HARVEST CAN BE DANGEROUS

Guest Post By Rebecca Lindquist

[This post is a bit out of season, but i just received it in December and wanted to share. This outstanding writer is a first cousin on my Dad’s side. Her father, my Uncle Max, was one of the funniest people I have ever met and I met him when he was still in high school. He eventually married a gal from Carrollton, Illinois, who was an avid reader [all the books of Jalna] and loved the color lavender, and later they moved to Wisconsin. They lived near Richland Center, Viola, Hayward and other places in Wisconsin. He worked for Stark Nursery in Illinois, farmed in Wisconsin, worked on a mink farm once and I think at a cheese factory for a time. He had 160 acres at one time with 80 tillable and 80 timber. I can remember them picking morels by the bushel basket fulls. wow Wow WOW!  Rebecca, I think of her as Becca, is the next-to-youngest of his four and she works at a newspaper and obviously writes well! Enjoy.]

The weather is getting cooler as the days get shorter. I get rather melancholy, because I know what’s soon to follow. At the same time, this time of year makes me so happy and reminds me of memories growing up and dropping by Grandma and Grandpa Young’s house.

Grandma and Grandpa always planted a huge garden….at least it seemed that way to me. Grandpa farmed until ‘retirement’, when he and Grandma moved into town. They had a house on two lots, with one lot covered with any kind of flower or vegetable plant you could imagine.

They had a couple cherry trees, a peach tree, raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries and a grape arbor, which only consisted of a few grape vines, but when you’re little, it seemed to stretch for miles. The grape arbor is where Grandpa taught me to pick dew worms, or night crawlers, if you prefer.

My grandparents raised tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, green onions, rhubarb, asparagus, potatoes, carrots, dill and I’m sure, several other vegetables I have forgotten.

Grandma was always ‘putting up’ produce during the fall harvest: canning apple butter, various preserves, pickles, tomato juice and the tastiest relish ever eaten, which she served over cooked liver.

I was reminded of those great smells and the cozy warmth of Grandma’s kitchen, over the weekend, as I attempted to ‘put up’ my own produce.

A friend’s parents plant a huge garden every year and share their bounty with everyone they know.

You can tell by my size, I enjoy food immensely and I especially love vegetables. I was extremely blessed this year, to be gifted cucumbers, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, green beans and zucchini from this sweet generous couple.

I was beyond thrilled about the zucchini. I swear it has nothing to do with the fact it tastes heavenly as Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread [I’m lying…..it has EVERYTHING to do with that!]

I was given zucchini a few weeks ago, and instead of the normal procrastination as usual, I wanted to get it processed for the freezer.

I went to the cupboard to grab the grater and couldn’t find it. I searched everywhere it could possibly be and several unlikely locations, to no avail. Then, I had a brilliant [tongue-in-cheek] idea….I would use my old-fashioned french fry maker.

It cubes the vegetable, then I reasoned I could cut the cubes into shorter pieces, thinly slice those pieces, then finely chop it. In my head, it seemed logical. In reality, it took several hours, but got the job done.

With this batch of zucchini, I was older and possibly wiser and decided to purchase a hand grater from a dollar store. I bought one from there, mainly because I’m cheap, but also, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a new one, when I know exactly where my grater is. It’s definitely, positively, somewhere on my property.

I was exhilarated as I used my ‘thrifty’ grater, which made the process much quicker. I was making exceptional progress until the first casualty occurred, as I banged the grater on the side of the bowl, for the first time, to remove excess zucchini and a piece broke off the bottom of the grater.

The next casualty was when i grated my knuckle, which, disappointingly, occurred during grating the first cup of zucchini. I think the piece that broke off the grater was just for aesthetics, as it didn’t effect how it worked in any way. It grated my knuckle just fine.

A person would swear I struck a major artery, as a projectile stream of blood geysered from the aforementioned appendage. I managed, in between frequently changing bandages, to put five quarts of zucchini in the freezer. That amount will make 10 loaves of Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread.

Do I really need that many loaves? Of course not, but I feel I should keep up my strength while my finger heals.

Apart from a total lack of kitchen expertise, I enjoy the harvest rewards, but between you and me, I’m rather glad zucchini season is over for this year. I think I’ll invest in a pair of steel mesh fish scaling gloves for next year’s grating session.

I fully expect to receive a Christmas card this year from Johnson & Johnson, as a major stockholder of their Band-Aid division.

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI BREAD

4 c flour

1/2 c baking cocoa

1 1/2 c sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking power

3/4 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 c oil [kitchen, not motor]

3 eggs

1 1/ c milk

2 c [carefully] grated zucchini

2 tsp vanilla

1 c choc chips

Butter two 8×4 loaf pans. In large bowl, combine dry ingredients. In second bowl, combine all wet ingredients. Mix wet into dry. Blend well, add chips. Divide into pans. Bake at 350, about 1 hr 15 minutes, until test poke comes out clean. Cool ten minutes, remove from pan and cool completely.

Enjoy!

 

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