How has it come about so quickly that the sun has hit its lowest point on the horizon and will soon begin ascending the sky and gracing us with longer days? The early part of this winter has been full of bean cleaning and butchering, along with our regular daily chores, winter homeschooling in our household, and a bit more time than usual for rest and reading.
Two weeks from now, the winter vegetable season will hit its mid-point and already, I am afraid to say, it has begun its decline (at least in terms of variety). We will continue to have potatoes, carrots, and beets in abundance, as well as some onions (predominantly red onions and the smaller multipliers from here on in, as unfortunately our bumper crop of cooking onions did not cure properly and has nearly all been eaten either by humans (us and our members) or, in the case of those too far gone for human consumption, by our chickens. We are sorry that we humans were not able to get all the benefits from the abundance of onions, but we are benefitting indirectly through enhanced egg production. Though there has been some degree of winter slowdown with the hens, we continue to be impressed by the number of eggs we are able to bring in every day. The cellar is filling up nicely in anticipation of our January orders going out.
Your December vegetables also included what will be your only rutabagas of the season. They were small this year due to late seeding, and while the quality turned out to be quite good, the quantity left something to be desired. Next year!
Those of you who are particularly fond of parsnips will have one more opportunity to enjoy them this winter – they will be available by request with January orders. After that we will have to wait until spring, and see if the weather cooperates with a spring digging for one final taste of those sweet roots before next year.
I have been learning a bit about our microbiome lately (all the multitudes of other organisms that make their homes inside of us and contribute to the proper functioning, or lack thereof, of our bodily systems). Fascinating stuff! One of the shows I watched highlighted the importance of root vegetables to proper gut health – so enjoy those potatoes, carrots, and beets!
For recipes this month, I’m going to share a couple targeted towards those of you who still have pumpkins and parsnips waiting to be used. Christa D. shared a recipe for a classic comfort-food pumpkin soup:
Cut a 2.4 lb pumpkin into 3” slices. Cut the skin off, scrape the seeds out, and cut into chunks. Place in a pot with 1 sliced onion, 2 whole peeled garlic cloves, 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, uncovered, then reduce heat and let simmer rapidly until pumpkin is tender.
Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then stir in 1/2 to 3/4 cup cream or milk.
I have also come across the following Spicy Parsnip Soup recipe that I am looking forward to trying. (It is in The Three Sisters Quick and Easy Indian Cookbook and the other recipes I have tried have been fantastic!)
Melt 1 1/2 Tbsp oil and 1 Tbsp butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 onion, chopped, and fry for about 5 minutes. Add 1 inch fresh ginger, grated; 3 garlic cloves, crushed; 1/2 tsp turmeric; a pinch of chili, and a pinch of cumin. Stir for 1 minute, then add 1 lb. parsnips, peeled and grated, and 800 mL vegetable stock. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until parsnips are tender. Blend until smooth, then reheat with 100 mL milk and 50 mL cream. Season with salt and pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice, and either coriander or parsley leaves (or a pinch of roasted and ground cumin seeds).
Or if you’d like a recipe that includes both pumpkin and parsnip, I highly recommend the Tunisian Pumpkin Soup recipe I shared on this blog in November 2017. Bon appetit!