It was late January. I walked around the farm and checked out the land, crops and greenhouses. Everything appeared grey, brown and lifeless. All of a sudden I remembered my mother in law saying how brave of me to start this series in wintertime. And, in the midst of these freezing cold and barren grounds, all I could think of was ‘What is there to show?’ The thought of skipping this January through February post crossed my mind. I thought there would be nothing to talk about and nothing to show.
But one second after that thought had appeared, it had already made room for something else. This is reality, I thought. This is what winterfood looks like. This is exactly the point of this whole series. This is how I learn about the ebb and flow of life. This is what I need to show.
In winter we eat what was stored during fall. We eat apples that keep for three months. We eat potatoes and roots that can be stored all winter long. We eat nuts and seeds gathered in the autumn forrest, held by thick shells that make them last. We eat canned, pickled and fermented vegetables. Our larder is filled with jars of harvest goodness. At least, that’s how it used to be.
The land gave me a humbling lesson this month. I knew winter would mean little, but I had never imagined it to be this void.
The land taught me, if you want to eat as nature intended, you need to prepare. Because if you don’t prepare, you don’t eat. If you do not collect and store in October, there’s not going to be meals in January. The land also made me realize how joyous the feeling of the first seedlings of spring, how joyous the feeling of summer abundance, how joyous the feeling of a vast fall harvest. I understood the need to celebrate that luxury, that is now a given.
We take it for granted. I take it for granted. But this month something in me changed.
I know reading about it is one thing, but seeing it with your own two eyes is a whole different story. This is why I invite you all to visit a farm in the winter months of January and early February. Look around, spend time there, absorb the void. It is my prediction you, like I, will feel a growing sense of gratitude for what is on your plate. This day, this week, this month.
Let’s stay grateful. And let’s celebrate the upcoming green glory of spring like we have never celebrated it before.
Let’s eat February!
You might want to take a look at my first seasonal foods post for the month of December.
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SEASONAL FOODS: JANUARY & FEBRUARY
At the farm
I spotted next to nothing. The fields were totally empty except for some root covering cloth. However, I did notice how the earth had been recently ploughed and how big bags of organic fertilizer were hanging out on the terrain. When I checked closer, in between the cloth covering the earth, I found bright red buds protruding from the soil. Life was returning! The farmers were busy preparing for spring growth. Seeds had been planted in small seedling pots. The first marrowfat beans had been sown. There was winter purslane and field lettuce growing in the greenhouses. The store offered potatoes, walnuts, pumpkins and farm eggs. Plus some amazing dried herbs, jams and chutneys. As you browse through the list of January and February foods (below) you will probably notice they are either a root or a cabbage. Little else is in season right now.
January & February foods*
Blood oranges (i)
Passion fruit (i)
Brazil nuts (i)
* I live in The Netherlands. The months and seasonal produce mentioned is therefore connected to the Northern Hemisphere.
Suggested spices to combine the produce with
Juniper, fenugreek, cloves, bay, nigella, nutmeg, sage, wasabi, fennel seeds, pepper, cinnamon, caraway, mustard, ginger, cayenne.
Spaghetti with roasted garlic cauliflower sauce by Dishing up the dirt.
Rye sourdough bread from dear Elenore over at Earthsprout.
This creamy beetroot soup from my latest book Simply Daytox.
Many thanks to (location) Moestuin Utrecht
All images and text (c) by kyra. at kyra’s kitchen.