We had a bit of a drought, you see. Couldn't you just cry? I did get to do a few fun things I'd like to share.
Here's what I did with a good portion of that enormous pile of shallots that I pulled up last June:
I sliced off the bottoms, put them on an olive oil covered pan, and roasted them in a hot oven just like you do with garlic. It took a couple of hours for them to get nice and brown. Then I squooshed the roasted pulp out of the jackets and into the food processor. I added more olive oil and pureed them to a kind of runny consistency. I spread the paste back into the pans and froze them, scoring the surface a few times while they were freezing so they would break apart easy when they hardened. Now I have several big bags of roasted shallot cubes in the freezer ready for browning meats and vegetables and adding to just about anything -dips, dressings, gravy. The thing I like most about this is skipping the whole shallot peeling thing. They're such a pain.
I also grew 2 different Cucurbita pepo: 'Cocozelle' squash (above) and 'Williams Naked Seeded' pumpkin. Did you know that pumpkins and zucchini are so closely related that they will cross with each other by way of bees? I found the best idea for getting true to type home saved seed of each plant when grown at the same time in a small garden in the excellent book Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth. Here's what you do:
In the evening find a female flower (above) and a male flower that are ready to open the next morning. You will know the female flower by the tiny fruit at the base. The flowers will show some color and be slightly puffy.
Take some painter's tape and tape them shut at the tips.
Early the next morning they will look like this. Bees will be buzzing around everywhere, but they won't be able to get in.
Open each flower up. You can tear the petals off the male flower, but leave as much petal as you can on the female one. Brush the pollen from the male flower onto the center of the female flower.
Then gather her skirts together and tape the little mamma up tight.
In a few months your seed mammas will be ripe and full of the right seeds.
Naked seeded pumpkins have no hulls. I dehydrated mine with a bit of salt. So good! I'm definitely growing these again with the good seed I saved. I have some to share (and the Cocozelle too). Let me know if you'd like some.