Monday, July 25, 2011

Havest Mistake

Two weeks ago, I made a significant harvest mistake. I haven't wanted to admit it on the blog, but hey, I am a new gardener. As Steve said, "You won't do this next year!" I just can't understand why I did it. It's because I'm still kind of removed from my food.

I harvested most of my onions and then sat on the stoop and cut off the greens. I rinsed them and clipped the shaggy bottoms, so they looked like beautiful, well-rounded yellow onions. I proudly dropped them in three small paper bags. But about 2/3 of the way through, it occurred to me that I was doing the absolute wrong thing. When you get onions from the grocery store, they are covered in brown, papery skins, like the ones I was washing and rubbing off, and they have dried, curled tops that probably used to be greens. Mine basically now had open wounds on the top.

I immediately started obsessing about the recent advice I read or heard that you should never store cut onions in your fridge, because they absorb bacteria. I could feel my onions rotting in their bags already. I felt sick.

I mostly felt miserable because I planted these dang things months ago! I was so excited to have so many, and only lamented that I hadn't had enough garden space for more! How could I get through the winter with only 70 onions? But now I'd have only 20-25. Good thing I don't have to depend on what I grow for what I eat.

I put them in the fridge and told myself that the thing about cut onions was a crock. (I don't believe it, actually, as I've eaten cut onions for years, though I do often cut off the outer exposed layer because it seems to dry out.) I started putting onions in everything.

Then Deborah Madison's Local Flavors also helped me out! This surprised me, as the book, which I love the look of, has been so far not so helpful with recipes, since it seems to depend on access to a well-stocked Farmer's Market in California. But on page 74, it offered "Sweet and Sour Onions with Dried Pluots and Rosemary." I ddin't have dried pluots, of course, but apricots could be substituted, and I have lots of rosemary. The other ingredients are olive oil, butter, red wine vinegar (I used half white and half balsamic) and honey. So I set to work on a pan full of lovely yellow onions. I served it over the very last bed of kale to be had with rice and some rotisserie chicken on the side. (It just didn't seem right to serve my husband a whole plate of onions without a little meat.)

It is delicious, and we will be having it again soon!

1 comment:

Farm-To-Table said...

Such a lovely story! I have made many mistakes with my first year garden too. I am grateful (maybe not at first!) for each one, because I am learning so much!