Monday, November 16, 2009

Stocking up for the Winter

For us in the Northeast, the Saturday before Thanksgiving is traditionally the last farmer's market of the season. In other words, it's time to stock up. Which is why I braved the rain on Saturday and hit my local market.

With a little Googling, I found a great table listing produce and ideal storage conditions (from Knott’s Handbook for Vegetable Growers by way of the University of Wisconsin). Just like our ancestors did, you can actually store much of the late fall produce (and you don't even need a root cellar). *Apples: According to the guide, late season apples store the best at cool temperatures and high humidity (to help retain moisture). The chart indicates you could get two-to-six months under the perfect conditions, but I was not quite ready to buy a bushel and test it out. Instead, I bought some to use in apple sauce, some to eat and a few to save in the crisper. *Cabbage: I don't eat a lot of cabbage, but the guide claims a head should last three-to-six weeks in the fridge. I got some brussel sprouts to roast this week (as I don't think they will last quite as long as a big head of cabbage!). *Garlic: Farmers market garlic tastes a lot better than the kind you get a conventional grocery store, and has a shelf life of six-to-nine months. *Kale: I am new convert to kale, particularly Tuscan kale, and throw it in everything from stir fries to soups. While I still have not figured out how to make a good kale chip (they say they taste like potato chips) or how to enjoy eating kale raw in a salad, I picked up two bunches, which should last two-to-three weeks. *Onion: I heart small red onions. I like to make a salad and use up one small onion versus hack off part of a big one (and then have the remnants stinking up the fridge). Onions are fickle, though, and can last anywhere from a few weeks (especially if they seem moist) to eight months, according to the chart.

*Potato: Under ideal conditions, tubers will last a while. Cool, dark and dry places are best to avoid rotting, sprouting and greening. *Winter Squash: Most sources claim that squash will last about one month, cool, dark place. I bought two butternuts, so check back in and I will let you know!

Eldress Bertha's Apple Sauce (From Cooking Light)
If you think apple sauce is for babies, you have not tried homemade! I like texture, so I use a variety of apples, including those that are a bit more firm and keep their shape. Try adding pomegranate seeds for extra crunch and flair. This also makes a good topping for vanilla ice cream!
Find the recipe here.

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