Fall Harvest - Farm to Table

by Laura FrerichsTastemaker in Residence

As we wrap up another vegetable farming season in Minnesota, I turn my attentions back to the kitchen, towards preserving the last remnants of the fall harvests.  We have had a few light frosts, but overall it has been a warmer fall than average which has kept the annual herbs and greens continuing for our fresh use.  We try to preserve and consume as much local food as possible throughout the winter months, both for economical and environmental reasons.  Plus, eating food we grew and our neighbors grew just tastes better! 

We just picked up a quarter of grassfed beef from our neighbor, Denny and the freezer is plum full of delicious beef to get us through the winter and all the way until next fall when the next round of animals are ready for slaughter.  In the next week or two we will pick up a quarter of a pastured pig from our friends at Prairie Drifter Farm.  And we still have a gigantic batch of local applesauce to can, which is a delicious treat drizzled on pancakes, waffles, and on its own not only for baby Willie, but for the whole family.  Martha Stewart's applesauce pancakes are a winter weekend staple in our house.

Fresh green vegetables like kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, green beans and cauliflower will get quickly steamed or parboiled for a few minutes until just barely tender, cooled under cold water, and frozen on cookie sheets for 24 hours.  Contents will then be put in freezer bags, but the product will be loose, not frozen together in a mass together.  Herbs like parsley and cilantro will be processed with garlic and olive oil in our food processor to make an herb paste and dollops of that will be frozen on cookie sheets, and then transferred to freezer bags when frozen for use in sauces, soups, and stews through the winter.  Bags of onions, garlic, shallots, and potatoes will be kept in our cool basement.  And we will cram as many pounds of fresh carrots as we can in the bottom of our refrigerator.  It's a delicious bounty and a reminder of the work we do and the nourishment we provide.  As the beginning of winter begins to descend on Minnesota these next few weeks and months, I mourn the impending cold and darkness but find comfort in a warm kitchen and extra time with my family by the fireplace.  We need this time to rest, to heal, and renew in preparation for another busy farming season ahead.  Bring on the applesauce pancakes!

Martha Stewart's Applesauce Pancakes:

We make these with any homemade (or not) applesauce that we have on hand.  They taste almost like buttermilk pancakes, but without the buttermilk! Martha's Applesauce Pancakes