SoupAddict looked at the calendar Sunday morning and, realizing it was 10/10/10, decided she could no longer put off addressing her gardens. September was more or less an idle gardening month, spent wishing for rain, wishing for temperatures below 90°, and putting up every fresh vegetable and herb she could get her mitts on.
But now it’s October, and it’s time to start reversing the process started in May, back when the sun was bright and not so painfully low in the sky at rush hour, and the days were getting longer rather than shorter. Booooo.
After a disappointing but somewhat comical potato harvest, SoupAddict has been dreading pulling up her sweet potatoes. It should be noted, however, that sweet potatoes and white potatoes are only very distantly related, so her comparison of one crop’s success to the other is fairly ridiculous. But you’ve come to expect such things of SoupAddict, so ridiculous conclusions should not be a surprise.
After pulling up yards and yards and yards of vines out the sweet potato bed in the side yard, as well as out of the tomato gardens in the backyard … has SoupAddict successfully conveyed that sweet potato vines are looooooong? … SoupAddict grabbed her pitchfork and, looking very unfarmer-like in her pale pink Crocs, proceeded to unearth potato after potato.
A sweet potato and gruyere souffle is in SoupAddict’s future, yesssireee.
Sweet potato trivia: sweet potatoes are vining, flowering plants related to the Morning Glory. SoupAddict can attest to this relationship, as she once left a sweet potato forgotten on the window sill, where it sprouted and bloomed before it met its fate.
Most of SoupAddict’s gardens are still producing, and this is a typical October day’s harvest, which is somewhat of a bummer, because SoupAddict’s freezer is already completely stuffed with preserved food to the point where she’s pricing out standalone freezers. SoupAddict’s philosophy is, you can never have too much homemade tomato sauce.
SoupAddict’s basil garden did surprisingly well this year, considering the heat and the drought. There is much pesto still to be made and frozen, but in the meantime …
… SoupAddict embarked on a little experiment, wherein she froze individual basil leaves in little single-serving packets.
SoupAddict is usually indifferent to storage products and brands, but she does love the Press’n Seal wrap by Glad, if for no other reason than it allows her to conduct her harebrained food preservation experiments. (Although quite honestly, the average hare might just applaud such an effort to save greens for the winter, making “harebrained” a compliment. So. There.)
SoupAddict was positively tomatoed under this year. She started out canning tomatoes but grew quickly tired of having her weekend afternoons consumed by the waves of hot fog rolling out of the kitchen into a house straining to stay cool in the face of 90° weather. Eventually, she switched over to freezing tomato sauce, which allowed her to introduce all manner of fancy-pants sauce preparations, like roasting the tomatoes first, or seasoning them in olive oil and white balsamic vinegar, without having to worry about upsetting the botulism-prevention formula required by canning.
A jar of Flamme tomato sauce that will one day grace some dish or other.
SoupAddict has also been freezing peppers like there’s no tomorrow. She uses an awful lot of peppers in her soups and is always shell-shocked by the price of winter peppers. As in, $2.00 each for a sweet red bell pepper. Now, everytime SoupAddict opens her overloaded freezer, little bags of frozen, matchstick-sliced peppers leap to the floor.
(As SoupAddict proofreads this post before publishing it, she finds herself giggling at the paradoxical first sentence above: “… freezing peppers like there’s no tomorrow.” Take a moment to enjoy the futility implied in the effort of preserving peppers.)
Sweet bells (above), poblanos, holy molés, peperoncinis, jalapeños and serranos. No pepper was safe from SoupAddict’s knife this summer.
The only problem with freezing peppers was that the stickers SoupAddict used as labels did not actually remain adhered to any of the bags once they were frozen.
And, as she discovered after the first time that several bags of green sliced peppers leapt out of the freezer with their detached labels flittering to and fro around the kitchen, some peppers look an awful lot alike when they’ve been cut into short, thin strips. Mystery Pepper Soup might land on the menu sometime this winter….