It’s Summer Harvest Time at the Edible Garden

By Cole Alexander

Like many of you, Bernheim has been busy harvesting the bounty of our Edible Garden. In July, we harvested more vegetables than in a single month since its opening in 2014. During July 2020, we harvested 725 lbs of produce. The second largest harvest month/year was August 2017 with a total of 715 lbs. To date, we have harvested 1,055 lbs which is on par with previous years. .

July 2020 “Heavyweights”
Zucchini – 156 lb
Squash  – 145 lb
Cucumber –  119 lb
Onion –  91 lb
Potatoes – 91 lb

This year, our harvest season has looked different than in past years. Normally, the harvest is put to use in the Café to serve daily by making soups, seasonal sides, and daily specials, as well as preserving some for the months to come. Since Isaac’s has been closed to the public, we aren’t able to serve from the harvest daily. Instead, we’ve been hard at work to preserve it so we can use it when we are able to reopen.

We have frozen a lot of the harvest, but there are many other ways to preserve what the Edible Garden has produced. We’ve been enjoying dehydrating vegetables like tomatoes and cucumbers, adding different flavorings to give them an added flair.

This year we also had a few English lavender plants that we got to hang dry for use later. English lavender is also called “culinary lavender.” We plan on using it in desserts and spicing up our lemonade, and it’s also is great for garnishing.

With all the herbs we’ve gotten from the Garden, we’ve found fun, new ways to try to preserve them so we can use them to season our soups, sides, and specials down the road. In addition to hanging and dehydrating the herbs, we’ve also made olive oil “ice” cubes infused with herbs. This is perfect for cooking – just pop out a cube and put it in your pan, and you have your oil and herbs all in one shot! Another interesting way to use herbs is to infuse vinegar with your favorite herb.

Do you have a ton of basil you aren’t sure what to do with? Make pesto! It’s a great way to use up a large harvest of basil and has many uses. You can put pesto on your pasta, in mayonnaise, make other dips, add on top of toast, make salad dressing, bake into your breads, and so many other things!

You can also preserve your own harvest is by canning. There are multiple canning methods you can use: pressure canning, water bath canning, and refrigerator canning. Refrigerator canning is not for long-term use, but it’s great for making “refrigerator pickles.” Pressure canning is ideal, but water bath canning is also great for things like tomatoes, pickles, and fruits.

So even though Isaac’s Café is closed, you’ll still have the chance to enjoy your favorite local veggies from just 200 steps away in all your favorite foods, as well as a few new dishes, when we reopen.

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