Lucky Spring Finds

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted and I have to say it’s not for lack of tasty things to eat over the winter.  We feasted on lots of pheasant, venison, fish and veggies, both from the freezer and the pantry.  I made late season roasts and stews and pies out of all sorts of yummy things we had put up and stored, but I was too lazy to blog about it.  Funny that now, when spring has finally arrived and I have tons of work to do in the garden, I feel myself motivated to post again.  In fact, while I was out surveying my sorry garden boxes last week, and planning big things for this summer, I came upon a bit of green poking out of the last of the snow.  Low and behold, sprouting there under the eves where the sun warms the garage wall, I found the last of the parsnips I had left in the ground last fall.  I didn’t mean to leave them…they just escaped my attention until it was too late.  Image

 

 And so I dug them up!  After a good scrub, I removed the inner core of the larger ones (it tends to get woody)  cut them into 1″ pieces and roasted them at 400 for about 40 minutes.  How sweet and delicious they were!  I would even say that they were sweeter for being left in the ground for the long winter than when I originally cooked them in the fall.  Their creamy sweetness was a spring treat, and now I know to leave some there for next year.  

The second treat for me in this season of meager fresh local pickings was a bunch of Jerusalem Artichokes that my son brought home from an expedition.  These little tubers are new to me so I did a bit of research on them.  Jerusalem artichoke is actually a misnomer, as they are neither related to nor resemble an artichoke.  They are actually the roots from a sunflower plant, and sometimes known as sunchokes, a much more appropriate name.  They are much like a potato in texture and appearance after removing the little buds that grow on them.  

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They have a soft brown color, although they look reddish in the photo.  As for recipes, I learned they are best roasted or sauteed to bring out their distinctly subtle nutty flavor.  I plan to slice them into rounds and saute them, in keeping with their origin, in sunflower oil,  dress them with sunflower seeds and lemon zest, and add lots of coarse salt and pepper.  Stay tuned for the results!

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