GARDEN GOURMET-- November 2008
Well, here it is . . . November . . . and most
of our gardens have gone through frost-killing nights. That spells “FINISH”
for our summer efforts . . . but not the end of work.
Some of the plants that gave up your favorite
foods during the summer months will be taken care of by the cold -- just
disc or turn them into the soil in any manner. But, if you have a drop
of tidy blood in your veins, others (like cornstalks, tomato plants, and
eggplant plants) should be removed.
Tomato plants and eggplant are “berries” from
the same family (nightshade) and both have very strong and sturdy stem
and root systems. Thus, it is good to remove the stem and as much root
system as possible, rather than depending on tillage to turn them into
the biomass. I do this with a garden shovel to loosen up the roots, and
cast both plants and roots aside or burn them later.
The dried up cornstalks are equally as strong,
and must be removed in much the same manner.
Various pepper plants are from the same family
of deep rooters, so it might be just as well to include them in this program.
Most weeds are shallow rooted, but very consistent from seed.
Turn dead plants back into the soil to biodegrade
through the winter, but it is best to burn dead weeds (with seed) away
from garden plots. A destroyed seed won’t germinate in your next garden.
-- If you are not sure how much of a spice you should shake into a dish,
don’t shake it in. Instead, shake what you think the dish needs into the
palm of your hand; then in small pinches zap it into your dish. Between
zaps give your dish the taste test . . . remembering that more cooking
(or even simmering) may increase the tastibility of the spice. Guard against
over spicing . . . especially salt and pepper.
ONE MORE PAW-PAW
-- I have written and been exposed to so much on paw-paws recently, that
I hesitate (but only hesitate briefly) to burden readers of this page with
my recipe for Paw-paw Cream Pie.
Based on Katherine Keith’s recipe for “Pumpkin
Cream Pie,” I must admit that my paw-paw number is much the same. Suffice
it to say they are closely related.
In any event, my recipe for paw-paw cream uses
about the same ingredients, except for the cinnamon. They are:
one cup of cold milk and a smidgen more (if you
feel more milk is necessary, just add it slowly),
one cup paw-paw pulp,
one tub of Cool Whip,
half a teaspoon of cinnamon (this, too, can be
increased slightly, but be cautious with it), and one large box of Jello
instant vanilla pudding.
Before you start mixing the ingredients, you should
have one baked nine-inch pie shell. It is best to have it cold.
Mix all but the instant pudding at your leisure.
Then, when you are ready to finish, stir in the instant pudding for a minute
or two (I do this with a wisk, but a fork will work), and immediately pour
into pie shell. The pie sets up fast when refrigerated. Be sure the ingredients
are well mixed.
Note: I have found that a graham cracker crust
gives the pie a bit of added zing.
Note to My Readers: I have been trying to get
persimmon pulp merchants to add paw-paw pulp to their line of products,
but have met with no success. Any news on such projected activities would
be welcome in this space.
-- Will pumpkins that have started to turn ripe continue to ripen (change
color) if they are harvested and allowed to sit at room temperature?
This requires a bit of patience, but if the pumpkin is starting to change
color, the process will continue to turn ripe. After the pumpkin has turned
color ripe outside, allow it to ripen a few more days to make sure the
inside has caught up with the outside.
I cannot vouch for pumpkins that are totally green,
but the odds are that they will ripen if the vines have died. They may
even ripen in outside situations. My experiments tend to support the thinking
that vines are key elements in ripening.
Click on thumbnail image for enlarged view.
paw-paw cream pie is enough to make one a fan of this wild fruit.