Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Get a big fat orange. Wash it. Peel it carefully, leaving all the white on the sweet sphere. CHop the peel into fine-ish bits. Juice the orange.

In a saucepan--

1 C water
1 C orange juice
1 C sugar (or to taste)
the chopped peel

Bring to a bowl, stir, add 1 pound of crans.

Boil gently, as the crans pop and the whole thing begins to gel up. It'll take 10 minutes of so. Once they start popping, reduce the heat to medium. Stir occasionally.

Immerse 1 C of chopped nuts (I use English walnuts or pecans) in 1/4 C booze (I use bourbon or orange liqueur or something else flavorful).

Once the crans have popped and jelled, remove them from the heat and stir in the nut mixture. Allow to set in the warm pan for about 10 minutes.

Et voila!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sweet Young Carrots

We're having a mild November here in the southern highlands of Appalachia. Violets are blooming in the backyard and chickweed is out and very edible. Dandelions have acquired new fresh growth and it's damp and warmish like middle spring.

I went out late last week to think the winter-over greens--the spinach, lettuces, kale and chard that will be fat and sweet in late February. On a whim--and because it was a lovely day--I wondered back to the big summer garden to check on the strawberry runners and cut the last of the horehound for the season.

And there they were.

I had planted carrots as a companion plant for the cucumbers and hadn't been what you'd call thorough in thinning them out. The cuke vines are long gone and the cold-snap earlier this month fried the last of the heirloom tomatoes. So the beautiful, feathery fronds of the carrot tops were so alive, so fresh.

Who said gardening is a summer-time activity? As we explore old ways of lengthening the seasons, we are finding ourselves eating fresh veg out of the garden for almost 12 months out of the year.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Jack Frost, You Beast!

So much to do at the end of the garden season and I often end up, like this year, with odds and ends of produce, culled right before the first hard frost or immediately after.

Last week I did big bunches of herbs--rosemary, oregano, melissa, mountain mint, horehound and catnip.

These gorgeous peppers were picked about the same time.

I also picked most of the green tomatoes and they are ripening in a colander in the laundry room.

Tonight our neighborhood association had its annual meeting and I made a box of that near-instant couscous (tomato lentil) and ringed it with bright tomatoes from the colander. It tasted like summer just as the year is darkening to winter.

The winter-over greens got covered over with leaves a week ago and now they're getting some nice rain. I'll think them out soon and they will be ready to eat in January or February. Do you grow any winter-over crops?