Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Thinking Ahead . . . Or Not

The weather has turned really hot. Today is 90F already. Bleck! I'm such a heat wimp. I talked earlier about my morning routine and I figured I ought to keep the house as cool as possible, which means don't heat the house up every morning blanching vegetables to freeze. I ought to do a big picking and only heat the house up one morning. I could pick all three spinach beds. I'd have one day of nastiness and then the next two mornings could be enjoyed with my windows opened wide and cool breezes blowing through.

5+ pounds of spinach

It started off well. But I could tell after picking the first bed that I wouldn't have space in my basket and tub for all three beds. They had grown a lot over the last week. I fit about five pounds of spinach from two beds. Which really is more than I want to process at once anyway. That last bed will have to wait until Friday.

Second bed after picking

As I was on my last bed I decided to pull a few plants (the middle was bare anyway as those didn't grow for some reason). This will be my cucumber and zucchini bed for the summer and the seeds needed planting. I pulled just enough I think to fit them in. Once they really get going the spinach will be long gone anyway.

Since I was pulling spinach, I took a photo of the roots. The ones that didn't really grow didn't have much of a tap root, but the big plants did. This one is about 6" long. I know some people like to do spinach transplants but I just can't imagine them doing that well with a stunted tap root. Though I supposed my parsley does fine most years grown that way.

Anyway back to the task at hand. I took that huge pile of spinach inside to blanch. It was kind of amusing as I scurried about trying to get everything done for the next batch before the first batch was finished blanching in the pot. I had to get ice to cool down the hot spinach. I had to toss the wash water on the garden - run, run, run. Get back fill the tub up, wash some more. I didn't want to have any time that the pot was boiling and not being used to cook spinach. But I got it done. I left the hot pot of water outdoors to cool off.

I might have been thinking ahead about not heating up the house, but I wasn't thinking about freezing it. I only have one container that I use to freeze my greens. I like to have a nice half cup which is about 3 ounces of uncooked greens in each. My little mini loaf pan fits that if I round the tops up. But five pounds of spinach comes to about 26 servings. My pan holds 12. Whoops. I had to store some of the blanched spinach in the fridge waiting its turn in the freezer. Usually my greens go right from the garden to get blanched and then frozen immediately. It is the freshest I could possibly have to eat in the winter. I'll have to remember that in the future. Just over two pounds works fine. Any more and I don't have the pan for them.

And in no way related, but I just had to share. My first two strawberries! Whoohoo! Sadly the real first strawberry was eaten by a squirrel. I have since shored up my defenses and hopefully the rest are mine.


  1. That's a lot of spinach and I can't imagine having a simmering pot of hot water on the stove today. Mine is ready for a cutting but I have to do it early morning. With this heat and dryness, not sure how long it will last.

  2. Wow, so much spinach! It sure is hot here too. My greens are all burning up in the garden. I hope I get enough to store for the winter.

  3. Fresh strawberries great you are well ahead of us.
    I have two confess that I never Blanch things before freezing.

  4. Yay for strawberries! As for spinach I've done it both ways and I can't say I notice much difference in the transplanted ones vs direct-seeded. The key here in our climate seems to be getting it out early.

    1. I agree. Planting as soon as the soil can be worked is the best. I usually chit my seed indoors to get a jump on it. They can handle the cold, but not the heat.

  5. Hurray for the first fresh strawberries of the season - they look so delicious!

    5 lbs. of spinach - wow...I tell you, sometimes it just boggles my mind how much you harvest! Your bed after picking looks like mine BEFORE picking...but I'm gonna keep trying. I have seedlings coming up that I direct sowed (vs. those I transplanted) - I'll have to remember to take a peak at those roots to see if there is a difference. Hopefully our hot weather doesn't have them bolting before I even get a harvest.

    And I hear you on the heat wimp - I'm a heat AND cold wimp...always looking for that perfect 10 - 20C (50-70F) window of opportunity. Unfortunately, it doesn't come near often enough around here.

  6. Daphne, Where did you get your little mini loaf pan? This would be great help in my kitchen.