Contributed by Columnist Fannie Moore
We have missed having a garden for the past few years, when we finally gave up on it for various reasons. However, we have not had to miss out on the bounties the gardens always provided.
We found a great produce stand that supplied us with any vegetables we might want such as peas, butter beans, okra and such. Corn came from the famous Bradley Corn patch and peaches came from an orchard in Arkansas, thanks to a cousin who made the trip each year for all of us. A friend supplied us with tomatoes. So, it has been much easier for us to put up food in the freezer.
This year has been a bit different. Our favorite produce stand is not in operation this year. Wondering what I was going to do, I began to ask around. We discovered one in Plain Dealing and, later, learned of a great one in Cotton Valley. I haven’t put any veggies in the freezer yet, however, we have been really enjoying the fresh vegetables for our summer meals.
First of all, and probably my favorite, were the new potatoes with white sauce. (We always just referred to it as thickening.) There was fresh cabbage, squash stewed with onions, stuffed squash, and best of all, fried squash. Naturally, we had to have sliced tomatoes to go with all this.
Friends have given us squash and cucumbers, so I haven’t had to buy many of those yet.
The cucumbers are good just sliced with salt and pepper; sliced with onions and tomatoes and drizzled with olive oil and vinegar dressing or made into a salad. Slice them, soak in ice water. Drain and add sugar, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper and a bit of water. Makes a very tasty salad.
The peas, butter beans and okra will be coming along soon. That’s when we will begin to fill our freezer. I will also be buying tomatoes for the freezer. Great for soups on cool, rainy days as well as the dreary winter days when you’re craving a simple hot meal.
Today is the day for the sweet corn as we are about to be off for Gin City to get the Bradley corn. A few years ago a friend shared the way she put up her corn on the cob. Simply trim the ends a bit, freeze it in the shucks and when ready to cook, microwave it (frozen) for 5 minutes. It is the easiest thing and is fantastic when shucked and served. Goes with just about anything.
We will be looking for a new source of peaches this year as the regular provider’s orchard failed to have a crop this year. So we may be going to Ruston again to see what’s available there. Last year I froze almost a bushel of delicious, sweet peaches and they made the best cobblers. I need to replenish my supply.
Our blueberry bushes have all died except one, so we might be seeking additional blueberries this year.
I always like to have the frozen fruit as it is so versatile and comes in handy when you need a dessert and you don’t have anything else on hand.
In addition to the abundance of fresh vegetables available, we were also fortunate enough to take advantage of the poultry sales to add chicken to our well stocked freezer.
The Lord has blessed us in so many ways. Look around and count even the simple ways we all have been blessed.
And providing the bounties of summer is only one of those.