Reaping Garden's Bounty

| 8/31/2016 9:36:00 AM

Country MoonIt’s that time of year again, when you walk outside and all the scents from the garden blend together in one enticing aroma. I love it. What I don’t love is that, no matter how much you stagger planting different vegetables, they all ripen at the same time.

We have always eaten fresh from the garden and eaten fruits and vegetables in season. First of all, that is when everything is freshest and, thanks to the law of supply and demand, everything is less expensive when it is more plentiful. It always amazes me when I see people buying produce out of season, like buying asparagus in stores now or watermelon in the middle of winter. First of all, the price is outrageous, and secondly, the flavor is compromised because the produce has been in transit and/or warehoused too long.

I much prefer to just eat in season. Our ancestors knew this simple rule all too well. They foraged for berries, gathered seeds and nuts, and hunted wildlife when it was the right season. OK, we are not quite that primitive — our foraging is usually going to Farmers Markets — but you get the drift: eat fresh whenever you can.

Old family recipes that use summer’s offerings are the best. However, every year I come across a few new dishes from family and friends that are keepers. Here are a few:

My mom made the best corn relish. We always had a truck garden, and our staples were potatoes and corn that we sold along the side of the road. Even though people would place orders for bushels at a time, there was always plenty for us to preserve and use in various ways. This is one treat we got from the corn patch that has been tucked away for too long, until I recently ran across it in my recipe box.

• 12 ears of corn
• 1 head of cabbage
• 3 medium onions
• 1-1/2 cups sweet green pepper
• 1/2 cup sweet red pepper
• 1 tablespoon celery seed
• 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
• 2 cups sugar
• 1 quart vinegar
• 1 tablespoon ground mustard
• 2 tablespoons salt
• approx. 1/4 cup cornstarch to thicken

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