I've gotten a lot of cooking and cleaning done the last couple days, and I guess that's how I know summer is coming to an end. The days have been overcast, the air; crisp and almost shockingly cool. The temperatures have been in the fifties and sixties, which shouldn't feel so cold, except that there is that fall feel to the air, as if it is blowing from the north or off a frozen glacier. I expect the cooler air this time of August - I brace for it - I don't welcome it. I loathe to see the end of the hot days.
Daily I've found myself pausing to scan the trees for signs of yellow leafs. So far the Birch are looking droopy and tired, their leaves dried out like paper. The woods have taken on a lighter green shade, no longer the lush vibrant green of mid summer. The only yellow I see are on dying trees. Not long though, maybe a week before there are several splashes of yellow throughout the trees. Maybe two weeks before leaves start falling and covering the ground. We usually have lovely sunny September days, but they are cooler, not as much sandles and a lot more sweatshirts, ah.... I've still been doing chores most days wearing sandles and a skirt, and I'm already missing these days.
In the last couple days I've canned smoked salmon and green beans from the garden. I cleaned out the pantry to make room for all the new canned goods. I've been cooking and baking more than usual. Yesterday I made a lemon pie, a broccoli bacon salad and a white bean soup with garden veggies and bacon- (bacon = fall cooking). I dehydrated some scallions yesterday as I have more than I can eat fresh. I'm going to do my dehydrating this year, more vegetables and not just berries and fruit leather. The garden just needs harvested. Everything is just getting bigger, nothing has needed water except the greenhouse. The tomatoes are slowly ripening, we've been picking just enough cherry tomatoes for snacking and enough full sized tomatoes for sandwiches. I just put a batch of freshly made kimchee into the fridge and started a batch of lacto-fermented dill green beans.
I need to start blanching and freezing herbs and kale. We should be eating green salads and stirfry every night so as to use up all the greens, but instead we've been eating peas, zucchini, green beans and broccoli just about nightly. I don't really like any of these things frozen or canned- green beans are about it for canning, unless I have enough tomatoes for sauce. I don't find that snap peas, snow peas or green beans freeze well and I don't usually use frozen broccoli either. I will shred and freeze some zucchini. My favorite way to preserve summer vegetables is in soup form. I make a lot of big batches of soup to freeze, pesto garden veggie soup, green soups, blended veggie and bean and veggie soups. Last year I probably froze forty to fifty quarts of veggie soups that we pulled out for dinners through the winter.
I suppose if I were trying to go without buying vegetables in the winter then I would freeze and can more vegetables, but as long as I can buy them fresh, yes with all those fossil fuel miles packed in, I will. Usually we go without buying many vegetables till mid winter. We'll have enough garlic, onions, potatoes, beets, rutabagas, turnips and carrots to last till spring if we can store them that long. The tomatoes will continue to ripen slowly indoors until November. We'll be eating fresh out of the garden till the end of September, maybe some greens will keep in the garden through October with row covers. For now, I'm making the most of eating what I like fresh while it is fresh, lightly and simply cooked. What are you enjoying while it is fresh?