It’s almost February. The storage apples from last year’s crop are no longer crisp. The farmers’ markets and winter CSA shares are delivering the same root vegetables and cold-hardy greens they have been for months.
And not to bum you out, but the first ripe local fruit (strawberries) won’t be here or in other cold winter areas until late May. Despite all that, I’m loving my food at the end of January.
A Few Ways I’m Keeping It Interesting:
Delving into my pantry of preserved stuff: Those apples may have lost their crunch, but they still dry into a sweet and easy to grab snack (add a handful of nuts and you’re eating what I am for breakfast every time I’m on the train on the way to teach and the sun ain’t even up yet).
Strawberry-red currant preserves on my toast reminding me of fresh fruit to come; dried and home-canned tomatoes on my pasta; all the dried herbs from last year’s garden, and the herbal vinegars and oils.
Beyond the pantry, I’m cherishing the fresh stuff still coming in. The winter has been mild so far, so several edibles are still flourishing in the garden: my Arp rosemary, thyme, the parsley I planted in a crack in the cement, as well as several wildlings, including field garlic, garlic mustard and chickweed…
My hands-down favorite overwintering garden herb this year is salad burnet. Love this plant! Tastes like cucumber, and I’ve used it to make tsatziki (Greek yogurt-cucumber dip) even at this time of year when cucumbers are so not in season here.
Besides that, I’ve been delving into cookbooks for inspiration and getting creative with ways to use the greens, winter squash and root veggies that are ubiquitous here at this time of year. Some of my experiments turned out great (butternut squash chips).
Others have been less successful, but hey, mistakes are how I learn (don’t ask about the ricotta I tried to make out of the whey from making feta, okay?).