Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Harvest

Carrots from the garden - toddler hand for scale
She counted 29 squash  . . . pretty tough and overripe but she was so proud

Beautiful cherry tomatoes

My daughter was disappointed about leaving Hawaii but her silver lining was the garden waiting for her at home.  Almost every day on vacation, she talked about her garden (expressing concern that our friend who housesat would remember to water, wondering if the turtle was eating her plants) and when we were finally at the airport on the way home, she kept telling strangers, "I have to get home to take care of my garden."  When we got back home, she went running to see her plants.  And, they were huge.  The carrots were all ready, the squash was past its prime, and there were the first ripe tomatoes.  The turtle did eat the strawberry plants and the new sunflower seedlings but the rest of the garden overshadowed that disappointment.

That evening before bed, we all worked in the garden harvesting.  Every carrot I pulled up and handed to my daughter was lovingly brushed off and put into a sack as she complimented herself, "What a beautiful carrot!"  "Look at this one - biggest one ever."  It made me think of my grandfather's garden in Connecticut.  He too loved his plants and fretted over them and enjoyed bountiful yields from the sweat of his labor.  His tomatoes were beautiful and tasted better than any I've had since.  How he would have loved to have heard about big sister's first vegetable garden!  I can just hear his voice in my mind, "Would you look at those carrots?"

We talked about what to make with the harvest and her big idea was a "carrot applesauce cake." Not sure where she came up with that one, but the first thing she said when she woke up the next morning was, "Mom, since I had a good night's sleep, can we make my cake for breakfast?"  The recipe is below.  She measured and mixed and poured and the cake was moist and healthy, and delicious.

She also has big plans for making ratatouille with the squash, so stay tuned!  Any ideas for what to plant now, in the middle of summer?

Jenna's Carrot Applesauce Cake (9 servings)

1 cup flour (I used 1/2 whole wheat, half regular)
1/4 c. sugar (I used Sucanat)
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
6 T unsweetened applesauce
2 T olive oil
1 large egg
1 egg white
1.5 c. carrots, shredded

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.  In a small bowl, combine applesauce, olive oil, egg, egg white.  Stir wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.  Mix in the carrots until well incorporated.  Spread into a greased 8x8 pan or 9 inch cake pan or a loaf pan.  Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

We iced it with a powdered sugar icing (powdered sugar, a little milk, and a little vanilla) and ate it warm!


  1. Charmed, totally charmed by this.

    (Not an expert by any means, but think you can plant another set of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, summer type squash.)

  2. How cute! Congratulations on a successful harvest! I bet you'll think of all sorts of great ways to use the produce.

  3. Thank you Claremont gardeners for sharing of your bounty! We loved the yellow squash on our vegetable skewers! My favorite part of this story is when she told me "We're going to make Stuart Little. . . no, I mean Ratatouille". Got her movies and her mice mixed up!

  4. Why isn't my garden doing this! Maybe I don't have sweet enough helpers.