It’s the perfect time for harvesting from your garden, as a matter of fact you should have done some of your harvesting by now depending on what you planted. If you had potatoes in the ground they should be right about ready to be dug up. It is time to pull, to pick, to cut and to cook and savor the produce you were able to grow yourself.
This time of year is always the perfect time to harvest that bounty of food that your land was able to give to you. It’s one of the benefits of being a homeowner and having space outdoors to garden.
Your salad crops should be in their best shape now as well. What do you have? Whether it be Red Express leaf lettuce, Buttercrunch or Romaine they should be ripe and ready for the cutting. The last cucumbers should be all harvested by now. If you haven’t started yet you should get going if you want to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
While late tomatoes may still be green you should be able to harvest some cherry tomatoes. Your herb garden should be ready with cilantro, chives, thyme, rosemary, sage and parsley great for flavoring all your dishes for the remainder of the year.
Main Course Vegetables
Main course vegetables become ready this time of the year as well. If you have carrots, broccoli, or broccoli, these can be gathered. Red and green cabbages, as well as white, purple and orange cauliflowers, are also ready to add color to your meals for the next couple weeks if harvested in time.
Leave turnips until after the frost for a more intense flavor and a more unique and rich taste. Beets are another one that can stay much longer in the garden. They will be fine if left out for the most of the winter. This goes for cylindrical beets, golden beets, the Bull’s Blood heirloom variety or the Chioggia beet heirloom variety.
If you still have zucchinis, summer squash or scallopinis these won’t be as soft and supple as earlier in the season but they can still be enjoyed at the family table. Some vegetable spaghetti squash could be a great choice for impressing your guests with its unique flesh. It’s a nice surprise dish when baked and topped with a bit of tomato sauce.
If you have winter squash these are great and will make a great mashed dish. You can use a multi colored variety or pure white acorn squash. If you have the Buttercup and Butternut varieties these are ideal for smaller servings. If you have grown the smaller Sweet Dumpling or Delicatas these are about ready for harvesting.
Your onions should have been stored by now except for white bunching onions and leeks. If you haven’t, then at least you know better for next year. Walla Walla onions, while very popular, do not hold up very well, so they may not be the best choice for your next crop. Try to get some Giant Kelsae onions or red onions. Riverside sweet Spanish onion is also a great option and it is ideal for use in a number of Christmas dishes.
If you have fresh cranberries these can be harvested and used for making tart sauces. You can also leave them and you will find they sweeten up after experiencing a couple of frosts. At that time they will be nice to eat fresh.
Lingonberries will make for great garnishes as will Gaultheria Procumbens with their spearmint flavor.
What About Dessert?
It’s the season for traditional pumpkin pie and for this most varieties work even though it is the smaller sugar pumpkins that are the original pumpkins used for pies. You can also bake up a sweet bread with some baking squash.
An apple dessert is always well appreciated and apples still on the tree this late tend to be larger in size as well as full of flavor. Depending on where you live you may have a different variety of apples available now. No matter what type of apple you have you will enjoy them fresh or in pies and salads.
Late pears are also great for eating fresh or made into tasty desserts.
Not many people grow nuts in their gardens but if you are one of the few then your nuts should be ready for harvesting. Nuts such as Wepster, Sacajawea, Theta, or Jefferson are all blight-resistant. They are ideal for eating fresh or for use in baking.
These are just a few of the foods you can harvest in the fall and well into winter. It’s best to plant a strategic crop so you have an abundant harvest for your Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. If you don’t have these for harvest this year you can plan so that next year around this time you will be well able to harvest your own fresh and healthy produce.
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