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We try to compost our food scraps around here, although I will tell you that it’s a lot easier to get psyched about composting when it’s nice and sunny and warm out. When a trip to the compost pile is a welcome walk in the summer breeze, taking time to literally smell the flowers along the way. During winter and particularly of late, with our sub-zero temperatures and dangerous wind chill, composting is a whole lot less desirable. There is something about the thought of bundling yourself up and walking across the wind swept tundra that we call our yard to the compost pile that just doesn’t make it all that appealing.

So, what’s one supposed to do when you are saddled with the guilt of not composting and the real fear of freezing to death while doing it?

Recycle your food scraps! Okay, I know you are going to say that composting your food scraps is recycling and perhaps this woman’s brain has already been affected by those sub zero temperatures she was talking about just now. No really, there are different food scraps that you can recycle by re-growing them. Scallions, leeks, fennel, garlic (for scapes), lemongrass, bok choy, romaine lettuce, ginger, potatoes, onions and cabbage.

The last time I bought bok choy from the supermarket (for sadly the farmer’s market had none) I decided to take the bottom that I cut off and place it in a shallow container with a little water. I added to it two leek bottoms that I had used for potato leek soup later in the week.

The bok choy started to show green growth pretty much the next day which surprised me a little since it was from the grocery store and God only knows how old it was when I bought it. The leeks took longer, in fact, I was pretty sure that they were going to rot and was ready to remove them from the bowl when I noticed that one had a little green stalk poking up from the center. The second one has yet to show any green growth but it has roots that are now about 1/4 inch long almost all around the base.

They will remain in the water for a while longer and then when there are real roots, I will plant them in some soil and see what happens. In the dead of winter with frigid temperatures it is very nice to see some green growing around the house.

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Cross-section of a Pascal celery rib.
Image via Wikipedia

Homegrown celery - Happenings on the Hill

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.

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Here are some pictures of the beautiful dark green celery that I pulled from the garden this afternoon. Celery was one of the things that did well this summer with all of its rain and less than perfect weather.

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The celery, together with the carrots I picked (and had already sliced before I thought about pulling out the camera) went into a big pot of chicken soup. The weather around these parts has definitely taken a change for the cooler and soup on a Friday night seemed a good idea.

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