morningharvest

The other morning I was in the garden, as you oft could find me most mornings this spring. It’s been cool and we’ve had rain and so the weeds are coming on thick now. Sometimes I walk past them on the way to harvest this or that. Usually I find myself lingering to pull a few, leaving me there much longer than the just-going-to-pick-something trips I intend.

Joshie is now up and running around so he either joins me on foot or in the stroller. He sings a lot; while we’re at the clothesline, while he sits in his high chair in the kitchen, and most especially while we’re in the garden. There is one tune in particular he seems to attach his bop bops to lately (you can find it here as the tune for 16B).

squash-blossom-saute

Back to the other morning… I had just picked a bowl of squash the previous day so decided to let them be. Instead, I picked the male squash blossoms. These are the blossoms with just a thin stem; no round squash forming. My understanding is that you can pick many of these and since the bees are happily buzzing from plant to plant, leaving just a couple on each plant seemed fine.

Fried (and often stuffed) squash blossoms are fairly well known but I knew that was a little more effort than I could lend time to for the midday meal. Instead, I poked around on the internet and looked up Mexican Squash Blossom. Well, there are many ways these little guys are used in traditional cuisines so I grabbed a few extra ingredients from the garden and got started on a simple saute.

Prepping Squash Blossoms

I like to pick the blossoms early in the day, when they are wide open and I can see if there are bees or any other bugs in there. I let the bees fly out and then bring them inside for a quick rinse as needed.

Then I remove these little leaves along the base of the blossom.

squashblossomprep1

And then remove what I believe is called the stamen.

squashblossomprep2

They are then ready to fry, saute, or slice into salads.

Squash Blossom Saute with Beans

Note: Feel free to omit the beans. I have and served it with scrambled eggs and it was delicious.

Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons coconut oil or lard
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 large collard green or kale leaves, chopped
  • 15-20 squash blossoms, prepared as above
  • 1 cup diced tomato
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • salt to taste
  • 4 cups prepared (precooked) beans
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed chopped fresh cilantro

squashblossombeans

Directions

Heat the coconut oil or lard over medium heat. Fry the onion for several minutes until it begins to soften and turn translucent. Add the garlic and chopped greens and saute until the greens begin to wilt, about 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the squash blossoms.

Add the squash blossoms and diced tomato and cook for 5-8 minutes or until the squash blossoms are tender. Add the beans, cayenne, and salt to taste. Cook just until the beans are warmed through.

Remove from the heat and sprinkle in cilantro. Serve warm.

Other Ways to Eat Squash and Their Blossoms:

kittymillie

Somehow this week has been filled beyond the usual with various homestead projects. I suspect it started with Kitty who welcomed Millie to the homestead very late Monday night. This was our first kidding on the homestead and I was completely taken off guard with just how exciting and day-filling that process would be.

After two days of me checking on her probably more often than she would appreciate, Stewart was the first one on the scene late Monday night. This little kid was born in a grove of cedar trees and we asked Ruthie if she wanted to name her. After many, many suggestions by all of us, Ruthie settled on Millie.

barnstalls

It was a welcome expectation to see rain in the forecast Tuesday night and now over the weekend as well. But with a fresh kid and two more goats expected to drop any day now, we needed to make preparations. The barn is now walled in on all sides except the south wall… and just in time, too!

One of the major projects for Stewart was getting the solar panels, batteries, and whatnots moved over from in front of the barn in order to finish the south wall. Well, he had to put up a new roofline behind the house to mount the solar panels on and that entailed taking down the old roofline in front of the barn in order to salvage materials.

So while Stewart spent a frightening amount of time on the roof this week, the children and I worked on cleaning out the barn and putting in some temporary kidding stalls. We spent much of Tuesday pounding T-posts and moving hay and holding ladders (gulp), in between checking on goats and little Millie.

beansrow

And then, with the rain that came Tuesday night and further percentages in the forecast, I figured it’d be a good time to get over my fear of the bean field and take the plunge. There are still several hay bales to break up and spread out but I knew if I didn’t jump in and just get started somewhere, I might never do it.

So we started on the east side of the field and finished that hay up and got to planting. We marked and raked back rows and then the boys got a chance to try out this little plow they put together with scrap materials months ago.

beansplow

I’m not sure how efficient it is but it got the job done and created a furrow two inches deep into which we planted black-eyed peas. We may or may not get to planting some more this afternoon after school books close and babies awake.

I think I realized the other day that we tend to rush around in the spring in an attempt to prepare for the hot months ahead. Finish up building projects, get all of the garden in (and somewhat harvested) before June, bolster the homestead for several months of heat. In many ways it is akin to preparing for winter up north.

So maybe that is why the days are full and the hands (and floors) perpetually dirty – it is spring!