Monday, December 6, 2010

In from the cold

Sure enough, we had our first freeze this weekend (no prior frost at my house, just went straight to a freeze this year). There were two things in my garden that had no hope of making it through the freeze intact: a number of hot pepper plants and one, huge basil. Here you see the box of mixed hot peppers. I have no idea what I am going to do with them! Most of these are HOT. For now they sit, looking beautiful, in a box on my counter. Maybe stuff them in a jar and fill with vinegar that I can use in future bbq sauce?

The green basil leaves are a reminder of summer, and were lovely. I say were because I was so lazy that, even though I broke off the branches and brought them inside, I let them wilt on the counter until they were too sad to consider. Shame on me! For punishment I have to wait until next summer for fresh basil flavor.

One more treat that ripened this weekend, the three tangerines that my tree set. Remember last year when the tree had over 150 of these beauties? Well, last year's record cold killed back the branches to only about 10 inches long each. This was followed by record summer heat and drought. The poor tree is sturdy and green, but had to spend the year trying to survive and recover, and there were very few blossoms. These couple of tangerines were wonderful, and hopefully are just a taste of future, big yields.

Last, but not least in taste: I harvested one of the radicchio plants, doused it in olive oil, and seared it on the grill. I found one butterhead lettuce plant hidden under the arugula. The grilled radicchio and fresh butterhead lettuce made an amazing salad. You have to love a garden that gives you these tastes in early December during exceptional years.