The month of August in our garden means produce bonanza. This year I vowed to preserve the bounty better than years past. There have been three books on preserving that have been constant fixtures in our living room, where I thumb through recipes planning how to make the most out of our garden. In case you are interested, these are the three I am using the most:

Do you have others you have found helpful? Leave them in the comments so we can share book recommendations. One can never have too many zucchini recipes…

Zucchini season began a couple weeks ago, and now I am getting overrun. And of course I thought it would be a fine idea to plant more than just one. The yellow crockneck squash I planted turned out to be a really lovely variety with jagged edges. I decided to cut up all my squash this afternoon and dry it. I will keep them separated in jars in the cool basement. Throughout the fall and winter we can just throw different combinations into the stew pot for rich, healthy soups. Not such a bad idea and incredibly easy to dry up.

We were gone a week for vacation and when I came back all of my squash plantings had taken over the side of the yard. We have pumpkins, cucumbers, decorative gourds, everything squash-related. And they all seem to absolutely thriving! The pumpkins are already huge and they still have two more months to fatten up. I attribute all that credit to the sheet mulching. It’s allowed them to dig down into moist layers of soil to get them through these hot days.

After this batch of dried zucchini and yellow squash, I am going to try making “Zapple muffins”. Have you ever heard of this? There is a recipe I have that uses only zucchini, but somehow gives it an apple flavor. If it works out I will be sure to share the recipe. Afterall, my food dehydrator is stacked to the brim right now and the squash will keep growing!

The tomatoes are still green, but I am thrilled to even have tomatoes after my late seedling start this year. On top of the squash we have beets, carrots, swiss chard, and piles and piles of beans to be eating. I need to make a canning date with my sister in the next few days so we can get some of the produce canned away. Come January, when summer is a distant memory, the flavors of these hot summer days will be a welcomed friend.

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Written by Renee Wilkinson