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From the Garden this Week…

From the Garden this Week…

Spaghetti Squash, Garlic, Green Onions, Green Cabbage, Hot Peppers, Red Butter Lettuce, Baby Carrots, Fennel or Broccoli, Spinach, Oregano, Dill, Braising Greens Mix and Pomegranates

Coming Soon… Sprouting Broccoli, Bok Choy, Swiss Chard

Using your Produce… by Julie Moreno

The garden is finally enjoying a drink and the pests are subsiding or just hiding with the colder weather. We will have slightly smaller baskets this week and next as we are waiting for many of the winter vegetables to come into their full glory. This time of the year from December to January the plants slow down their growth because of the reduced day length. Make sure to wash everything well as the rain causes everything to be a little dirty and there are a few aphids hiding in the broccoli. This week we have cabbage coming out to everyone. I found a simple recipe from Ina Garten that slowly caramelizes the sugars in the cabbage to transform the flavor. Because it is so simple, this would be a good substitute for rice if you were avoiding grains.

Sautéed Cabbage

1 small head white cabbage, including outer green leaves

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cut the cabbage in half and with the cut-side down, slice it as thinly as possible around the core, as though you were making coleslaw. Discard the core. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the cabbage, salt, and pepper and sauté uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the cabbage is tender and begins to brown. Season to taste and serve warm.

Remember... that December 19, 2019 will be our last harvest until January 9, 2020!! We at Wellspring want to wish you a wonderful Advent and Christmas season and a New Year rich in deep connections with God, His Creation and with the precious people in your lives. Thank you for your continued support of the many families in crisis served by our Wellspring counselor intern program through your Garden Subscriptions. We hope you will consider volunteering sometime next year! Call Cindi for opportunities at 209-607-1887.

Hot Sauce…

We are sending out some of our hot chili peppers this week. I have included here a favorite hot sauce recipe that I use each year. If you don’t want to make the sauce, I suggest leaving the peppers on your counter to dry and then using the dried peppers in recipes that call for red chili flakes. After they dry, just crumble to remove the seeds.

Hot Sauce (recipe by Hank Shaw)

6 garlic cloves, chopped

2/3 cup Thai chiles

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup water

1 cup cider vinegar

2 tablespoons sweet paprika

¼ teaspoon xanthan gum mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water

Put everything except the xanthan gum (if using) into a blender and puree for 1-2 minutes. You really want everything blitzed here, so if your blender heats up too much in 2 minutes, stop, let it cool, and continue. Pour the xanthan gum that's been mixed with the water into the blender, cover and buzz for another 30 seconds. Pour into a bowl or large jar and let this settle for 1 hour to allow all the trapped air you introduced into the sauce while blending to escape. If you skip this step your sauce will not hold together as well. Bottle and store in the fridge for up to 9 months.

Metaphors of Soil and Soul… by Ronda May Melendez

A glorious deluge of rain visited us over the last week. The garden has been drinking in the gift of water. This week during my date with the weeds, the beauty of the water beading their leaves caught my attention. I noted the impact of the extra water weight on their ability to stand up right. I pulled the weeds from around these beautiful vegetables and was encouraged by the state that they were in. I thought, “Wow…they have just had the dickens beaten out of them because of the rain and they are not shouting against the heavens for the pummeling they have received. They are not withering away to nothing out of the intensity of the pressure. They are not quivering in fear of what may come. They received the gift. And the gift included what seems, on the face of it, something that may cause trouble to them. Now, don’t get me wrong. If there is too much water, I understand that there will be a negative impact and our little plant friends will struggle. They will manifest stress, just as we humans do. However, given that they live in a dry and thirsty land, they are receiving, not repelling their gift.

It is interesting that rainwater is far more nutrient rich than the water that our plants are receiving from tap. Air is about 78% nitrogen, according to author Joshua Sisken and when it rains, some of the nitrogen comes to earth in its ammonium and nitrate forms, which allows the soil to absorb some of the nutrients better, giving them the healthy green glow we all want them to have. Do they just look healthier? No! They are healthier. They have absorbed more nutrients. They have been hydrated and they are thriving from it.

I ponder why we find ourselves so shaken by the “rains” that come our way in life. I don’t know about you, but there are times I find myself down right shaken. I quiver in fear of what might be next and how it may require me to move outside of my comfort zone in order to receive life-giving nutrients. I wonder if I, like our plant friends, would take the “pummeling” with a confident, quiet, spirit knowing that the rain is a gift from God; one that is bringing health to me. It is setting me free from the parched land that is sapping me of the vibrancy of life. I can cry out like the Psalmist, “I spread out my hands to You; My soul longs for You like a thirsty land (Psalm 143:6).”

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