We Eat It All

By Bonnie Grant | December 21, 2021
Image by jenifoto
by Bonnie Grant
December 21, 2021

I come from a long line of devoted gardeners. I also come from dedicated canners, driers, and freezers. We don’t want our home grown produce to go to waste, so everything is put up in some manner. Our methods for processed produce to enjoy in winter differ a bit, but in the end, everyone has homegrown holiday vegetable recipes to put on our family table. 

Holiday Veggie Gardening

We all grow food in my family. And we all can, dry and use other preservation methods to keep our goodies safe for winter use. I’m a big dehydrator and freezer, while my aunt is a big canner. My mother is a master at over-wintering certain crops to use in the cold season. Everyone contributes at least one from-the-garden holiday vegetable recipe. Gardening isn’t for wimps, and we want to share our bumper crops with our loved ones.

Let’s suggest a typical Thanksgiving meal. Mum will have greens still growing in the garden, so she is in charge of salad. She also does the turkey, because she is a master. I will bring out some of my slender, frozen green beans and make Green Beans Almandine. I also have plenty of acorn squash, still as fresh as the day I harvested them, and I bake them. The shells are refilled with the squash, salt and pepper, chives or frizzled shallots (all from the garden), bacon, and topped with Romano cheese — a savory take on the usual acorn squash. Next up we have my Aunt’s home grown pumpkin pie and a side dish of roasted root vegetables seasoned with her garden herbs. 

It’s not just the ladies who have their specialties. My mate makes a condiment relish with our hot peppers, sweet beets, garlic, and ginger. My sister’s guy may contribute a sweet potato pie or corn pudding. For snacks there are bowls of nuts and dried fruit, Dad’s pickles, veggie chips, and other goodies. 

Holiday Vegetable Recipes

The menu revolves a bit annually, but it always features plenty of our veggie garden delights. Everyone likes to try a new recipe, so family tradition recipes are often joined by something we’ve never tried before. The constants are the garden veggies and herbs. 

We aren’t the type of family that only cooks the way grandma did, nor are we a group without adventurous palates. But if it came from our gardens and we preserved it, home grown produce will always feature prominently on the table. I guess that is a family tradition in itself — the ability to grow our own food, process that food so it will keep, and venture out of our comfort zones to prepare holiday vegetable recipes that stretch our imaginations, and keep things exciting and refreshing. But you can always count on our gardeners’ bounty to flesh out the meal and share our growing successes.

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