Well, Christmas is almost upon us. Last night I delivered the first of the December Holiday Harvest Shares to Bangor. Below is a picture of one part of the share. I couldn't fit everything into the boxes so I had to add a bag for the potatoes and apples. The share consists of 1 Blue Hubbard Squash, 2 Long Pie Pumpkins, 1 Spaghetti Squash, 2 Baby Buttercup Squash, 2 Baby Butternut Squash, 2 Bulbs Elephant Garlic, 2 Bulbs German Extra Hardy Garlic, 4 lbs Red Cipollini Onions, 5 lbs Mixed Yellow Onions, 3 Bunches Danvers 126 Carrots, 1 Bunch Parsnips, 1 Bag of Tadorna Leeks, 1 gallon of Cider, pressed yesterday and 1 bag of apples. All Cider and Apples are from Mainely Apples in Dixmont http://www.mainelyapples.com/, a small, family owned and operated orchard. There is also a bag with 12 lbs of potatoes. 3lbs each of Keuka Gold, Kennebec, Butte and Red Norland.
Here is the share in all it's glory! This is quite a bit of food and frankly, should last the average family of four well past one Christmas Dinner. Everything in the share with the exception of the apples, cider, carrots and parsnips are from our root cellar and were harvested this fall. The carrots and parsnips were dug from the snow covered earth just last week. Everything can be stored in the root cellar at your home with the exception of the cider (unless you want vinegar) which should go in the fridge or freezer (if you want to drink it later [don't forget to take out about a cup or two to leave room for expansion]).
Some notes about a few things in the share:
The potatoes all represent different methods of culinary preparation. The Keuka Gold (which are the small gold ones on the bottom of the bage) and Red Norland potatoes are best for boiling or roasting as they are small and tender. The Kennebec (the larger yellow ones in the middle) are a great baking potato and the Buttes (the dark brown, long narrow tubers) are a russet. This makes them good for french fries or frying in general.
Parsnips are one of those root crops that really should be grown and eaten by the majority of the people in Maine. They are extremely hardy. I have the majority of mine in the garden still, under the snow and will harvest them next spring when they will be sweeter for the cold and snow. A great idea for cooking parsnips is to put them in a pie. There is a great recipe in the Fedco Seeds 2009 catalog but you should be able to find one on the internet by searching 'parsnip pie'. I don't recommend eating them raw as they are quite an acquired taste that way.
The Hubbard squash is a very large variety. The 'skin' as it were is actually more like a suit of armor. Cutting into it is not for the weak at heart. Make sure you are careful and have a big knife and lots of elbow grease.
Other than that everything is self explanatory. I hope you enjoy and that everyone has a safe, happy and local food holiday.