Planet X Town Hall

Socrates & R.R. Book - PERMACULTURE, and methods for gathering food and water => Food for Survival => Topic started by: R.R. Book on August 10, 2019, 01:07:11 PM

Title: Eating What's in Season
Post by: R.R. Book on August 10, 2019, 01:07:11 PM
This thread aims to help us remain mindful of what may be available locally produced or grown at a short distance away.


*Bulk purchases possible for relatively inexpensive eating now or processing for the future

*Peak nutrition

*Aligning us with the natural cycles of our own area, weaning us off of foods produced at a great distance

*Advanced notice about which set of recipes in our collection to shop for


While some distance-produced foods are available, we can still enjoy them as a treat while expanding our repertoire to find more creative ways to enjoy locally seasonal produce and foods which we've processed ourselves.


Reports of what you're growing and/or processing that's in season in your location, as well as recipes for how to use it.  :)

Title: Re: Eating What's in Season
Post by: R.R. Book on August 10, 2019, 01:26:00 PM
Even if you don't grow your own peaches, now is the opportunity to put some away for a rainy day.

We shop the farm markets for Red Haven, our favorite, and bring home a crate or so each August.  They are then peeled and sliced, then put into heavy freezer zip-lock bags and frozen to be brought out during the winter for baked French toast, bread pudding, cobblers, and simple goblets of mashed peaches and whipped cream.  They're good fresh on ice cream in summer - especially with brandy - and best of all for eating out of hand.  Since most of these dishes are sweets, we aim to eat them only once a week or on holidays.

Title: Re: Eating What's in Season
Post by: R.R. Book on August 10, 2019, 01:39:18 PM
Here's a monthly guide to eating in season:

This month:


One of the warmest months of the year, August is a great time for produce. Now is the time to make all your favorite summer salads and get creative in the kitchen with fresh fruits and vegetables. As far as fruits go, expect to see all kinds of berries, melons, apples, stone fruits such as apricots and peaches, kiwis, mangos and figs. Stone fruits can make some delightful desserts. Use this season’s berries to make a healthy frozen treat. Colorful vegetables such as corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, green beans, bell peppers, zucchini and summer squash are in season. You can also expect to see the beginnings of fall with some denser types of squash such as acorn and butternut. Spruce up the last cookouts of the season with these delicious barbecue classics using the season’s best produce.

Title: Re: Eating What's in Season
Post by: R.R. Book on August 18, 2019, 04:53:09 AM
Now is also the time to source organic corn on the cob, which seems increasingly difficult to find.  Out of a number of locally-owned health food stores in the area, only one organic farm that sells its produce on-site has it near us. 

Expect to pay a few times the price of GMO, even for harvest batch remainders which may look a bit past their prime.  I've found that these plump back up nicely on the stove.  Though the organic corn ears are higher in price, they still only come to a little over a dollar for fresh in this location or a little under a dollar for past prime, so a couple dozen or so to put away for extended autumn eating can be within reach of the health-conscious person's budget.

After setting aside what will be served to the family immediately, the remainder can be husked and blanched in a large stew pot, set out on the counter to cool, and placed in large zip-lock bags for freezing.  Later they will be a snap to heat back up, and will help to complete meals with something that was obtained fresh when most other harvests are long finished.  Organic corn ears go well with such late summer and autumn meals as BBQ pulled pork, bratwursts, and rotisserie chicken. 

Am assuming everyone already knows about the old trick of buttering corn ears by rolling them on a slice of bread and butter!  :)


One final suggestion: Save that valuable organic corn cooking water as broth for a savory autumn soup, such as this easy organic polenta soup recipe, below.  The corn water/broth will store a few days in the refrigerator or indefinitely in the freezer or pressure canned, until soup can be made:

3 quarts broth
Minced onions and garlic sauteed in butter
Additional butter
A cup or two of shredded parmesan, or any other cheese on hand
Sea salt
1 1/2 c organic dried polenta grits (such as from Bob's Red Mill, which is a good storage food)

Bring salted broth to boil, and gradually stir in dried polenta grits.  Simmer over low flame for several minutes, whisking frequently.  Add sauteed vegetables and parmesan with additional butter.  Season to taste, top with favorite toppings, and serve hot.  A good lacto-ovo vegetarian topping is an egg over-easy, making an inexpensive high-quality protein meal.  Can be refrigerated or frozen and reconstituted with a little additional broth or water. 

