Tuesday, November 6, 2012

November Veggies and Recipes

Bright plum leaves
First Golden Plums, Now Scarlet Leaves

Last Harvests and Giving Thanks

It’s true that the dark time of year is upon us. Daylight hours are shrinking and in the US (except for a few states) we’re already into “Daylight Wasting” time. We’re past mid-fall and into the final day-shrink. Nights are cool and weather can be stormy. And yet, when the sun shines it’s warm in the garden. The soil warms up, unlike its perpetually chilly winter condition. Tomatoes are still ripening, even optimistically producing new flowers…though prudent gardeners remove these so plants will concentrate their energies on ripening already-set fruits. Peppers and zucchini still show up at the farmers’ market. Leaves still cling to our dogwood and plum trees, blazing in yellow, burnt orange, and burgundy. The apple tree leaves are still green. Does it seem “unseasonably” warm to anyone else?

Bench Below Bright Dogwood Tree
First Dogwood Blossoms, Now Crimson Leaves
Let’s enjoy this bit of extended summerish harvest, while looking forward to cooler temperatures for harvesting optimal winter crops. Freeze the last of the tomatoes, either whole or stewed, or in tomato sauce. Or dry them. Add some late season peppers to soups and stews. Check out the last of the fresh pinto beans, which can be shelled and frozen as well. Harvest the last of your fresh garden herbs (except for the amazingly temperature tolerant rosemary), and dry or freeze them. Or relocate your herb pots indoors. Enjoy the last of the grapes. And get ready to use those green tomatoes (recipes as soon as tomatoes stop ripening in my yard!).

Money Plant Dry with Visible Seeds
Money Plant Ready for Harvest
Classic fall fruits and veggies are the mainstay of meals that celebrate the season. Cooking with apples, pears, pumpkins, cranberries, and winter squash warms our bodies and fuels our appreciation for fall’s abundance. Try crafting cooler weather greens like spinach and fennel, or the ubiquitous arugula and chard, into dishes that contrast with these classics. Or try your hand with a huge stalk of fresh Brussels sprouts. Leeks, onions, beets, carrots, turnips, potatoes, celeriac, and radishes are harvestable until the ground freezes (all winter here in Santa Cruz county). These will be available throughout the winter, so my advice, unless you adore these veggies, is to not overdo it yet. Such harvests store easily and you’ll need those onion and rutabaga recipes come February.

Enjoy your November. Feel free to start giving thanks for the harvest and the other blessings in your life now. No need to wait till our official Thanks-giving holiday on the 22nd.

Golden Poppy with Bee in it Backlit by Sun
California Poppies Bloom in Any Season

November Fruits and Veggies

Brussels Sprouts
Basket of Late Season Apples on Bench with Fallen Leaves
Last of the Apple Harvest for 2012
Peppers, Hot
Pinto Beans (fresh)
Oranges (beginning of season)

Potted Basil Plant is getting Yellow, with Few Leaves and Blossoms
End of Basil Season

Favorite and New November Recipes

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