You know that saying about saving for a rainy day? Well, I’ve learned to do just that with veggies from my Katie’s Krops garden. Let me tell you about a few things I’ve learned to make when things didn’t go so right in my garden.
few years ago when I first started my gardens at a local elementary school, I found that families didn’t have transportation to get to the school to pick up the fresh produce and tomatoes and jalapeños were starting to ripen like crazy! It was too far to make deliveries to the food bank every day and I was starting to lose good produce. My mom suggested making salsa and she taught me how to can it. It was so easy and when school started again everyone loved getting the jars of salsa made with summer garden harvests. I even created my own salsa recipes.
Then this year, I went to Katie’s Krops Camp this summer and some of my friends volunteered to collect the produce while I was away. A few tricky cucumbers didn’t get picked and when I got home there were a few orange cucumbers in the garden. I knew I couldn’t donate those cucumbers, but I hated to see it go to waste. I remembered making the salsa and wondered if I could use the over ripe cucumbers to make pickles. I searched for recipes and found out I could use them to make pickles! I experimented a little with recipes I found online and found a recipe I liked and people really enjoyed getting.
Later in July, we had a really big harvest of tomatoes...and so did everyone else around us so food pantries were only taking under ripe ones. My sister dropped a few and they cracked. I didn’t want to throw them away, but they weren’t the kind I use for salsa. My mom asked me if I wanted to learn to make spaghetti sauce. She showed me how to blanch the tomatoes to remove the skins and cook them down to make sauce. I took the tomatoes and ended up make 8 quarts of sauce. I froze the sauce and though it would be good to save for a rainy day or at least for a day where it wasn’t 107 degrees outside.
Then, Hurricane Harvey showed up on Texas’s doorstep wreaking havoc and decimating homes. My family lives far enough from the Texas Coast that we were safe from the storm, but so many families weren’t so lucky and lost everything. Evacuees from Houston, Beaumont, Victoria, Rockport, Port Aransas and other cities started arriving here in Austin. My own school is serving as a shelter for over 200 people. Seeing these people arriving with nothing but their families and pets made we want to do something. At Katie’s Krops Camp, we hosted a Katie’s Krops Dinner where campers and garden volunteers came together to prepare a garden to table meal for families in need. I started thinking and here I am in a city with all these families in need. My garden was damaged from the storm so using fresh produce for a garden to table dinner would be a challenge, but I have a freezer full of sauce made from my garden harvest. So, today, is our rainy day that we are going to use that sauce for! My sister and I woke up at this morning and began preparing a meal for Hurricane Harvey Evacuees at a local shelter. September is also Hunger Action Month so it’s the perfect time to host a Katie’s Krops dinner! Because of privacy reason, we can’t share pictures of the evacuees, but here is how the meal turned out!
Ian - Texas Katie's Krops Grower