"Fairest of the months!
Ripe summer's queen
The hey-day of the year
With robes that gleam with sunny sheen
Sweet August doth appear."
- R. Combe Miller
Come August, gardens everywhere are full to bursting, the farmers’ markets and farm stands offer a wide array of fruits, veg, flowers and herbs. With so much abundance, even after gorging on the fresh goodies we have so much remaining. Despite the heat, many often take to their kitchens to preserve the freshness and flavors of the height of the growing season. In the spirit of Lunasda and community, gathering a group to do a mass preserving of these fresh and flavorful gifts from the Goddess is a wonderful way to make quick work of the tasks at hand, getting out of the sweltering kitchen and back out into the Summer air. Witching in the kitchen takes on new meaning for me by August, this is what motivates me to “put up” my baskets of fresh fruits and veggies. I excitedly look ahead to September-Harvest and the Autumn months of crisp nights, spices, the earth’s bounty and gatherings of family and friends to celebrate the abundance Mother Earth has bestowed upon us.
Lunasda, celebrated at the beginning of August, can be extended into mid August. There are pagans here in New England that prefer this approach and wait until the brambleberries (raspberries and blackberries) ripen to celebrate.
Your Lunasda menu can feature breads, grains, seeds, corn and anything with heat (as well as the garden). This being the first of the harvest festivals it is an ideal time for gathering with family and friends. Grilling, cold salads, solar symbols and easy to make dishes which feature garden’s harvest are the best way to acknowledge this turn of the wheel. Peruse your farm stands and farmers markets which are bursting with fresh and local fruit and veg, as well as baked goods such as pies and breads and preserved jams, jellies, pickles and the like. Celebrate all that the Earth and Mother Nature gives to us, celebrate community, celebrate Summer.
I love chutney, served on meats, in curry dishes, I even use some in my sausage rolls served at Yule for an added flavor. My latest love is the following, taking advantage of the abundance of black raspberries growing wild.
Black Raspberry Chutney
1 pound black raspberries or blackberries
1 cup Sucanat (or equal amount of sugar)
2 medium red onions, chopped
a 3-4 inch piece of ginger root, peeled and chopped
Dry mustard (English mustard such as Colman’s gives a lovely added heat)
1 cup white wine vinegar
2 red chilis, finely chopped
½ tsp allspice
Over medium-high heat sauté the onion, ginger and chilis in a tablespoon of olive oil until soft. Add the black raspberries and stir, cooking for a few minutes before adding the sucanat and white wine vinegar. Stir well and bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes or until thickened. Spoon hot chutney into cleaned, hot, sterilized jars. Continue with processing process found here http://www.ext.colostate.edu/PUBS/foodnut/09304.html
Honey Cornbread with Hot Red Pepper
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 hot red pepper, finely chopped
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
Preheat oven to 425*, grease your pan (an 8"x 8" works well). Saute the pepper in olive oil over medium heat until soft, let cool. Sift dry ingredients and to them add the egg, milk, oil and honey, stir until blended then add the red pepper.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden.
The following is a recipe I came up with while working at a local farmers’ market a few years ago. This was my best seller for personal sized pizzas.
Basil Pesto and Goat Cheese Pizza
1 cup basil pesto*
4 oz goat cheese
whole wheat pizza dough**
Divide dough into six to eight small pizzas, spread with a layer of pesto and top with crumbled goat cheese (as an alternative fresh mozzarella sliced thin is a wonderful addition or replacement for the goat cheese). Bake in a hot oven (450*) for 8-10 min or lightly browned.
2 1/2 C packed fresh basil leaves
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
2/3 C extra virgin olive oil
1/4 C walnuts or pine nuts
1/8 t salt
3/4 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a food processor or blender, process the basil, garlic, olive oil, nuts, and salt until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides. Scrape the mixture into a bowl and stir in the parmesan. Cover and refrigerate until needed. This freezes very well and should you not use this within 4-5 days then freeze.
**Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
1 cup warm water
2 Tb yeast
2 Tb honey
3 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (or add 2 ½ cups white whole wheat flour with 1 cup whole wheat flour)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
Add honey and yeast to the warm water and allow to sit for 5 min or until frothy and bubbly. Add in olive oil, flour and salt mix until combined.
Knead about 10 min let rest in lightly oiled bowl and let rise 45min.
Beat down and let rise another 1-1 ½ hours.
This is an old family recipe from my grandmother’s Vermont family
3 pts chopped green tomatoes
3 pts chopped ripe tomatoes
2 bunches celery
small cabbage (3lbs)
1 qt. onions
3 red peppers (seeds and all)
soak overnight with 1/2c. salt. drain and rinse with cold water.
1/2tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2c. mustard seed
3lbs brown sugar (or Sucanat)
Cook for about 45 minutes and pour into hot, sterilized jars leaving a ¼ in headspace. Follow directions as to how to process pickles here http://www.ext.colostate.edu/PUBS/foodnut/09304.html
Sweet Red Pepper Dip in Bread Bowl
2 large red peppers, roasted, skinned and de-seeded
1 cup sour cream
2-3 oz pkgs. cream cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Add all ingredients to food processor or blender and whiz until smooth. Pour into a hollowed out round loaf of bread. To use the bread removed---cut into bite sized pieces and serve around the base of the bread bowl with fresh veggies, crackers, dried pita triangles or bagel chips.
This last one I received from an online urban homesteader friend in Canada, this is a brilliant use of green tomatoes and the hot peppers.
Green Tomato Salsa
5 cups chopped green tomatoes
1 1/2 cups seeded, chopped long green chilis
1/2 cup seeded finely chopped jalapeños
4 cups chopped onions
1 cup bottled lemon or lime juice
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and stir frequently over high heat until mixture begins to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Ladle hot salsa into 5 pint jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process in a boiling water canner 15 minutes.
This recipe makes a hot salsa. You can make a mild salsa by substituting green bell peppers in place of the long, green chilis. Another option is to make a medium salsa, excellent as a condiment for meat dishes, by using all jalapenos.
By Stephanie Lowell-Libby ©Copyright 2008-2012