When Will it Ever Get Warm, Thank God It’s Warm, Oh My God, It’s Warm

March 17, 2015 at 9:36 am

A Lot of Rutabaga for the Local Family This Week




We’ve been a Local Family for roughly ten years. That’s ten years of eating local and ten years of always eating local. With two broad exceptions, one for all the condiments, flavorings, and special ingredients: coffee, salt, spices, chocolate, olive oil, etc., needed for a normal life, and the other for not living soley on apples, winter fruits: citrus, mangos, bananas, etc., we get all our food from area farms, producers and artisans. Given the stilted growing season around here and the limited run of most farmer’s market, how can we manage to eat local all the time. Since we started, it’s been a simple recipe, stored and preserved food and winter markets. In recent years, we’ve added a winter CSA to the mix. A lot revolves around our root cellar in the sky.

Until we don’t have a root cellar in the sky. We live in a classic Chicago bungalow. Like a good deal of bungalows, it was built with one story of living space and one story of attic. A good chunk of that attic exists ninety years later. This attic gets cold enough in the winter that root vegetables, onions, apples, and potatoes stay very viable. With the CSA coming and easy access to the Evanston Winter Market, where one Local Family member works weekly, we don’t put as much up there as we used to. Still, we have our stash. Then it thawed. Then it went past sixty. The tempatures rose and the cellar withered. We needed to address the remaining produce.

A lot of apple sauce, another member of the Local Family has taken to eating apple sauce nearly a pint at a time. That’s because we had a good amount of local apples. So, we cooked them down, packed them up, and what we can keep away from the daughter, we have for later use. We found ways to use stocks of carrots and watermelon radishes. And we also had all these rutabagas. That had come in the CSA. Nothing against rutabagas, we just had not had the urge to eat them. Really, we did not feel like taking the time to make rutabagas. They are, really, very good, sweeter than turnips, with a robust taste. They’re fine roasted but shine mashed. The process of boiling, shmooshing and flavoring is the easy part. Peeling takes a lot of time. The ones above were thinned with some olive oil and dampened with a little honey, salt and black pepper. If there was not a raving vegan-a-tic in the household, cream would have been used lavishly.

potatoes - fingerlings

Just as we were losing the use of our root cellar, we were running into several opportunities for old produce. We were coming back from winter markets with great deals on potoates, including a bunch of heirloom fingerlings. We cannot put them away for later.

If you follow along, we’re want to eat our summer food in fall. Now, we’re eating our winter food as Spring arrives. It’s how we react when things start to get warm.