Summertime, and the eating is easy: all I have to do is go to the garden and harvest what’s ripe.
Sunday evening, we enjoyed a curry extravaganza: Cauliflower and Tomato Curry, Curried Beet Greens, Peach Chutney and Cucumber Raita. Even the cilantro, parsley, mint, jalapeno and onions were homegrown.
Monday, it was a yellow squash gratin made with eggs from the hen-house and the last of last year’s tomato sauce saved in the freezer. It also made use of the cottage cheese languishing in the cheese drawer, along with an end of cheddar, making it both tasty and thrifty. Virtue adds flavor.
Yesterday, I concocted a hearty minestrone using broth made from last week’s turkey carcass (from last year’s flock), leek, onion, garlic, carrot, green beans, tomato and chard. I added a stalk of store-bought celery and a handful of ancini de pepe pasta. Finally, I dumped in a can of cannellini beans past its “best by” date. I’m making an effort to empty the pantry before our big kitchen renovation begins.
While the kitchen is still functional, Tim and I also spent Sunday evening putting food by, for when the living isn’t so easy, come winter. Kale,
cauliflower, green beans and pesto all went into the deep freeze. Next, I’ll process as many peaches as I can before demolition begins. And Sunday, we’ll slaughter and butcher the meat birds.
Meanwhile, I keep picking – and eating – berries.
It’s true: I spend a great deal of time growing, harvesting and processing food in the summertime, but very little time making the twenty-four mile round trip to the grocery store.
I’d much rather spend my summer days outdoors, tending the garden, and reducing my carbon footprint in this modest way.
Even driving a hybrid that gets fifty miles-per-gallon adds up beyond any other utility, so I try to reduce any driving I can. This doesn’t just reduce carbon; it also saves time.
Likewise, I like to eat locally produced food. I also like to eat from dirt to dinner – meaning I use just a few processed foods, like commercial mayonnaise, Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce and occasional tofu. Since we don’t keep a cow, I purchase milk, butter, yogurt and cheeses, mostly produced by Vermont dairies.
I do buy staples from away – but try to eliminate much of the packaging by purchasing what I can in bulk, at the Brattleboro Food Coop. And I make “Marco Polo” exceptions for life-sustaining staples imported from away, like rice, olive oil, whisky, wine and chocolate.
Growing food and cooking from scratch is time consuming, but so is grocery shopping – and dining out. I don’t pretend to grow enough to sustain us through the winter. But in summer, with the garden
producing fresh food like crazy, summertime eating is easy. All I have to do is step outside and pick dinner.