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Homegrown Thanksgiving

One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions is to make at least one dish with homegrown food from our garden. Near the end of summer, I planted purple Brussels sprouts in the hopes that they would be ready for Thanksgiving, but I got the seedlings into the ground a bit late and the sprouts are still teensy tiny. Oh well! We luckily have lots of greens and herbs to harvest for the meal.

Very small brussels sprouts on the stalk

I planted in arugula in late August and it is now the perfect size for a fresh salad. The leaves are about the size of my palm, very tender and peppery without being overpowering.

Garden Arugula Leaves

I am thinking about using the arugula as a base for a salad that is studded with candied hazelnuts, blue cheese and chunks of heirloom apple. But my mom doesn’t love blue cheese, and since she and my dad are our guests this year, I am also considering making a super simple salad of just arugula, shaved parmesan, toasted walnuts and a lemon vinaigrette.

Purple and grey kale

Incredibly the ‘Rainbow Lacinato’ kale that I planted in March is still going strong eight months later. This is a seriously amazing variety. It just keeps growing and growing and growing! The tall stalks recently tipped over, but were nearly five feet tall before they fell. Jon is a vegetarian, so I always like to make a special main dish for him to enjoy along with all of the vegetable based side dishes. Rather than serve stir fried or braised kale, which we eat on a weekly basis, I am going to make a savory tart stuffed with with roasted vegetables, narrow ribbons of kale, and gruyere cheese.

Freshly harvested walla walla sweet onions

It may have been a bad year for tomatoes, but it was a great summer for onions. We harvested tons of ‘Walla Walla Sweey’ onions in late summer and I set aside the biggest ones to use for Thanksgiving. They will find their way into our cornbread dressing, the tart mentioned above, and I’m sure other dishes as well.

In my Seattle garden I had a huge ‘Berggarten’ sage plant. I was very sorry to leave it when we moved because it was so beautiful and produced an endless supply of leaves that are perfect for cooking with. I planted a new ‘Berggarten’ sage in my Portland garden, but it is seriously unhappy in the spot I chose. The chickens dug it up on more than one occasion this summer and the soil doesn’t drain well. Even though the plant is pouting, there are still enough leaves to make Mark Bittman’s prosciutto wrapped sweet potatoes!

I am so excited to cook for Thanksgiving and share the meal with my parents and our good friends. I’m putting the finishing touches on the menu this week and am curious what will be on your table next week that comes from your garden?

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7 Responses to “Homegrown Thanksgiving”

  1. 1
    Pam Says:

    Thank you for these good ideas, and thank you for the great article on “Eggplant” in ORGANIC GARDENING. Really nice! Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. 2
    Lindsey Says:

    I will be using precious eggs from our haggard, molting hens (*sigh* – I can’t wait for this stage to be over), swiss chard and some chives to make a killer omelet on thanksgiving morning as a gear up for the gorge fest later in the day.

    We’re gonna start light, and work our way up.

    I think i’m gonna look into that kale you were talking about – I like how tall it gets and how long you can harvest from it!

  3. 3
    Sheila Says:

    Thanks Willi, great information! I planted the same purple Brussel Sprouts only as a summer crop and they bloomed before they formed much of a head, first time I’ve tried this one & I’m not sure what happened, they didn’t bolt?? I planted the green Franklin sprouts at the same time & they are huge! I am just waiting for the first frost to sweeten them up a bit. They will be on the Thanksgiving table for sure.
    Have a great holiday!

  4. 4
    Angela Says:

    In addition to herbs, we’ll have green beans from the garden for our Thanksgiving dinner (living in Phoenix means totally different seasons from everyone else, but green beans at Thanksgiving are a good thing!). We planted yellow wax, roma, and kentucky wonders this year, so we should have a nice mix.

  5. 5
    Sally Anne Says:

    I will also be doing kale as a side dish. Our Russian kale isn’t quite as tall as yours but it’s huge by my standards! I love your ideas. Inspires me to think outside the box. :)
    Sally Anne´s last [type] ..Almond Meal/Flour

  6. 6
    Robin Wyll Says:

    Our homegrown contributions to the Thanksgiving dinner are potatoes and pumpkin pie (from our heirloom Winter Luxury Pumpkins) plus the herbs for the turkey.
    Robin Wyll´s last [type] ..Cooking Tomato Puree

  7. 7
    Ned Ekberg Says:

    Hi, beautiful page but there is a issue whereby sometimes I am redirected to the base page when I look at other posts within this page.

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