We made a Thanksgiving feast with foods we mostly grew or raised (chickens, cornmeal, greens, etc.), which got me thinking about holiday foods in general. What perennial food crops are part of your holiday traditions? What new food traditions are you starting because you have access to formerly rare foodstuffs. I for one am looking forward to the day we can put chestnuts into our turkey dressing. And cider-pomace-finished pork hams smoked over apple prunings.
Sadly not everyone moves along at the same speed. My spouse was cooking holiday stuffing and asked me if we had any sage. I offered her the choice of an old stale Walmart bottle with dregs in the bottom, or the baggie of fresh from my sage plant that I dehydrated 3 weeks ago. She sniffed the baggie suspiciously... and then took the dusty dregs, saying they smelled more like what she was used to.
Ann Torrence wrote:I for one am looking forward to the day we can put chestnuts into our turkey dressing. And cider-pomace-finished pork hams smoked over apple prunings.
Yumm! After reading this, now I too am looking forward to these dishes at holiday dinners once my family is able to get more established. Looking forward to things like this is a huge motivator for my family to keep pushing forward and trying to achieve our permaculture dream!
As far as what perennials could show up at the holiday table, I would use cranberries fresh and other berries that have been canned. Pears are in season in many places and poached pears with some sort of liquor and maple syrup. I would consider meat a kind of perennial crop and this is a huge part of holiday feasting. Nuts can be ground into flour and used to make delicious crusts for pie.
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I think focusing on one meal, one menu could be really motivating and help provide some focus when starting out. I don't have to grow all my onions to last all winter, but some shallots or walking onions to over my green bean casserole, from perennial scarlet runner beans I raised and froze for the purpose, that would be a fun dish for a major family meal.
I have a recipe somewhere for a cranberry pecan tort that would be amazing with a ground nut crust. Cranberries are a poor choice for our alkaline soil so I might substitute cherry, or one of the new-to-me fruits like sea berries or even elderberries. It would take some planning ahead and freezer space. A hazelnut crust for an apple pie could be really good too.
Convincing the family to forego mashed potatoes in favor of Jerusalem artichokes is going to be a hard sell. Homegrown mushroom in a bisque made with locally raised raw milk, that I won't have to persuade them on.
Ann Torrence wrote:What new food traditions are you starting because you have access to formerly rare foodstuffs.
Considering that all holiday foods were always local or rare imports - what is old is new again. Or what was common is now rare unless you raise it yourself.
I used to be able to buy really kick ass horseradish for Passover. It was extra potent because it was canned fresh, then frozen. The company just stopped producing so... my daughter dug up some horseradish from our garden! I make a really great & local chicken soup from culls. Part of what makes it great is access to chicken feet - used to be easy to get - now rare.
We have lamb now at Seder, which used to be common but now rare - at least in my family no one has served the pascal lamb at the pascal holiday in at least 100 years!
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posted 4 years ago
Christmas day in NZ is usually pretty warm-
think dragging the speakers outside and playing petanque whilst wearing big hats and drinking bubbly.
I know, it's a hard life in the Southern hemisphere
Something involving berries, booze and cream always appears on our Christmas table.
Generally it's raspberries, red and black currants and strawberries.
Maybe some rhubarb too.
It's a family tradition that every year my grandmother sends over a box of amazing cherries.
They'll always be rare and special though-
the trees are picky about climate, the season is really short and they cost a bomb!
Leila - we spent a Christmas in Auckland where we went to the Domain to see Santa arrive by a sleigh moving through the crowd on a cherry-picker while shooting fireworks out its tailpipe. That's where I first learned of pimms and pavlova
CJ - both those latkes sound wonderful. DH's family tradition has Polish potato cakes, plotsky, but we have no recipe, only his memories.