This is a picture I took late one frosty November evening after I completed the final fall harvest. Carrots, parsnip and salsify. And yes, that is quite a bit of parsnip. And yes, some of them seem to be monstrous in size. (I couldn’t wrap my hand around a few of them!) And no, hubby does not like parsnip and with its distinctive flavour it is a hard vegetable to hide. Trust me. I’ve tried.
So I gave some away to some parsnip-loving friends, and still my fridge drawer is full. I love them roasted in the oven with a little olive oil, garlic and spices. But there is only so much parsnip a girl can roast!
Enter parsnip muffins. I found a great recipe through Whole Foods, and then, of course, I changed it. My version is made with a mix of whole wheat and spelt flours, uses butter instead of oil, and honey instead of sugar. And they are yummy. Spiced like carrot cake, moist, but not too moist, with the sweetness of raisins and the heartiness of nuts. If you don’t have parsnips, I am sure you could substitute carrot and still have stellar results.
Parsnip and Apple Muffins
Makes 18 muffins
- 1/2 cup pecans
- 1 cup whole white flour
- 1 cup spelt flour
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 3/4 cup butter, melted
- 1/3 cup almond milk (or any milk)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 parsnips, peeled and grated
- 1 large apple, peeled and grated (without the core, of course!)
Grease muffin pans or line with paper liners. Combine flours with baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Stir in raisins and nuts. In separate bowl combine eggs, melted butter, milk, honey and vanilla. Add into flour mixture along with parsnip and apple. Stir until just mixed.
Fill muffin tins and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
What vegetables do you have to find creative uses for?
We have had an absolutely gorgeous fall here in Atlantic Canada. Warm temperatures and sunny days have meant the longest gardening season we have ever had.
I am still harvesting the odd lettuces and spinach, many of the herbs are still growing, and some of the plants (like the celery) have been tricked into sending up new shoots!
Despite this, we know that winter will soon be coming. So while the weather is still warm, hubby and I spent the day putting the garden to bed for another year.
We have been cleaning out plants here and there as they have finished their growing season, but when we began working our garden still looked like this:
By the time we were done, the garden looked like this:
We removed all of the annual plants completely, snipped off the spent perennial stems, and weeded all of the gardens. We then piled leaves as mulch over some of the perennials, including the strawberries and newly planted Egyptian Onions. Last year we bought straw to cover our strawberry plants and still lost them over the winter, so we’ll see if they are still around in the spring.
We usually cover everything with a layer of compost/manure in the fall, but we missed the garden centre sale on these items this year, so will have to wait for spring. (We make compost of our own, but not enough to cover all of the gardens!)
I have left the lettuces and spinach for now since we are still harvesting (although since we removed all of the deer netting I am not sure what will be left once they discover the ”free buffet”), and we are still enjoying carrots and a new crop of green onions. This late harvest almost made us want to build some cold frames to see how long we could extend the growing season, but I think that is going to be an experiment for another year.
And so another gardening season has come to a close. Is anyone else still harvesting? What do you do to prepare your garden for winter?Read More
I know I haven’t been writing here as much as usual. Thanks to all of you who have stuck with me through this busy time and still read my posts. You mean the world to me!
We have been extremely blessed this year with an abnormally mild fall. Usually by this time my garden is frost-bitten and gone, except for carrots, but this year we are still harvesting lettuce, spinach, herbs and celery. Oh the celery we grew this year! Seriously, if you live anywhere close by and you would like to have your own bunch of fresh-from-the-garden celery, please let me know! I am happy to share from our bounty. I’m also considering sending all my friends bouquets of parsley and dill - what do you think?
This extended warm spell has also given me lots of time to harvest most of the herbs I grew this year (other than the basil, which faints at the first sign of cold, but luckily I already had most of that made into pesto weeks ago.)
I am pretty simple when it comes to preserving my herbs.
I pick them.
I brush off any dirt that might be sticking to them.
I freeze them in glass jars. (We have a plethora of glass jars because they aren’t recyclable here, plastic bags would work too.)
I enjoy them all winter long.
