Sunday, January 6, 2013

January Veggies and Recipes

Garden Winter Savory

Frosty Dream Time

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we’re in that dark, cold time of year. Today is the Epiphany, the official end of the Christmas season, when the wise men finally arrived in Bethlehem. We’ve baked and prepared our feasts, eaten our treats, given and received our gifts, celebrated the New Year, and made our list of goals for 2013 (or not). What now? May I boldly suggest some rest? (A vastly underrated commodity in the US.) It seems likely that the wise men spent some time hanging out with Jesus and deeply contemplating his birth, rather than rushing off to their next destination. Let’s take some time this month to contemplate our own lives and how we want our 2013 to be. If we give ourselves some time to imagine ourselves where we want to be, it just might be easier to get there.

UCBG Japanese Garden: January Sunset
Most of the fields continue to rest and rejuvenate this month, especially at higher latitudes. In California we’re harvesting root crops like carrots, beets, potatoes, parsnips, and radishes. Carrots get sweeter with every freezing night, at least that’s what my mom says. We still have pumpkins, cranberries, winter squash, apples, and pears in storage. All sorts of hearty braising greens like chard, bok choy, kale, and collards continue to be harvested, as do cruciferous veggies like cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage. It’s the end of persimmon season, but I still have enough ripening to make them into jam with citrus and ginger. It’s the height of citrus season, so do let oranges, tangerines, lemons, and limes brighten dark days and nights.

Hot foods satisfy best at this time of year. Soups, stews, curries, and mixed veggie sautés are good choices. January is also National Egg Month, so try some omelets and frittatas with this alternative protein. I might even attempt a soufflé. According to my nutritionist friend Mira over at Grains & More, if eggs are cooked right, they’re healthful and do not increase blood cholesterol. If you dried tomatoes, froze garden tomato sauce, or canned berries or jam last year, it’s a perfect month to revisit them.

Enjoy your month and do allow yourself some relaxation and dreaming time, along with the skiing, skating, cold weather hikes, and other seasonal activities.

Orange and Green Turban Squash
(Turbin?) Squash Reseeding in Neighbor's Garden
January Fruits and Veggies

Wild Mushrooms
Turnips & Rutabaga
Apples (stored)
Pears (stored)
Cranberries (stored)

Creek in Winter: UC Botanical Garden, Berkeley
Favorite and New January Recipes

Turkey Drumstick Dinner
Orange Glazed Cornish Hens
*Carrot Souffle
*Poached Pears
Chen Pi = Dried Tangerine Peel: make now to enjoy later

* recommended for post-holiday weight loss

Winter Rains


  1. I didn't realize green leafy veggies such as kale were harvested this late. We eat a lot of kale, and my kids enjoy a marinated kale salad especially. I got a bag of baby kale at Costco recently. Organic, too! I think Costco tries to buy local produce, which is nice.

  2. Hi Columba, Live Earth Farm in Corralitos harvests kale throughout the winter, especially the Red Russian variety. Costco is a great resource, my nutritionist friend recently recommended their Kirkland organic olive oil: all the nutrition & half the price of brand-name olive oils!