s is for seasonal

As the temperature cools down the kitchen calls for root veggies, squash, meat, mushrooms, dried herbs, the first of the early summer canning to be enjoyed, and as the tomatoes ripen and turn from green to red, they too called to be enjoyed as the last of the summers sweet jewels. Things want to be stewed and simmered slowly to help keep the cook cozy and warm these days. Breads want to be baked, and fruits sitting idle in the freezer are longing to be jammed and baked into tarts and muffins.

The other day I bought a plastic package of organic spring greens and it broke my heart. I love salad, but not like this! Not like this at all. I miss my lush bar of salad greens, which are now standing stiff and seedy, long since enjoyed. But this is not the season of fresh spring greens, it’s time for kale and cabbage salads with bits of locally crafted cheese.

Throughout the summer and spring I cook meat on occasion mainly to appease the family once in a while, but as the cold settles in my desire to braise and sear and roast some beast grows. After all our freezer is full of happy meat, lovingly raised by our friends and neighbors over the summer. I start to crave stews thick with hearty root crops, and chunky pasta sauce made with the mountains of tomatoes I ‘put up week after week this year.

On occasion a pineapple in the grocery store calls to me, or I succumb to the leafy greens in their shinny cello bags, but for the most part my meals come from the abundance of food sitting at my door step, literally! I still have pounds of Seckel pears waiting for a run through the dehydrator, and a million squash that need a winter home. I have a bucket of beets I dragged into the house today to finally pickle. The potatoes are also looking for a home, as are the sun chokes, and some lingering carrots. Most of the carrots are staying in the ground for the winter, except the ones I am transforming this week into the Burwell General Store recipe swap, watch for this on Monday, you’ll never believe what I am doing with them!

My garden beds are topped with compost and a thick layer of straw mulch waiting for a cozy snowy blanket, and the chickens are foraging and scratching up a huge additional section of garden right now depositing little nitrogen parcels all over the place, waiting for me to sculpt new growing beds next year.  Finally things are slowing down out there, and with that comes the slower, heartier food of the season.

So what I am saying is that it’s time to cozy into some seasonal warming meals. Expect more squash and potatoes, meats and other root veggies, along with the grains and beans I have hoarded away in mass. And watch for recipes that use up all the creative canned sauces, salsa’s, and chutneys I have squirreled away … ‘Oh the season of rest.

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