final fruits

tomatillos

Since the weather has gotten cold I’ve pretty much given up on my remaining outdoor vegetables. The tomato vines have wilted, I pulled out the runner beans, and the last few zucchini are melting into the ground. The tomatillo plants continued to fruit despite everything, although I was feeling a bit burned out on actually eating them. I decided to pick all the remaining fruits a few weeks ago and keep them in a bowl on the counter, just for decor. I adore the texture of these tomatillos, and the mix of jewel tones as some turn purple and others remain brilliant green.

Yesterday I finally threw them into the compost, but took one last picture in the soft afternoon light. I had just finished weaving a teal wool scarf for the upcoming Rexville art show, so I used that as a color backdrop for the tomatillos. I like the resulting contrast.

a new way to eat garlic

garlic scapes

I’ve been growing garlic for years – it’s one of the few vegetables that I consistently have in my garden, and I can usually grow enough that we only need to buy a few heads in the spring to tide us over. I used to grow softneck, but I discovered Rocambole hardneck garlic about 5 years ago and have grown it exclusively ever since – I think it has a better flavor, and it’s often much easier to peel.

One major difference between softneck and hardneck is that hardneck puts up flower stalks in the spring. If you leave them on, the flowers turn into little clusters of bulbils, taking energy from the main bulb, so it’s best to cut them off – I haven’t always been good about this, but I usually make it out there at some point, haphazardly whack off the flower scapes and compost them.

garlic scapes

But this year! This year I’ve been reading food blogs, and I’ve discovered something new. Turns out, if you pick the scape before it blooms and hardens, you can eat it! I have never seen this information in a cookbook, not even my Alice Waters book. Continue reading

in the garden: rhubarb

the first rhubarb stalk

The rhubarb in the back yard is just beginning to sprout. It’s not any sort of fancy variety – in fact, it came with the house. But it’s vigorous and tasty, and we’re really looking forward to our first rhubarb pie.

The early stalks have a certain alien quality to them, like a gunnera or a tree fern. Who first thought that it might be edible?