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Warning to all of you — I am going to rant.
As I was cutting up vegetables for a salad, I peeled the cucumber that I just bought from the store and started to cut it to find it all rotted inside. Yuck, gross and even more annoying — I just bought it! This wasn’t something lurking in my produce crisper for weeks. Although by the looks of it, it was definitely sitting somewhere for a while.
I love winter. Okay, let me re-phrase that or qualify it just a bit. I love winter when it snows. Otherwise, I really don’t see the need for the three D’s of winter– dead, dank and dreary. One of the biggest downsides to winter (in addition to our severe lack of snow) is that fresh vegetables just aren’t the same. I am the first to admit that I have gotten spoiled by the ability to grab my own vegetables right from the dirt in my own garden or the ability to go to the farmer’s market or CSA and grab equally fresh vegetables from some other local dirt. “Fresh” as in from the ground within hours (not weeks) of being picked. It is insulting and demoralizing to pay good money for something green and good for you to find that it is really rotten and bad for you (or for anyone as a matter of fact).
I appreciate the fact that I should be eating seasonally and filling up on those winter veggies (which really aren’t quite veggies at all for the most part in my book) but sometimes we long for something leafy… and green or crunchy and crisp — like that cucumber in the salad. While I am the first to admit that there is no comparison between store bought anything and homemade or homegrown, I do expect that when I do buy something produce-wise from the local supermarket that it is at least not rotting while it is in my shopping cart. The shelf life of the store bought “fresh produce” leaves a lot to be desired, but I’m sure that they could pump them full of something artificial and deadly and it might make it all that much better.
While I can’t exactly make summer vegetables grow here in Vermont in the middle of winter and our farmer’s market does an admirable job of trying to keep us in the greens as much as humanly possible, I still think that I should entitled to expect something more than I got in the cucumber I just cut.
I will be counting the days until the seeds of summer will be planted and grumbling all the while about the crappy selection of produce that I have to put up with in the interim, which is clearly the downside of winter.
- Eat Fresh All Year: A Guide to Seasonal Cooking (everydayhealth.com)
- Growing Cucumbers: How to Grow Cucumbers Organically (growinganything.com)
- Winter Vegetables…a Dog’s Breakfast (Lunch and Dinner) (hortophile.wordpress.com)
- Do salads mix with winter? Sure! Try my Quinoa Salad (kosherblogger.wordpress.com)
- Three Easy Ways to Eat Your Veggies in the Winter (self.com)
As I was making soup today for dinner tonight I was chopping up the vegetables. As I was chopping the celery it occurred to me that while I love the winter, I do miss the ease, satisfaction and good taste of those homegrown vegetables that are prolific during the summer months. As I stared at the store-bought celery on my counter, the word that popped into my mind was “anemic”- pale, lacking color. I remember wistfully the dark green leafy celery that grew so darn well through the entire summer. When I needed celery for soup or salad or whatever, it was there for the taking. A whole bunch or a couple stalks.
Now, until well into the summer of next year, I have instead the pale vegetables to look forward to seeing. The celery that is about 10 shades lighter than mine and the tomatoes that look too orangey-pink to call themselves red are abundant in the supermarket. Sadly, the farmer’s market around here just doesn’t have these kinds of things during this time of the year, although they will appear far quicker at the market than they will in my yard.
I would be curious to find out the difference, if there is one, between the nutritional value of my celery (or any fresh farm grown celery) compared to the ones available in the supermarket, which seems that it must contain less nutrients just by virtue of its pale color.