the tomatoes, peppers, and cole crops into the ground before the end of May.  The early start coupled with the hot weather is giving us veggies in July that we normally don’t start harvesting until August.  All in all, it appears we will have a good harvest as we go into late summer and fall.

Hot Peppers

This small bed holds most of the hot peppers.  In the foreground are Serranos and behind them are cayennes and some various Asian hot peppers.  Judy likes to freeze Serrano peppers.  She should have plenty.  The cayennes are exceptionally large this year and the pepper plants, in general, are taller than what I usually get.

Sweet Peppers

In front of the asparagus is my second pepper bed.  The small plants in front are Poblanos.  They are loaded with fruit.  The rest of the bed contains various sweet peppers.  I have a lot of Nardellos, the American-Italian heirloom that we like a lot.  Those too are very heavy with peppers.  Behind and to the right of the peppers are two potato beds, one red and one yellow.  Both are doing well.  I’ve already snitched a few red ones.

Sweet Potatoes

The sweet potatoes are loving the heat.  I can’t see what’s going on down below the vines, but I’m hoping for the best.  I’ve been covering the vines with ag fabric to keep the deer from munching on them.  The deer love sweet potato leaves.

Sweet Corn

We ate our first sweet corn, yesterday,  I only have one bed this year.  Most years I get two beds planted.  I’m inter-planting the corn with two heirloom pole beans that have traditionally been grown using corn stalks for trellises.  One bean is called Turkey Craw, the other is Missouri Wonder.  The beans in the corn have a long way to go, but they look just fine.

Leeks, Pole Beans, Tomatoes, and Onions

Here is my main bean crop, with leeks in the bed to the left, tomatoes, tomatillos, and eggplants in the bed to the right of the beans, and onions to right of the tomatoes.  You can see another bed of tomatoes in the back right and in front of those are two blue barrel rings holding some fingerling potatoes which I just planted.  It’s my plan to keep adding soil to the rings as the potatoes grow to try to get a larger yield.  I haven’t done this before, so we’ll have to see if it works.

The pole beans in the front of the picture are trellised onto four tripods.  Behind them in the same bed are bush beans.  They are just flowering but I expect good production.  Last year we had a similar size set up that got somewhat eaten by deer and we still had a huge harvest.   I expect a lot more beans this year.  We are getting Japanese beetles in the beans, but I’m able to keep ahead of much damage by cleaning off the beetles using my funnel trap, which you can read about here.

Ripening Egg Plants

I went overboard with the eggplants, I just didn’t have the heart to cull out the nice seedling starts, so we have 16 eggplants.  I normally grow four to six.  They are looking great.  We’re trying to figure out the best way to freeze them – any suggestions?

Three Cabbages

Here are three good looking cabbages in one of two beds dedicated to cole crops.  The other bed is under ag fabric.  Most of this bed was used to grow kohlrabi and we’ve already harvested about half the planting.  Judy talks about using kohlrabi in her recipe post.  I’ve been spraying my coles with a neem oil, soap, and seaweed mixture and that seems to have really made a huge difference on damage from  cabbage moths.  The moth eggs hatch but the caterpillars die when they eat leaves  containing neem oil.  While the neem spray hasn’t done much for the squash it seems very effective in the coles.

Zucchini #2

Here is our second zucchini.  We picked the first, yesterday.  We’ll have lots, I’ve got five healthy plants.  The squash, melons, cukes, and zukes all got a late start.  While the zucchini are doing well I’m really having some major problems both with cucumber beetles and squash vine borers.  I’m definitely going to lose a few squash and melon plants.  I always tell people starting out in gardening to grow a lot of different stuff.  Some will always succeed and even if you lose an entire crop of one vegetable you’ll still have plenty of the others.

Mammoth Sunflowers

These Mammoth Sunflowers are already ten feet tall and they aren’t done growing.  Their stalks are like tree trunks.

Unfortunately, this could be a year without basic root crops.  No carrots or beets in the ground, yet.  It’s not too late for either for a fall crop if I can get to it, but in any case, we’ll get plenty from the garden, this year.

Zucchini Heaven or Hell?

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

It definitely depends upon your perspective.  For us we’re at the beginning of the summer squash season, and so far so good.  I’ve been very diligent in checking and picking the young fruits every day.  Yesterday morning I looked to see what we’d have for dinner & decided to pick the zucchini just before cooking.  I’m positive that the earmarked one was twice the size from morning ‘til night.  Well…at least 50% bigger!

They will get ahead of me, they always do.  But I will be drying the slices to use in winter lasagna and whatever else sounds good.  In the meantime they are a must have in ratatouilles, veggie kabobs, soups, potato-zuke hashbrowns, and pancakes, to name a few.

On the other hand yellow crookneck squash seem to be more amenable to freezing and being somewhat more palatable when thawed.  Maybe the lower moisture content has something to do with it or the softer, less acid flavor.  This squash is easily blanched and frozen in bags to make cold weather cream soups.  Just cook with a little onion and broth & whiz in the blender.  Makes a meal in a hurry!