Our first dusting of snow overnight and the first frosts of the season meant it was Sunchoke season. For those following this blog, you are probably aware that we are great fans of the Sunchoke. With its beautiful Sunflower-like blooms in the Summer, this is one of the easiest foods to grow.
|After the first dusting of snow - and while the ground is still soft - it's time to collect some tubers|
What endears us to the Sunchoke is that it is also a food native to the American north-east. Regrettably, often sold as Jerusalem Artichoke, it is often perceived as an "exotic" food in local supermarkets. Yet, the Sunchoke grows wild in ditches around our country side, and it was originally cultivated by the Native Americans.
We've covered before how the Sunchoke became the "Jerusalem Artichoke", so we wont address it in this blog entry. What is also fascinating however is how the Sunchoke got its French name: Topinambour. It was introduced to the French court in the 17th century, at about the same time as Native Americans were introduced to the court. Even though Champlain brought the root to France in 1807, calling it "Canada", regrettably one native tribe was also introduced to the French at about the same time. It was a Brazilian tribe...and yes, they were called the Topinambour. Ever since, the plant was mistakenly called after this Brazilian tribe.
In any case, the first dusting of snow meant we could start harvesting our treasured roots.
The Sunchoke is loaded with inulin (similar to the inulin in beans, they can induce "petulance"!). Frost has a tendency to transform the inulin into sugars making the roots a lot more digestible.
The thin skin of the roots means that they do not necessarily need to be peeled. They just need a good wash and scrubbing. They can be eaten raw (wonderful when shredded in a salad) or cooked and prepared as you would a potato. They make an amazing velvety soup. If eaten raw, the taste is akin to a nutty carrot.
Like most of our fresh veggies, we love them roasted. We toss them in olive oil with some salt and herbs and put them in the oven (350F for about 20 minutes).
|Roasted Sunchokes - tastier than they look!|
If you have a small piece of land waiting for an easy veggie to plant...give these a shot. You'll be surprised how rapidly they will take up space. Their tubers will rapidly spread and they will self-propagate in no time.
Since our last blog entry, it was also time for us to harvest our Kiwis. This is also a misnomer since they were originally called Chinese Gooseberries...because they are originally from Asia.
They are the last fruit of the season to ripen and this year we kept them on the vine to fully ripen.
|This year we picked our Kiwis late, as the leaves were yellowing and falling to the ground|
This year was a good crop and much of it we froze. Our purpose this year is to attempt once again the production of a Kiwi wine. This wine has been a trial and effort for the past three years. We know it can be great, but we also know we can produce something akin to strong pure alcohol! Homing in on the process and recipe is key and based on our last Yellow Raspberry wine, we think we may now have it down pat.
Finally, we'll close this blog entry with a bit of history.
We are preparing the barn for another set of renovations. In clearing the back end of the lower floor, we found a painted date on the old barn wood.
|Someone dated the old barn!|
We knew the barn was built around the same time as the old Victorian house ie. 1880. Now we think we think we know for sure. The barn is dated 1881!