Tuesday, October 2, 2012

October Veggies and Recipes

Joseph's coat rose
Autumn Rose

Golden Light, Bright Leaves, and Bountiful Harvest

October is a beautiful month, no matter where you go in the US.  The weather can be balmy or crisp, but seldom excruciatingly cold or hot (except in Hawaii if the trade winds die). It’s the perfect time to travel, even if it’s just for day trips around your home county. The month often starts out with a short heat wave, like yesterday when it was 97 degrees in Santa Cruz county. And even more often there’s a cold snap towards the end of the month, where all of a sudden windows need to be closed at night and quilts and coats make their annual reappearance. If you look around, you can catch a bit of fall color no matter where you are, as deciduous trees and garden plants change their hues in preparation for winter. Marigolds, chrysanthemums, and pumpkins brighten doorsteps in a final blaze of glory before the snow (or rain) flies.

Three Partially Ripe Tomatoes on Vine
The Promise of More Tomato Recipes
Ancient lore tells us that harvest officially continues until early November. Corn is done in CA, but fresh beans are still in season. Pick some up at the farmers’ market, remove the pods, and freeze them for winter stews; they cook faster than dried beans. Tomatoes are hanging in there this month and may be frozen whole, canned, dried, or made into sauce for freezing or canning. If frost threatens, green tomatoes can be made into pies or relishes. Fresh herbs, grapes, summer squashes and sweet and hot peppers are still in season. Enjoy (or preserve) these this month, as they’ll likely be gone in November.

Big Round Orange Veggie on Vine
Winter Squash or Pumpkin?
Pumpkins, winter squash, apples, and pears are October icons, and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. Bear in mind that October is the last month when you can find these fresh. Throughout the winter they’ll be available from cold storage, but their peak season is now. Take some time to enjoy them. Apples and pears with cheese are a fun seasonal snack to take on a jaunt to the woods to look for color.

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