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Archive for May, 2009

One of the reasons for gardening is increased self sufficiency, but if you live in a Southern climate, having access to certain vegetables may be a challenge beyond a short window of time.  Winter squash isn’t one of those vegetables.  By timing your planting carefully and storing carefully, you can enjoy winter squash 7 months after you harvest it!  Timing is key.

Winter squash will stay edible (and delicious) for months if you begin with one key step:  plant it late.  Count a hundred days back from your first fall frost.  That is your planting day.  Here, where our first fall frost date is around mid-October, planting should come on around Independence Day (July 4).  That way, you’ll be able to harvest after the hot weather has passed.  Keep your squash cool but not in freezing temperatures, and you’ll be able to enjoy it over months without resorting to resource-using preservation methods.

What squash keeps well?  Butternut squash has excellent keeping qualities.  If you’ve had success keeping other winter squash or pumpkins for months, let other readers know.  Jarradale (pictured) never stays around our house long enough for me to know if it keeps.

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Good morning from the edge of the Ozarks.  I’m a new blogger, hoping to share and get recipes, gardening wisdom, ideas about the outdoors, and community for fellow locavores.  For my first post, I want to keep it simple:  how to love beets, even if you are President of the United States–or my husband.

A few days ago, I made a roasted beet and turnip melange that my husband said he’d eat again any day I served it up.  What’s the key?  Use your beets and turnips the same day you pick them, to preserve their sweetness.

Start by picking beets, turnips, and carrots.  Scrub them well, and gently peel the turnip.  If, like me, you were able to keep butternut squash from last fall, wash and peel that too.  If you don’t have winter squash, substitute a sweet potato.  You may use leeks for your savory ingredient, or at this time of year you can pay homage to my Georgia roots by using a Vidalia onion.  Cut everything except the carrots into cubes, about 3/4 inch each.  Toss all of your ingredients with good olive oil and sprinkle with salt and a few jerk spices.  I had some maple sugar, so I sprinkled it on very lightly–just a few grains here and there.  Put everything in a cast iron pan, arranging the carrots on top, and roast in a 400 degree oven for twenty to thirty minutes.  Mmmmmmmmm.

Beets, butternut squash, turnips, and carrots, ready for roasting

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