Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Chard is Dead, but Bugs Bunny Envies Me

It is winter...finally.

This morning when I let the chickens out of their coop, there were slivers of ice cracking across the surface of their water. Next, I went to check the garden. I knew the gang busting run that my Swiss Chard had this year had to come to an end. The leaves had a pleather texture. Frost killed. This did not, of course, deter the chickens from eating the frozen, stiff leaves. In fact, if their reaction was any indication, this might be the chicken equivalent of gelato.

The kale, like the chard, seemed similarly synthetic in texture. The Red Squire Kale has all but given up its ghost. Later this morning, I took kitchen shears and my bright red vegetable colander to harvest the last bit of lacinato kale. It had snow puddling in its dimples. I wasn't sure if it was salvageable or not. Happily, it revived in the kitchen, and was quickly dispatched in a pan of hot butter and olive oil. I ate a big plate of kale for lunch AND for dinner. I'm telling you, a girl's craving iron. If you like kale, you'll have to try it the way Molly Wizenburg suggests in this Bon Appetit article. Saute on high heat, finish with salt and lemon. That's it.

I also dug my entire carrot harvest, over 5 lbs. Since they seemed small earlier in the season (although they ARE Danver's Half-Long), and since I've heard that carrots get sweeter after a frost, I've waited for as long as possible to harvest them. It's true. Carrots do, indeed, get sweeter with a frost. They were practically carrot candy sticks. The entire time I was digging carrots in the snow (just flurries, but still). I kept thinking of Bugs Bunny. But, I suppose now I can understand his addiction.

This carrots were gorgeous. Luminescent even. Their smell was intoxicating. Bear with me here, but really fresh carrots smell like earth and soap. Yes, soap. Their aroma is deliciously clean, like crisp sheets that have been dried on a clothesline.

I blanched and froze most of the carrots. That was my big afternoon project today. I suppose most of them will be made into soup. I seem to have an addiction to soup that rivals Bugs's addiction to carrots.

But, I'm open to suggestions. What would you do with 17 cups of carrots in your freezer?


Anonymous said...

No no no, do not give up hope! Your chard is probably not dead, and your kale is certainly not a goner. You just can't harvest it while it's frozen. If the temp gets up to 33, you'll have another harvest, especially of that dino kale. It's the toughest bugger in the garden.

Even if you can't harvest the leaves to eat, wrap the kale with some row cover fabric (or throw one of those rose cones over it) and you may even get a harvest of second-generation leaves next spring before you put another seed in the ground.


Anonymous said...


Diane said...

I vote for the soup idea. Curried carrot soup. Yum!

Anonymous said...

If you find a recipe for "carrot stew," you'll have to let me know. I've craved my image of "carrot stew" since I was a child, reading the "Awny Scrawny Lion." I always imagined it would be warm and buttery like an autumn sun, after the leaves have turned.

Jodi C.

Zan said...

I love carrot cookies with orange frosting. That's my go-to recipe with extra carrots.