Thursday, December 2, 2010

garden thoughts and December harvest

The other day we had a visitor that was absolutely amazed with the gardens we have growing the first of December. Since we get so few visitors, I had not really thought about how pretty it must look for someone that either does not garden at all or who only gardens one season a year. All the brilliant greens really are quite dazzling and to a local that knows the type of weather we have had I guess it is a pretty neat sight. I suppose it is bizarre for them to see someone growing near all their food and eating it fresh in December while giving those plants no special care.

Once again it drove home the point of how far we, as a society, have separated from our food. To see this in the Appalachians where I have always associated the native people with being close to the earth and taking care of themselves is also disheartening. At the same time, it does give me hope that people are truly interested in doing more for self but honestly have no clue how how to do it nor how to incorporate it in to the busy lifestyle that they have. I have so many ideas of what I would like to do in the future; Gardens and sustainability are in all of them. Each time I experience something like the lady and the veggies, I know the ideas I have are on the right track, I just need to turn them into something other than ideas.

Anywho, we are heading into an early deep cold spell and rather than spend hours covering and uncovering the outdoor greens and veggies, I made a big harvest yesterday.

The peas grew beautifully and started producing but each frost we have had has beat them down and the growing peas get frost bit so they are all designated bunny food. The cabbage is near harvest size on the good end so will watch them and see how they do for now. The broccoli, I have been cutting for a few weeks now and have froze 10 quarts or so plus we have been eating plenty fresh. I cut another dozen or so heads yesterday and the rest will be watched to see that they are ok. I gave all of the greens a good trimming and brought them in for either freezing or using fresh. This saves me bunches of time trying to cover beds and keep them covered and I do not feel bad if the plants die from cold. The carrots and turnips I continue to pick fresh out of the beds and will continue to do so through the winter. With some mulch covering them, rarely does the ground freeze enough to prohibit harvest.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

squash donuts

Yes really! I was looking for a recipe the other day and somehow ran across a recipe for Malaysian sweet potato donuts made with a yeast dough instead of the traditional tater/flour dough. Manthing has been asking for donuts anyway so I decided to make a batch today but when I was getting ready to make them remembered I had lots more winter squash than I had sweet potatoes. So yes I made winter squash donuts this afternoon and I gotta say, they are the best textured and tasting homemade donut I have ever had and were very easy to make once I translated the measurements and tweaked the recipe to my liking.

2 1/2-3 cups flour
1 cup squash, pumpkin or sweet potato (cooked & mashed)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp butter
1/3 cup water
2 tsp yeast
oil or lard for frying

Put all dry ingredients in bowl. Heat water and melt butter, mix with dry ingredients. Dough is a soft dough but you don't want it gooey either, add flour as needed and then knead for 3-4 minutes. Raise until double in size. Punch down and roll to 1/4 inch thick and cut donuts. Place donuts on parchment paper or floured surface and let rise 20 minutes. Fry in oil until brown and turn. Remove from oil , cool on paper towel and coat with cinnamon sugar.