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Home Gardens Recipes Uncategorized

End-of-the-Season Recipes

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It’s the end of the growing season, but it isn’t quite time to rest.  With the bulk of our harvest frozen, canned, dried, and fermented, it’s time to deal with the left overs: the harvest that didn’t get processed during the peak of the season.  Though these “ugly” fruits and veggies are now gaining recognition in the mainstream (not everything comes out looking perfect!), they’ve always been part of harvesting and cooking for home gardeners.  I have fun examining the motley selection of veggies occupying my kitchen counters and refrigerator space, determining how they could be combined in delicious ways.  It takes some creativity at this time of year!

Sometimes end-of-season produce is a bit worse for the wear.  This weekend I prepared several gallons of sauerkraut from some cabbages that were admittedly acting as slug hotels in the garden.  After removing the holey outer leaves, however, wonderful fall sweetened crisp cabbage was revealed.  Yum!

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It is also an important time of year to monitor harvest stores in the basement and attic.  Any veggies that show sign of rot or discoloration should be used first.  As last night’s dinner highlighted, blemished squash, onions, and other veggies are often perfectly delicious.   They don’t stay good for long, however, so it’s good to enjoy them right away while they’re still tasty.

Butternut squash

Thankfully, some plants are happy to be outside in the frost and colder weather.  Most of the brassicas: kale, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli, get sweeter and more tender after it has frosted.  For now I’ll happily leave them outside and will be ready to enjoy them when I see counters and fridge shelves empty and need to go get vegetables in order to prepare for our next meal.

Find great recipes for fall harvest from some of my previous blog posts:  Sauerkraut, pumpkin, chard, winter squash, frost sweetened kale, and Brussels sprouts.  Enjoy!

Winter-Kale-brussels-harvest

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Home Gardens Recipes

Winter Solstice Harvest!

On the shortest day of the year we snapped Brussels sprouts off their frozen stalks and stole the last of the deep green kale leaves from the deer’s new-found grocery store (a.k.a. our garden).  We raked away the snow and hay covering our root crops and dug deep into the ground to unearth winter-sweetened parsnips, carrots, and beets.  Our timing was good – the next day temperatures rose above freezing, allowing any veggies remaining in our natural freezer to defrost.  Then freezing rain came, coating the last garden skeletons with a shiny crystal coat.  Winter-Kale-brussels-harvestThese are my favorite easy kale recipes & here’s how I love to cook with Brussels sprouts.

carrots-parsnips-winter-harvestHere’s an post from last year about root veggies.  To make delicious roasted root veggies, peel parsnips and beets.  Chop everything into pieces of uniform thickness.  Toss raw pieces in a large bowl with salt and enough olive oil to lightly coat all surfaces.  Spread in a single layer in a baking dish or cookie tray.  Cook at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.  Turn, and return to oven for about 15 more minutes.

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Home Gardens Musings Recipes Uncategorized

First Frost Harvest

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Covered trellises warming back up in morning sun

Last night our cold little valley had its first frost.  Not anticipating another night below freezing for several days, we covered up many of the veggies and herbs that are still producing.  We also did a thorough harvest.

Our work is cut out for us – the garage floor is covered in bowls and bins of squash, beans, tomatoes, tomatillos, onions, cabbage, eggplant, peppers, and more!  To find ideas for what to do with our harvest, I scanned back through recipes from past blog posts.  Enjoy!

Canning salsa for winter storage
Canning salsa for winter storage

Salsa is a great way to use up tomatoes, tomatillos, onions, and peppers.  In my post about salsa, I included my basic recipe and ideas for fun ingredients to add. Click here for special tips if you’re making it with kids.  We enjoy salsa fresh and also cook large batches to can for winter storage.

Eggplant didn’t grow as profusely for us this year, but we have several nice big ones.  I can’t wait to pan fry them using my favorite recipe.

We left the chard and kale standing in the garden – they can survive temperatures in the 20s.  Fall is a great time to enjoy these hardy greens, which generally get ignored in our garden until now.

Though we’ll store our winter squash before eating, I enjoyed looking through these recipe ideas from last year – a clear sign I’m ready for fall flavors.

Finally, if you’re looking for creative ways to use up a variety of veggies, don’t forget fermentation.  This is especially easy for anyone with cabbages to use up – home made sauerkraut is easy and delicious.  My favorite ferment in our fridge is currently garlicky carrots, and I have a jar of curried cauliflower pickling on the counter.

Happy Harvest Season!

garage-harvest

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Recipes

Winter-Sweetened Kale

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Despite freezes, thaws, feet of snow and drizzles of rain, our kale is still standing (sort of) strong in the garden.  Sweetened by the cold, winter-harvested kale is a green treat at this time of year!

Cooking with kale is much easier if you have a team of kid helpers!  They can use washed hands to rip up the kale leaves into little pieces.  This task keeps them perfectly busy as you mince garlic and get the frying pan hot.  Make sure your young helpers pause their play to hear the sizzle of tomato juice on the hot frying pan, smell the garlic as it fries, and observe the color of the kale leaves change as they cook.

Garlic Tomato Kale:
(student tested and approved)

-Chop or rip up as much kale as fits packed into your largest frying pan or wok. Try to make pieces no larger than 2 inches in any direction.
-Dice 4 cloves of garlic
-Brown garlic in 1 T. olive oil
-Add kale to frying pan, pour 1 can diced tomatoes with juice on top.
-Cover and let steam.
-Stir after a couple of minutes, so that all kale leaves turn bright green.
-Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Asian Kale Stir Fry:

-Dice your favorite stir fry veggies, or whatever veggies need to get used up from your refrigerator. I love mushrooms, peppers, carrots, and onions.  Mince 4 cloves garlic and 2 T. ginger.
-Chop or rip up one or two bunches of kale.
-Brown garlic, ginger, and onion in 2 T. olive oil.
-Add other hard veggies.  Once they start to stick, add 1/2 c. water and cover.  Cook until they begin to soften.
-Add kale leaves, add 1/4 c. cooking sherry, and steam until dark green.
-Add soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and/or hot sauce to taste.

Kids are great helpers when lots of kale needs to be chopped!
Kids are great helpers when lots of kale needs to be chopped!