2015-08-20 / From The Garden

August: A Sweet and Sour Time


The juicy Pristine apple variety is perfect for a tart. The juicy Pristine apple variety is perfect for a tart. This is the time of year for two special pieces of produce from your garden: one is the sweet August apple and the other is the pickling cucumber. Prepared separately, they are two of the biggest treats from your garden or farmer’s market this month.

Apples harvested in August include Rambo, Jersey Mac, Ginger Gold and Pristine. Many of the August apples are yellow, from a parent cross of the Yellow Delicious apple. They make a fantastic, classic apple tart, and are great for eating right off the tree or for making applesauce. Applesauce from August apples needs little more than a bit of sugar and water. You can leave out the cinnamon, as you will ruffle the pure taste of apple.

Classic French Apple Tart

Serves 6-8

One 10-inch tart pan
with removable bottom
Pie crust of your choice
(Pillsbury makes premade piecrusts that you can purchase from the supermarket).

Cooking spray
5 August apples of your choice
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp. sugar
1 cup cream
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. melted butter


Cynthia Gibson is a gardener, food writer and painter. She gardens and tends her miniature orchard in Newport. Cynthia Gibson is a gardener, food writer and painter. She gardens and tends her miniature orchard in Newport. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Peel apples, cut in half, remove seeds and slice thinly (I keep the apples in their shape).

Line a cookie sheet with tin foil. Your tart will most likely leak and this will save you a great deal of clean up. Spray the interior of the tart pan with cooking oil. Place the piecrust into the tart pan and trim the edges. Place the halved, sliced apples onto the crust in a pattern of your choice.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Using a medium-sized bowl mix the cream, sugar (reserve the 2 tbls. of sugar for later), vanilla, cinnamon and eggs. When the butter cools, add it to the mixture. You have just made a lovely, light custard for your tart. Pour the mixture over the apples and place the tart in the oven for 40 minutes.

After 40 minutes of baking, sprinkle the top of the tart with the extra sugar and bake for 10 more minutes. Your home will have the aroma of a French patisserie! Serve at room temperature.

Pickling cucumbers have a personality all their own. Some varieties are even comical-looking. The tried and true variety, however, is named Kirby and has been the standard for years. This year I grew Lucky Strike.

The simple recipe here is the one I use every year. It is a snap and the easiest recipe you will ever follow.

Simple Summer Pickles

1 lb. of cucumbers
3 cloves of garlic (not sliced)
1/2 cup cider vinegar or white vinegar
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 bay leaves
8 whole peppercorns
1/2 cup of dill, coarsely chopped, stalks and flower heads included

Wash and slice cucumbers, place in medium-sized porcelain bowl (not glass) as pickles need to be covered and set in a dark space. Cover with warm water. Add all ingredients. Cover the bowl with a plate for three days then try one.

In three to four days, you will have pickles. The longer they stay in the brine, the more sour they will become. After four days or so, place them in the refrigerator.



Due to poor pollination, the Lucky Strike cucumbers above grew in odd shapes, but they still made excellent pickles. Due to poor pollination, the Lucky Strike cucumbers above grew in odd shapes, but they still made excellent pickles.

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