I make pesto with basil, and this year I tried to make a parsley paste of parsley and oil, which I froze in small clumps as I do with the pesto.
I decided to try to do this with a mortar and pestle, because I heard that it is better for the colour of the herbs when you do it this way. Next year I will go back to using my food processor. The end result was not quite as “pasty” as I would have liked it, more like clumps of parsley suspended in oil. However, when I’m tasting that fresh parsley flavour in our winter cooking I won’t be worrying about consistency.
Anyone else out there enjoying a mild fall? How are you preserving your garden harvest?Read More
The nights are getting cooler, the leaves are starting to turn, and my garden is starting to look a lot more brown than green.
It is time for the fall harvest.
After another two frosty evenings in a row, some plants in the garden are finished for good.
I went out in the garden and harvested all of our tomatoes.
Red – Northern Delight and a few Beefsteak, destined for salsa, bruschetta, and BLT sandwiches (where the “B” stands for Basil - yum!) I already canned the bulk of them as salsa and stewed tomatoes.
Green – not even enough to make green tomato mincemeat! I might try to half (or quarter!) the recipe and at least make a small batch for winter desserts.
I also harvested all of the Mystery Keeper tomatoes, which will keep us in garden-fresh tomatoes for at least the first few months of winter.
The green and yellow beans are finished, but I did manage to have a snack of fresh green peas while I was poking around the garden. This is my absolute favourite way to eat peas, in fact, they rarely make it into the house (there’s local eating for you!)
Our soldier beans are not quite dry yet (and with the wet season we have had, many have rotted away), but I did collect a small bag of the first of the season. These will be made into baked beans (Hubby’s favourite!) throughout the winter, as well as substituted for other varieties of beans in burritos, nachos, soups and stews.
And what would a garden harvest be without a zucchini or two? We almost missed out on these with our cucumber beetle attack, but one plant survived and I have been able to harvest enough for fresh eating on pizza, in omelettes, and stuffed, and have frozen some of the bigger specimens, pre-grated, ready to keep us in muffins (and more muffins!) for the next few months. I also discovered a wonderful recipe for zucchini waffles which I made yesterday and loved! Kind of like a waffle version of zucchini bread. I added orange juice along with the milk in mine for extra flavour.
I pulled out the pepper plants which are no longer producing, and harvested jalapenos for salsa and jalapeno cheese sauce. I like to cut them in half, seed them, and then freeze them for later.
The carrots, squash, lettuce, spinach, chard, and potatoes are still growing nicely. The onions are curing on our deck, although I must admit I have already started cooking with some of them, I just couldn’t resist!
Most of the herbs are still flourishing, except for the basil which I pulled out by the roots yesterday and incorporated every leaf into making pesto, which I also freeze for later, some in ice cube trays and some in small glass jars. I of course saved a few plants to go with the delicious tomatoes all over my counter, but their season is almost done.
I must admit I have a certain satisfaction in knowing that our freezer and store room are starting to fill up with the food that will take us through the winter. Food that started as just a tiny seed in the ground only a few months ago. Growing your own food is a wonderful thing!
What are you harvesting from your garden?Read More
We have had some hot weather here over the last few days. And on a steamy hot day, what better for cooling and refreshing than a cold glass of water?
But somehow, water can seem a little ordinary. But add some cucumber and lemon and a handful of garden-fresh herbs, and you’ve got something a little special, but just as thirst-quenching. Make it in a glass pitcher, and you’ve got something pretty to grace your picnic table.
Refreshing Cucumber and Lemon Herb-Infused Water
- a piece of cucumber
- a lemon
- a handful of herbs (I like mint or lemonbalm or a combination of the two)
Slice the cucumber into rounds and place in the bottom of your pitcher.
Cut the lemon in quarters and gently squeeze to release the juice as you place it on top of the cucumber.
Finally, gently squish the herb leaves in the palm of your hand to release their fragrance and flavour and place in the pitcher.
Fill the pitcher with cold water and ice and let steep for at least an hour before serving.
We often fill our pitcher up with water a second time and leave it in the fridge for the next day with results that are just as refreshing.
How are you keeping cool on these hot summer days?Read More