Sunday, November 22, 2009
Eating Local during the Dark Days of Winter
This year's celebration of the eating local during the Dark Days begins this week. While finding local produce seems easy during the abundant harvests of late summer and early fall, the pickings start getting slim once the temperatures drop and the amount of light lessons. The annual challenge put forth by the (not so) Urban Hennery helps motivate eaters to keep up the work and realize that what sometimes seems hidden is in fact its own kind of abundance.
Eighteen months ago, we started a tradition of Eco-Shabbat, or Sabbath for the Earth--a continuation of Earth Hour. We were originally inspired by Melinda at One Green Generation to have an evening off the grid. We've enjoyed the candlelight dinners every fall, winter, and spring--but during the summer, we usually loose our way when the sun provides the light to allow us to continue full speed ahead. Darkness doesn't point toward a slowing down until it is almost time for bed.
But now that the "Dark Days" are back, we've started again. Our No Impact Project helped us adopt the practice again more regularly this season. The official project guide gives a variety of helpful suggestions for ways to mark one day a week as an eco-sabbath.
For our recent Eco-Shabbat, we pulled the only successful spaghetti squash out of our garden and baked it up. We served it with a sauce made of red peppers (from our amazing CSA), which we dehydrated last summer. Dried peppers simmered in water--just as simple and plain as that, and yet it was astoundingly delicious.
For a side, we cooked up some mixed greens with an onion and some garlic from our CSA and from the farmer's market in town.
We also served a home-canned jar of "Not-So-Sweet Bread and Butter Pickles." The recipe can be found in the excellent canning guide The Joy of Pickling: 250 Flavor-Packed Flavor-Packed Recipes for Vegetables and More from Garden or Market.
For our dessert beverage, the adults at the table sipped our sickeningly sweet but oddly charming homemade Rhubarb Liqueur. This little taste of preserved summer was a lovely ending to the evening.