Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Winter Roots

It's true what they say: root vegetables only get sweeter when they've been frosted over.

For our cholent dinner over the weekend I foraged carrots and parsnips from the garden. They were planted last spring and have fully grown. I left them in the ground to make their own storage. The soil here in the District of Columbia is only modestly frozen, mostly near the top as a result of below average temperatures, down into the single digits at one point. For the second year in a row, I broke the handle on my forked spade prying the vegetables out of their beds. Last year I broke it trying to bury some kitchen scraps in my frozen compost pile. I have ordered a steel-handled spade.

Cleaning up my carrots and parsnips was somewhat more involved than usual, since the garden hose has been turned off pending a thaw. I have to fill a basin of water in the sink and scrub by hand. They clean up pretty nicely. Then they are peeled, cut on an angle, tossed with extra-virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme and roasted in a 325-degree oven.

I swear, you will not find better root vegetable on any menu.


Charlotte said...

I'm jealous -- 2 years ago I tried to overwinter carrots and well, here in Montana, that doesn't work. The ground, especially in my raised beds, freezes solid. I've had to resort to filling my veggie bins in the fridge with my own carrots and beets. Homegrown carrots are one of those life-changers, even the organic store ones taste like cardboard after you've had your own.

The Baklava Queen said...

Lucky you, Ed. I left a short row of Jaune du Doubs carrots in the ground this fall -- and there they remain, frozen in, covered by several inches of snow, with 5-8" more on the way tonight. MAYBE I'll get to eat them before spring. Maybe.

workingwonders presents next in lime said...

that's it. next year I will learn how to create a garden. your blog makes me wish I had paid a lot closer attention to my grandmother's work!

Ed Bruske said...

Charlotte,I can see where you might have a problem. Sounds like you're in an area where you'd be better off creating a root cellar where you'd have access to your vegetables through the winter.

Jennifer, I bet you're carrots will be pretty sweet by the time the ground thaws.

WW, I'm glad you are inspired to start a garden. We should all be so lucky as to have a parent or grandparent who showed us how to garden. We need to re-learn those skills so we can pass them on to the next generation.