We are deep into winter with swings from bone chilling days to this past Sunday when I found myself in shorts and a T-shirt. Now, in the next 24 hours I need to anticipate rain, snow and a hard freeze. It is going to be difficult to plan when to put my seeds in their germinating cups. But I am about a month away from considering if the time is right, and I hope by that time the weather patterns will have stabilized. Until then I am augmenting my collection of seeds that I have saved with packets of more seeds arriving by mail. I needed more golden beets, watermelon radishes, lettuces, sweets peas and lemon cucumbers. Though I am sure in the month there will be a few more envelopes within an envelopes arriving.
While I am planning for next season’s harvest I am feasting off last season’s bounty. Yes, my stores in the chest freezer are diminishing, and a few of my pickle jars are now emptied. And, I still have a winter garden that is producing beets, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower and turnips as well as kale, Swiss chard and arugula. Everything is getting covered with their thermal blanket for sure to offer whatever protection I can against this impending climate shift. I have until the third week of February to keep fresh cut vegetables on our table – that is the weekend we’ll get the rototiller and prep the garden for its spring plantings.
Until, sometime in May, when I harvest my next batch of radish and snips of lettuce this household will continue to feast off all the goodies I have preserved from summer’s abundance.
Rye Berries with Beets – yeilds 6 to 8 servings
1-1/2 cup rye berries
2-tablespoons canola oil
1 medium onion
2-teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1-teaspoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
3-garlic cloves chopped
2-beets (green tops as well) (about 1/2-pound)
1-medium carrot – diced
2-tablespoons fresh Italian parsely leaves
1/8-pound crumbled feta cheese
¼-cup pitted Kalamata olives – cut in half
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Cook the rye berries in 3-cup of water over a medium flame until tender, approximately 20 minutes. Drain and hold to the side.
Dice the onion.
Dice the beets. Remove the center rib from the beet greens. Wash the beet greens and then roughly chop.
In a 8-inch saute pan add the oil, onion, pepper, rosemary, oregano and garlic, and cook over a medium-high heat. Cook the onion mixture until the onions just start to turn golden. Then mix in the beets and carrots. Cook for about 5 minutes.
Mix in the beet green and parsley, and reserved rye berries -- reduce the heat to low. Cover the pan and cook another additional 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and mix in the feta and olives and season with salt and pepper.