Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Winter Bounty

This last weekend was full of blue skies and temperatures reaching into the 50's! It was wonderful. So trying to take full advantage of this weather blessing, I felt I needed to get into my garden and show it some love and attention!

I raked the last of the leaves which had blown into my yard during one of our many cold wind storms; I cleared flowerbeds of fallen tree branches, also victims of the wind :-); pruned back my grapes before the sap began to flow. And in the midst of all this work, I also decided that it was time to gather the last of my carrots. They have been preserved in the ground in the cold months but as the temperatures begin to rise and the soil starts to warm, the risk of losing them to rot or re-growth is mounting, so I felt it was time to harvest!

The soil was perfect for pulling carrots! It was slightly frozen, so when I grasped the carrot fronds and twisted, they quickly released from their frozen nest. By the end of my half-hour of picking, I had over 15 pounds of carrots! Some were large, others quite small, but all were ultimately perfect!

The first night after picking, I decided I wanted roasted, fresh baby carrots. I took the smallest ones from my bunch, tossed them in olive oil and salt and roasted them in a 450 degree oven until they were soft and caramelized. Absolutely delicious!

As a side note, I think if there is ever a vegetable you think you don't like, I would like to challenge you to try to roast it and try it again. Roasting brings out the natural sugars in these nutritious comestibles, which makes them more palatable to most (but for those who already enjoy them -  myself included - it elevates them to a whole new level!). It may just open a new realm of foods you enjoy...and that may inspire you to grow them for yourself!

The last two nights, we've enjoyed these carrots raw in our salads and they are phenomenal in flavor compared to those you can purchase at the grocery store! I have no complaints. But with so many of these gorgeous roots, I'm in need of some other ways to use them. So I need to enlist your help. Do you have any recipes or ways you prepare or preserve carrots? I love hearing from you and I could really use some help, so please, lend me your advice, recipes, or tips! I'm ready!!

I hope that after reading this, you can share any ideas or recipes you may have, and that perhaps you will be inspired to either try something new or try growing some for yourself and your family! Nothing is quite as rewarding as growing good nutritious food for the ones you love!