As the season transitions, many weekends have been filled with marathon canning sessions, putting up the last of the season’s bounty, as well as getting the garden prepared for the winter. Other than an early experiment with pickled carrots, this is the first season that I have undertaken pickling and preserving with seriousness, and I’m hooked!
The pantry shelves are filling up – brandied sour cherries, spicy beer mustard spiked with new crop horseradish from the backyard, tomatillo salsa, peach chutney, raspberry jam, cardamom pear butter, and green cherry tomato chutney with the last of the stragglers in the front vegetable beds. Two books have been indispensable, the classic primer to all things pickled, The Joy of Pickling by local author Linda Ziedrich; and the newly published Tart and Sweet, a easy-to-use and delicious seasonal guide to preserving.
I am always slightly saddened to remove the glorious late season tangle of overgrown bean vines and tomato thickets spilling over the front of the gabions in the front garden. That feeling was quickly supplanted with eagerness, as I set to work planting this year’s crop of alliums and cover crops. The onslaught of winter is less daunting knowing that, come springtime, the garden will be filled with garlic, shallots and tender fava beans.