THE GARDEN IS QUOTING RUDYARD KIPLING AT ME, invoking a list of “if’s” as I survey what’s left to gather before coming cold renders the remaining possibilities moot. Can I keep my head when all about me—every vegetable and herb, every apple—are losing theirs? Can I stay ahead of impending weather (and find just a bit more room in the freezer)? It’s Mad Stash Week of Fall Fest, and that’s the Kipling-esque question at hand: Can I keep my head?
“If you can force us to ripen,” the few lingering tomatoes seem to say, “we dare you to do so.” (Apparently they don’t know I have my ripening tricks.) “If not,” they add, “then give up already and make us into green tomato-apple mincemeat, or pickle us, won’t you?”
“If instead of letting repeat frosts have their way,” the parsley utters, “you know you’ll be happier with me tucked safely in the freezer in those things you call your parsley logs.”
“If you can figure out what to do with me,” a particularly raggedy row of kale (apparently visited by a cabbage-worm convention) says in a shrill and challenging tone, and I think, Hey, don’t get fresh with me!
Yes I can, dear kale, because once you’re blended into a soup—perhaps a puree with sweet potatoes and sage and greens, or of white beans and pumpkin and greens—nobody will even know about the holes that once marked you.
Or maybe you will become stock—that’s it, vegetable stock, the alchemical elixir wherein knobby carrots, gnawed-upon greens, and onions or garlic who refused to cure well enough to last the winter in storage all turn into liquid heaven. I’ll make more stock to freeze. (I also add cabbage, a little ginger, some winter squash, kombu seaweed, daikon radish and turnip or parsnip if I have them all.)
“And what about us?” a tower of ‘Scarlet Runner’ beans shouts from across the garden, just as I think I am catching my breath. “What about us?”
The rest of you can wait, I say, grabbing just a handful of the big, fat green pods to use in my broth-to-be. You can wait because your beautiful purple and black mottled beans will be just fine dried right in place, even if I don’t get to you for weeks.
Get the potatoes into storage in just the right spot, and the onions (top photo), too;
Do a last batch of pesto—and not just basil, but of other herbs, like sage and chives and cilantro;
Juice the last fallen apples (above) in the old Acme machine, and freeze it in wide-mouth jars—as good as any cider….
Yes, garden, yes—if I can do these things I’ll feel like all is right in the world. Or at least in my corner of it.
Mad Stash Recipes from My Foodie Friends
- Alison at Food2: Break Out the Stash
- Nicole at Pinch My Salt: Spiced Pear Butter
- Kirsten at Food Network: Roasting Pumpkin Seeds
- Liz at Healthy Eats: Mad Squash Stash
- Michelle at Cooking Channel: Save Em’ While You Can
- Caroline at the Wright Recipes: Brandied Apple Butter
- Cate at Sweetnicks: Arugula with Roasted Butternut Squash, Bleu Cheese and Apple Cider Vinaigrette
- Alana at Eating From the Ground Up: Chest Freezers and Why They’re Fabulous
- Caron at San Diego Foodstuff: Cooking for One, and My Mad Freezer Stash
- Todd and Diane: Persimmon Overload, and Persimmon Fool Pudding
What’s a Fall Fest?
FALL FEST IS A cross-blog recipe (and tip) swap–and you’re invited to participate. Simply post your link or recipe or idea in the comments below my post, and also on the blogs of the other participants listed in the recipe links box just above.
Want more information on how it all works? Get the details (and the schedule for upcoming weeks, including our shift into Fall Fest after many weeks of Summer Fest, with a new logo but the same recipe-sharing routine). We’re continuing right into the Thanksgiving holiday.