Saying “goodbye” to summertime

Well the weather here in Southern Maryland has definitely taken a cool turn, and while I adore autumn more than any other season, I can tell you that it’s tough for me to say goodbye to all the amazing tastes of summertime.

After all, it’s summertime that makes those gardens grow and all that fresh produce show up at my local farmers markets. The peaches are done, tomatoes too, and all too soon the stalls will be bare of squash, zucchini, eggplant, and cucumbers. Melons are already on their way out and I find myself missing those little pint containers of blue and blackberries.

Now is when I take inventory of what I’ve got stored away for the winter and do my best to stockpile whatever I can to try and hold on to the bright juicy taste of summer. Tonight that involved some quality time with my melon baller. I had a seedless watermelon and two cantaloupe that I got at the market on Saturday. With my first night free from rehearsal, I used the time to open those fruits and scoop out trays of melon balls. I put the trays in the freezer and once they are frozen solid, I will scoop the icy melon balls into plastic bags for storage. Now, over the winter, when the boy is bemoaning that he hates potatoes and winter greens, I can pull out the makings of a bowl full of summertime! With frozen melon, it’s imperative to eat them while they are still partially frozen. The cold reminds you of warmer weather, yes…but the ice crystals in the melon keep it a bit crunchy, more like fresh melon. Once completely thawed, I’m afraid the melon goes quite soggy and flat. No fun for anyone.

Also, I grabbed the final two large zucchini from the fridge and made zucchini pancakes with dinner. Two large zucchini are grated into a colander and salted (drawing the water out). While the draining is going on, I grated half a large onion into a bowl, pressed the water out of the zucchini and added it along with two eggs and a very small amount of glutinous rice flour (MAYBE 1/4 of a cup). I also added a bunch of cracked black pepper and mixed it all together with a fork. Heating up a bit of oil in a skillet I scooped out small amounts of the mixture, forming them into pancakes about 2.5 inches or so across. Once the first side was well browned and crispy, I flipped them and cooked on the second side. This took maybe 2 or 3 minutes per side, depending on how big I made each one. I’m SO not a perfectionist! Once cooked to crispy on both sides, I drained them on paper towels and served them with roasted chicken drumsticks and a very summery Caprese salad. That was dinner! The boy wasn’t super pleased with the zucchini, although he’ll eat his weight in sweet potato latkes! Anyway, it turned out to be a good dinner, and I’m already looking forward to tomorrow night when I will continue my stashing away for summer by making batches of arugula-basil pesto, my chimichurri, putting pears and peaches into the freezer, and finishing up the last of the fresh okra in my fridge.

How are you saying goodbye to summertime, and what are YOU most looking forward to this fall?