We've cozied up to the fireplace. Outside, the temperature is eight degrees F and dropping. Tonight, the thermometer is supposed to drop below zero. With yesterday's snow came a blast of frigid air that crystallized the landscape. Beneath the white blanket, carrots are still in my garden. They're nestled under fall leaves with small dirt mounds buttressing the ends of the row. When the weather breaks and the snow melts, I'll be able to dig a few more for soups and stews.
My carrots are not destined for summer salads. I rarely pull any before October. They're always the last crop to be pulled from my garden and a steady reminder of recent harvest season and the not-too-distant-future planting season.
A couple weeks ago, I pulled carrots for chile verde con carne, using some of the chile verde sauce I froze into cubes earlier in the fall. Here's what the crop looked like mid-November. With fall leaves mulching the row, the carrots are barely recognizable.
But clear away the debris and you find gorgeous orange roots.
Fresh from the garden, my mid-November carrot harvest.
Orange beauties cleaned, peeled and diced, ready for the chile verde con carne.
After I sow carrot seeds each spring, I let the plants grow haphazardly. I don't bother thinning seedlings. At harvest, I pull plenty of full-grown, plump carrots with just a few misshapen or stunted. Thus, I hardly think the thinning is worth the effort. Every so often, I pull out surprises like these two intertwined plants, which I must admit were a little more challenging to peel and slice than the straight versions.
Now that must be carrot love.