In the Garden, Week 14

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Here it is…the first carrot of the season! My oldest planted the carrots, so harvesting a couple was especially rewarding. We also picked a few more beets (anyone have any great beet recipes?), many more tomatoes, two green peppers, swiss chard, a lovely eggplant, more jalapenos and yellow Hungarian wax peppers. We are nearly through the three jars of pepperoncini I made a few weeks ago, so I’ll likely do the same with this new batch…it is so easy and they are delish!

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I also came home with about 12 cups of raspberries this week, so I made another batch of jam and I’ll probably make more raspberry ice cream to cool us off this week.

And, I made my first batch of roasted tomato sauce, from The Fresh Girl’s Guide to Easy Canning and Preserving by Ana Micka. Directions are for processing in a pressure cooker, but I freeze in containers for later use. The recipe includes beets for a little sweetness, but I love the pop of brilliant red that they add to the sauce as well.

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In other exciting news, we picked and ate the first Honeycrisp apple of the season from the espalier apple tree in our yard. We bought the tree in May 2014 through Minneapolis Tree Trust, for a mere $25. It’s such a great program! I’m always amazed by how crisp and tasty apples are when eaten right off the tree. (In fact, just writing this makes me want to go out and grab one right now!) I doubt I’ll be doing any baking with these apples, because they are so good as is. There are 8 more ripening on the tree, and I’m looking forward to including a few in the boys’ lunch boxes.

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I leave you with this photo I snapped of a monarch butterfly in our yard. I am seeing them everywhere this summer, and it makes me giddy! On the way home from the bus stop yesterday we counted three on one plant alone. Do your part to make your yard a haven for butterflies and other pollinators. Check out the Birds and Bees Garden project in The Nitty Gritty Gardening Book, available at Mother Earth Gardens, Millbrook Press, and through Amazon.

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