Last year, okra was our big sleeper veggie. We planted them on a whim, not really knowing what to expect (or how to eat it), and by the end of the summer, we had six plants ranging in height from 6′ to a whopping 12′. And then the gumbo! Oh, the gumbo. Okra + andouille + chicken + hot peppers + a bunch of other deliciousness thrown in a crockpot = pure gumbo magic.
This year, I discovered the awesomeness of beets. For real, I love them. If you have some preconceived, long-seated notion about beets, I think you need to come over to my house and let me cook you up some roasted beets and sweet potatoes with a starter of pickled beets. Plus, they make everything a beautiful shade of fuchsia (EVERYTHING – your hands, the counter top, a nice little trail across the floor where you dropped one and it went rolling away, etc.).
The secret: boil them ’til they’re soft, wipe the skins off, then throw them in for another 10 minutes with your already roasting root vegetables. Yum.
So, garden friends, what was your favorite surprise in the garden this year? What can you not wait to plant next year?