Title: Re: Eating What's in Season
Post by: R.R. Book on August 20, 2019, 10:02:38 AM
Just making a quick postscript that Bob's Red Mill produces both an organic package of polenta grits, as well as a non-organic package, and the organic one is boldly labeled on the front of the package, FYI  :)
Title: Re: Eating What's in Season
Post by: ilinda on August 20, 2019, 12:04:32 PM
Love your idea of saving the corn-boiling water for winter soups!  Excellent.
Title: Re: Eating What's in Season
Post by: R.R. Book on September 16, 2019, 08:24:50 AM
Title: Re: Eating What's in Season
Post by: R.R. Book on September 16, 2019, 08:56:20 AM
I noticed recently that, while peaches were available freshly-picked for several weeks this year, and still are in a few locations, apricots were only available for one single week in our area, and they were tiny at that.  Moral of the story - need to visit the farm stands regularly!

Just a quick anecdote about artichokes, now in season:

I came from an Oklahoma meat and potatoes family, and confess to never having tasted most vegetables until leaving for college (and then not until my junior year, when I had a Vietnamese house mate!)...

Upon marrying into a New Orleans family, I was introduced to what seemed to me a lavish ritual for eating freshly prepared artichokes.  Mind you that I had never even tasted one out of a can or jar until that point, and wasn't sure if I wanted to.

But they turned out to be awesome!  It takes a lot of dishes though to do it "right" (according to them):

Chokes are simmered in stock pot with lid about one hour

They are then removed with tongs and chilled at least an hour

One is placed at each place setting on a serving plate

Each person is given a separate finger bowl to mix his own olive oil, sea salt and wine vinegar to taste, using a salad fork

An extra full-size discard plate or bowl is provided above each place setting.


The Ritual:

This is often in lieu of a salad course:

Everyone is served one whole steamed and chilled artichoke on an individual salad plate, which may be located on top of the dinner plate.

Beginning near the stem, the lower petals are stripped off one at a time, dipped into the vinaigrette finger bowl, and only the lower part of the leaf that was connected with the stem is slipped between the teeth to scrape off each tiny morsel of artichoke goodness.  The leaf is then discarded on the discard plate (or larger bowl).

This continues until the lower portion of the choke is stripped and exposed.  The upper leaves are then grasped with the left hand, while the stem is grasped with the right (or vice versa), and the lower portion is pulled free, exposing the thistly seeds. 
A flattened mass of prickly seeds is exposed when the stem is pulled away from upper leaves. 

The prickly seeds are scraped off of the platform on the upper stem and discarded.  The bare lower artichoke (best part) is set aside for last.

The mass of upper leaves grasped in hand is turned over to expose what remains of the bottom petals, the row which was sitting on top of the seeds before they were separated.  Holding the top petals in hand, the bottom edge of the ring is dipped into the vinaigrette and nibbled all around the perimeter, just that little morsel from each leaf that is edible and not too fibrous.  The whole top is then discarded.

Lastly, the luscious stripped bottom of the choke, just above the stem and below where the seeds were scraped off, is cut apart with knife and fork and each piece dipped into the finger bowl.


Your liver now thanks you very happily, and you're free to proceed with the remainder of the meal, having kindly tuned-up your body in preparation for winter  :)
Title: Re: Eating What's in Season
Post by: ilinda on September 16, 2019, 09:23:20 AM
Wow!  You've made me want to grow artichokes now.  Being one of those who was never into artichokes, have never eaten them as you describe, and only rarely in a salad (prepared by someone else),  I'm a total artichoke know-nothing, but your article make them truly appealing.

