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Pumpkins, Beets and Sweet Potatoes

November 3, 2013

I’m actually going to start this rather mixed up post with the beets.  If you’ve read any of my summer posts, you’ll know that I tried growing beets this year.  While I started late, I did hope for a small crop of the tasty roots and/or greens.

Unfortunately, starting late did me (and the beets) in.  I spent weeks battling the local creatures whilst trying to get my beets established and once I did get them going, it was a fight against time. Even with a very long and fairly mild fall, there just wasn’t enough warmth/sun to get my little ones to grow.

2013-10-26 17.33.45

I moved them (having planted them in a washtub) into the sunniest spaces I could find and protected them with chicken wire, but more or less to no avail.  I finally had to harvest them as we started to get to frost time.  This is the size they got to. If there were more than three this side, I might have been happier.  Out of 30-40 seedlings, not a great return. I’ll start earlier next year.

Having just finished Thanksgiving and Halloween, we’ve seen multitudes of pumpkins. This year, I learnt that sugar or pie pumpkins are one of the best ‘bang for your buck’ squashes.  They are quite small, in terms of pumpkins.  But you can roast the entire pumpkin and turn the ‘meat’ into a pumpkin puree which can be frozen for later in the year or turned directly into soups, pumpkin pie, cookies etc.

It doesn’t end there though. My favourite part of the pumpkin is the seeds.  Clean them up, season and roast them and you have a crunchy, healthy snack.  One head-sized pie pumpkin is about 5 cups and then a little over a cup of seeds. That turned into a pumpkin pie, a nice pot of pumpkin/carrot soup and a cup of roasted seeds. For around $3 CAD, not so bad. I’m on the lookout for another (our 3rd) while they’re still in the markets.  I’m also going to investigate growing my own.

Last but not least, sweet potatoes. I’ve been trying off and on over the past two years to cook up a nice batch of sweet potato chips. I’ve run into a few different problems:  thickness of the slices, amount of oil, duration of the bake.  This was the best batch yet. I sliced them very thinly with a mandoline, seasoned (tossed them in sesame oil and seasoning salt) them lightly and watched them very carefully. The result wasn’t perfect, but still a tasty, crunchy snack.

So ends the first weekend of November. Chilly, but sunny and with a suitable amount of healthy, tasty snacks. Success!

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