I don't think of myself as a beginner gardener, but this really blew me away and I'm wondering if I missed something when I WAS a beginner! I have some great looking lettuce that I planted late last Summer and harvested from through the Fall. Fortunately it over-wintered without any aid from me and has grown a ton since it started warming up again. I tasted some today and it was sweet - like there was an immediately noticeable sugary flavor! I always took "sweet" to simply mean "not bitter" in reference to greens. I've grown lettuce for several years, including in Fall for Winter harvest, and never had this before. These same plants didn't even taste like this last Fall. Can anyone tell me how I managed this lol? I couldn't figure out the right search terms to find anything useful on Google. It sure is something I'd like to repeat! Thanks for any info!
My favorite Brussels sprouts are the ones in which I literally have to take a shovel and dig them out of the deep snow which is completely coving those 3 foot stalks of incredibly sweet deliciousness. The sprouts are so different and sugary sweet and clean tasting. Winter gardening is my favorite season to garden because the veggies that can and do grow or survive the cold are transformed and very different from their Spring, Summer, and Fall characteristics. All are sweeter and cleaner and incredible.
The bitter cold can be very sweet as it transforms sugars. We gather tree sap at the end of winter/ start of spring for a reason. The sugars have been transformed by winter and are ready to reward us. So I see the correlation in plants and trees.
There are a lot of misconceptions about winter. When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait for the warm weather, when the bass would start biting again. Boy was that wrong, I have since fished bass tournaments in the snow (December and January) and caught tons of bass in the freezing bitter cold. I dug my first Brussels Sprouts out of the snow in the winter of 1979 and have been a fan of winter veggies ever since. Winter is an incredible time for nature and most folks miss it.
When I was a kid on the farm, the late harvest apples were ready to pick just as the weather turned cold. Sometime the apples were still on the trees when we got a frost. And if that happened, then I would get very excited because that meant there were sugar cores to be eaten. Not all, but some of those apple that were hit with frost would transform inside at the center of the apple, all around the core would load up with sugar and become as clear as glass. When you bit into it, it was like eating honeycomb. The clear glass center was a solid clear clean apple flavored syrup that was the most phenomenal apple you couldn’t possibly imagine (you had to have eaten one to fully grasp them). I’m not even coming close to describing how incredible they were. I would eat apple after apple after apple, every once in awhile, rewarded with a sugar core. I wouldn’t stop until I couldn’t take another bite, but a few hours later, I was back to eating apples.
You can easily repeat what you just did Mike. And you can have fun applying that same technique to all sorts of veggies. And if you didn’t think much of winter gardens prior to this, well that just changed. And you are likely to get a little giddy when you start going into winter from now on. Magic happens in the winter garden and it is very sweet when it does.
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