Thursday, October 16, 2008

Three Sister Harvest and Bean Recipes

We had our first frost in the trial garden at the beginning of this week, a full three weeks earlier than I can ever remember it coming. It was a reminder to get everything in that needed harvesting. One of the prettiest things we grew this summer was this coxcomb celosia sourced from a Japanese seed company. I really loved its vibrant color, but the plants were quite short and I want to see if there is a variety that will grow a little taller for garden use to grow in our trials next spring.

I had Lindsay harvest the stalks of bloom to hang up and air dry in the cool dry air of the garage. If they keep their striking color , I'll substitute them for the more faded flowers I have in the big arrangement of dried blossoms I keep in our living room.
sugar pie pumpkins from Three Sisters GardenOne of the true treats of closing the garden down was to bring in the little sugar pie pumpkins pumpkins and the beautiful ornamental corn we grew out in our Three Sisters Garden, one of our larger sized themed bonus packets. This dent corn, which can be ground for cornmeal, is called Earth Tones, and as you can see, it has the most marvelous shades of blue and green as well as the traditional reds and oranges -- I've never seen anything like it! I've been thinking about whether we should offer it as a separate individual packet and would love to hear if our customers are interested. We get Earth Tones from a fine family farm called Bisek Gardens in Minnesota who specialize in an amazing array of different shades of ornamental corns as well as broom corn and other unique varieties.

Three Sister Garden Earth Tones dent cornJust a follow-up on last week's post, I did make up recipes for both the dried Christmas lima beans and Rattlesnake beans. I found that the freshly harvested dried beans didn't need a very long preliminary water soak -- just about 3-4 hours. For the Christmas limas, I sautéed onions and garlic, added salt and pepper and a couple of bay leaves, dried lemon thyme, finely chopped celery and a few big handfuls of chopped Italian parsley. Then I added the drained, soaked beans and covered them generously with chicken broth. The beans which are beautiful and big and striped white and burgundy cooked up in just about a half an hour.

For the dried Rattlesnake beans, I sautéed up onions and garlic, added lots of sliced carrots, six chopped up tomatoes, a couple of bay leaves, a generous amount of dried marjoram, salt and pepper and a pungent dried chile and three pieces of smoked ham hock. I added a generous amount of chicken broth, brought to a boil and then turned the heat down so the covered pot cooked at a very slow simmer. The Rattlesnake beans took much longer to cook -- a couple of hours. The cooked beans have a delicious firm texture and the addition of the carrots and ham hock gave it a bit of savory sweetness. Truly delicious -- Lindsay and Milo and Miguel from the trial garden and Sarah from the office came over to feast with me and I still had enough to take to a last of the season picnic potluck with the folks in my swim class.
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