Winter Salads

I love summer salads, especially if I have freshly picked tomatoes and other garden goodies.  But what’s an old girl to do in winter when tomatoes have all the flavor of just-washed socks?

Well, create winter salads, of course.

Start with fall veggies, especially those that store well.  Chopped red cabbage is my favorite salad base.

Sprouts are a good fresh addition in winter.  Broccoli and radish sprouts add a flavor kick.  Bean or alfalfa sprouts have a milder flavor.

Beets are always on the menu here.  I canned several dozen pints of honey and spice pickled beets over the summer. I also like just plain canned or frozen beets, especially dressed with spice and a flavorful olive oil.

It might seem redundant, but homemade sauerkraut makes a good addition, too.

Starting with the chopped greens (or red) base, there are a lot of options.  This is one of my favorites: chopped red cabbage, homemade sauerkraut, chopped canned beets, and sharp cheddar.  I add seasonings and some small sardines on the side.

Before you judge, consider that this salad has everything—fresh veggies, an acid (it can be vinegar, tomato, or kraut), a sweet (beets, apples, grapes, cranberries), protein (cheese, sardines, ham, leftover roasted chicken), and a savory.

My favorite seasonings are Loaded Bagel from Spices Etc. and Fox Point from Penzey’s.  Chopped onion and flaked salt work well, too.  Onions, like beets and cabbage and potatoes, are a winter staple.

It may be cold outside, but with a little thought and spice, you don’t have to do without flavor or salad.

PS: A new planting of onions are growing in the garage.  I’ll keep you posted.

Winter Greens

I had great plans to grow cabbage and lettuce in my garage this winter, but here it is the first day of winter and I haven’t planted a thing.  Fortunately for me, the food system is still intact.  From the local grocer, I have a ready supply of red and green cabbage and, for the finicky man, iceberg lettuce.

And I’ve sprouted broccoli seeds on the counter top.

I’ve been sprouting seeds for decades.  Even in a studio apartment, one can have fresh sprouts.

I’ve tried half a dozen different sprouting methods, including stackable trays, cloth bags, and screened jar lids.  This year I added a new type of lid, Masontops Bean Screens.  Don’t let the name fool you.  The holes on the wide-mouthed jar tops are small enough for any type seed.  The hard BPA-free plastic design allows for easy rinsing, draining, and aeration.  I like the Bean Screens so much, I gave away my perfectly serviceable plastic screen lids.  The Masontops are all I need, although I may need another set of them.

I love the spicy flavor of broccoli sprouts.

“Too spicy,” says the finicky man.

He has finally agreed to try other types of sprouts, so I’m picking up alfalfa seeds and red clover. I’m mixing up my own salad mix, too.

We eat a lot out of the canning pantry in winter.  I’m glad to have the jars of fruits and vegetables.  But with sprouts, I still get raw, fresh veggies and the feeling that spring will come again.

Now, how big a field would I need to grow my own sprouting seeds?  And is it too late (or too early) to plant onions in the garage?