In the 2019 Seed Savers Exchange yearbook seed Yearbook, there are three separate varieties listed:  Purple Roman, Italian Thornless Selection, and Grosso Romanesco, each offered by someone in California.  Rumor has it that they can be grown in temperate climates if great care and pampering is used, and they are protected early due to frost threat.   Any truth to that rumor?
Title: Re: Eating What's in Season
Post by: R.R. Book on September 16, 2019, 09:35:31 AM
I've grown them here as annuals, but each single plant takes up a 3 x 3 space and only yields a few chokes, so I decided it was better to get them at the market and grow raspberries there instead!  :)
Title: Re: Eating What's in Season
Post by: R.R. Book on September 16, 2019, 06:05:52 PM
It's time to keep our eyes open for farm stands to lower their prices on entire crates of produce as they seek to wind down their harvests, refocus their attention upon storing winter food and bedding for their livestock, and in the case of the local Amish farm community, begin preparations for the November-December Amish wedding season.

Bargains may be found on case loads of butternut squash and cabbage for root-cellaring in a cool location.  They should last for several months. 


Now is also time to begin watching for good prices on crates of onions for overwintering as well, if you didn't grow your own.
Title: Re: Eating What's in Season
Post by: ilinda on September 17, 2019, 10:20:14 AM
Those beautiful butternut squash shown could last up to  6 months or longer, depending on storage conditions.  They lasted quite well when we grew them.  Onions do seem to be more finicky as to storage requirements.

But the point is well taken as storing food should now be a critical function for many. 

Title: Re: Eating What's in Season
Post by: R.R. Book on October 09, 2019, 04:56:36 PM
Title: Re: Eating What's in Season
Post by: R.R. Book on October 09, 2019, 05:07:04 PM
With dates and pumpkins both being in season right now, My Darling Vegan has posted a lovely gluten-free date-pumpkin bar recipe using maple syrup instead of sugar.  Maybe the syrup could be reduced even more, especially as the dates and pumpkin are naturally sweet?


Total Time
45 mins
    1 cup packed medjool dates, pitted
    1 cup pumpkin puree
    1/4 cup maple syrup
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
    zest of 1 large orange, about 2 teaspoons

Oat Crumble

    2 1/2 cups rolled oats
    1 cup almond meal
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup maple syrup
    1/2 cup coconut oil


    Preheat the oven to 375. Spray an 8x8 baking pan and set aside.

    Soak the pitted dates for 30 minutes. Drain and place in a food processor along with the remaining pumpkin filling ingredients. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Set aside.

    For the oat crumble combine oats, almond meal, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Stir together. In a smaller bowl whisk combine coconut oil and maple syrup. Add the coconut oil/syrup mixture to the oats and stir to combine.

    Pour half of the oat crumble on the bottom of the prepared baking sheet and press down. top with the pumpkin filling, smoothing even with a spatula. Finish by sprinkling the remaining oat crumble evenly over the top. Press down lightly.

    Bake for 30-35 minutes until crumb is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely before slicing into 16 even pieces.

If anyone has a good recipe using October produce, please post  :)
Title: Re: Eating What's in Season
Post by: R.R. Book on October 09, 2019, 05:30:37 PM
While zucchini ("courgette" on the October seasonal eating chart) is not still growing in the North, this is the only time of the year that I can use it to bake zucchini casserole, as we don't use our oven in the warm months.  So if it's available in stores, I'll buy several.  Here's the recipe:

2 slices cooked bacon, crumbled or cut up
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onion
Dash garlic salt
3 medium zucchini, grated or shredded
1 cup cracker crumbs
1 egg beaten
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup Monterey Jack cheese (farm cheese is a good substitute)

Press moisture out of shredded zucchini using paper towels in a colander in the sink.  Combine ingredients, topping with cheese.  Bake in covered casserole 30-40 minutes at 350o.