The wind blew strongly this week and as I roused today to morning temperatures in the teens, it is clear now what it blew in. cold has arrived, a true killing frost, a breathtaking harvest morning. Of course, the heat loving plants hate a day like this, the signs of winter’s onset are everywhere, the sole green survivors our cool weather crops. I love this moment, it is a sign of a respite to come, for the earth and the family. For now though, we worked hard on these chilly mornings. We have a root cellar to build and with true winter looming we hope to get as much done as we can in the coming days. Once we have frost every night, it makes it a challenge to work with concrete and mortar as it can’t drop below freezing as these cure. So, we dug and we dug. With pick ax and hoe and spade and shovel, we cleared out the site for our cellar. Let me pause to let you know we have gotten by all these years without such a place for our storage crops. Over the years our garlic and squash and potatoes and onions and jars of all types have lined the corners of our homes, slid beneath our beds, you name it, we have stowed a butternut away there. With the completion of our second high tunnel this year, building this root cellar would place us right where we want to be in our overall farm development. With the ability to raise and deliver high quality food year round, hill and hollow csa is getting so close to being all that we envisioned it to be so many years ago. Before you get too jubilant, we still have thousands of pounds of concrete block to lay and plenty more of the earth to move, but optimistic I am indeed! Other than that I have found myself playing with ginger and having great fun. Candied ginger, pickled ginger, and cup after cup of ginger tea. I hope you are all enjoying this new crop as much as I am! I believe, right now anyway, that ginger might just go with anything. Enjoy!
From David Lebovitz
You don’t need a candy thermometer to make this.
Simply keep an eye on the pot and when the liquid is the consistency of thin honey,
it’s done and ready to go.
1 pound fresh ginger, peeled
4 cups sugar, plus additional sugar for coating the ginger slices
4 cups water
pinch of salt
Slice the ginger as thinly as possible. It can’t be too thin, so use a sharp knife or mandoline, Put the ginger slices in a nonreactive pot, add enough water to cover the ginger, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let ginger simmer for ten minutes. Drain, and repeat, simmering the ginger slices one more time.
Mix the sugar and 4 cups water in the pot, along with a pinch of salt and the ginger slices, and cook until the temperature reaches 225F. Remove from heat and let stand for at least an hour, although I often let it sit overnight. Or if you want to coat the slices with sugar, drain very well while the ginger is hot, so the syrup will drain away better. Store ginger slices in its syrup, or toss the drained slices in granulated sugar. Shake off excess sugar, and spread the ginger slices on a cooling rack overnight, until they’re somewhat dry. The sugar can be reused in a batter or ice cream base, or for another purpose. Storage: The ginger, packed in its syrup, can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one year. If tossed in sugar, the pieces can be stored at room temperature for a few months.
I followed this basic recipe, although I made a half batch as I had used the rest of the ginger in the house for a batch pickled ginger. I let mine cool for 3 hours and then tossed with sugar to coat. The ginger infused simple syrup has been used to sweeten our morning tea (or warmed milk for the kids). We have thought of thousands of other uses for the delightful syrup. This could not have been easier, try it!
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup minced crystallized ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1/4 cup light (mild-flavored) molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh peeled ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/3 cup (about) sugar
Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, crystallized ginger, baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until creamy and light, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in both brown sugars. Beat on medium-high speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add egg, molasses, fresh ginger, ground ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Beat to blend. Add flour mixture in 2 additions, beating on low speed just to blend between additions.
Place 1/3 cup sugar in small bowl. Measure 1 tablespoon dough. Roll into ball between palms of hands, then roll in sugar in bowl to coat; place on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining cookie dough, spacing cookies 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart.
Bake cookies until surfaces crack and cookies are firm around edges but still slightly soft in center, about 15 minutes. Cool completely on sheets on rack.
Fall week 6 in your basket: