Late Summer Bounty

It’s late summer and the garden keeps giving. This afternoon I picked a basketful of cucumbers: Russian Brown, English Telegraph, and lemon cukes. The Russian Browns are nice in that, like the lemons, they don’t get bitter. When they’re ripe, the skin turns rich brown and sometimes gets crackles. We will eat 1 or 2 per bowl of salad. (you can see a little container with purslane from the garden at the upper left.)

Then there are the pear trees. One is a Comice, the other a variety we haven’t been able to identify. It’s a little like an Asian pear but tastes terrible raw. When cooked, however, it is flavorful and intensely sweet.

I picked a couple of baskets, including bird-pecked ones, chopped and seasoned them with cinnamon, cooked them until just tender, and canned them in quart jars. I brought some extra to a gathering at the home of a friend, where they were much enjoyed. Some years I will slice and dry them, too — sweet as candy — but I still have some left from last year.

This process will go on for a while, many quarts’ worth, as the “Asian pear” tree bears heavily. I’ll refrigerate the Comice pears to eat fresh.

Then there are 2 apple trees…but those are fine when chopped, tossed with a little sugar and ascorbic acid, and popped into ziplock bags and the freezer. They are slightly spongey that way but go wonderfully in oatmeal, where the cooking softens the texture just right.

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About Deborah J. Ross

I began writing professionally in 1982 as Deborah Wheeler with Jaydium and Northlight, (and the omnibus edition, Other Doorways: Early Novels), and short stories in Asimov's, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Realms of Fantasy and Star Wars: Tales from Jabba's Palace. Now under my birth name, Ross, I have written an epic fantasy trilogy, The Seven-Petaled Shield. My collection Azkhantian Tales, includes four short stories set in that world. Book View Cafe also offers my nonfiction Ink Dance: Essays on the Writing Life.
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2 Responses to Late Summer Bounty

  1. Elena says:

    Lemon Cukes are wonderful! Only variety I’ve had any success at growing, I have to admit. Mine are also probably overripe these days (or at least the last few) as they grew faster than we could eat, but not enough to do anything like pickle.

  2. Lynne Brown says:

    You can do pickling one jar at a time and just keep it in the fridge, and I used to put peeled and par-cooked (for maybe half a minute or so) little boiling onions in the leftover brine from watermelon pickles at Thanksgiving to enjoy at Christmas. My father used to put green cherry tomatoes in dill pickle juice in the same way and they were great, too. For cukes, though, you might want to cross-cut and soak in salt and ice water first, so they don’t turn out soggy.

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