End of season garden eating

By Carol / September 19, 2011 /

The last eggplant. The last zucchini. The last onions. That’s what I brought in from the garden this past week.

Ratatouille is a colorful meal with all the warm colors of fall. Image:

My mother always made soup with the last vegetables of her garden. She had so many beans, carrots and onions – even late in the season – that she canned quarts of vegetable soup to enjoy through the winter.

With my last vegetables, I made Ratatouille. This traditional French stewed vegetable dish is definitely not something my mother would have made. Her cooking – always excellent – tended toward the more simple meat and potatoes of my father’s taste.

When I’m using the very last things from the garden – in a week when the weather went from fabulous to way too fall-ish, way too fast, I can’t help but feel a sense of poignancy. Everywhere I look are signals of summer’s end.

My husband is pulling up vines, taking down the garden deer fences, getting ready to plow the garden under. Only the tomatoes hang on and keep him from getting the tractor out. I passed a block of maple trees showing tinges of red. The fall prairie flowers are blooming.

The summer is coming to a close. It’s all way too soon for me, this year.  I will miss walking to the garden and picking our next meal from whatever is ripe. Now my walk will be to the freezer or fruit cellar. Produce from our garden, yes, but not the same.

Ratatouille was a nice way to wrap up the garden. Here’s another good ratatouille recipe offered up by reader Jenn Miller.

Until next garden year!

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