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Winter Rainbow Table Fare

March 12, 2012

The latest nutrition advice is to eat your colors.  I agree.  The color advice is pretty easy to follow during the growing season, but during winter, if you want to eat local you have to do some garden planning.  Most of what we eat “fresh” in the winter are vegetables grown the previous summer.  Winter hardy or long storing crops are the secret.  Not hothouses, or summer colors shipped in from long distances.

Lacinato Rainbow kale.

The usual mantra as far as eating vegetables is usually “eat your greens!”  I can’t argue with that, but greens aren’t the end all of vegetables. The monotone diet gets a little old.  Just like the white diet… .

Melissa savoy cabbage.

If you’re going to try to grow your own food supply, it’s easiest to stick with the tried and true winter hardy staples that grow and keep in good shape with a minimum of storage or preservation techniques.  Each region has favorite vegetables that sometimes are unique to that area.

Red Cored Chantenay carrots in situ.

Sweet Meat winter squash.

Ruby Ball Red Cabbage.

Romanze potato.

All these vegetables keep with a minimum of work.  The cabbage and kale have held in the garden this winter, the carrots store well in the row with a little soil hilled on the rows, the potatoes are in the straw bale “root” cellar in the barn, and the squash after curing in the fall, keep well in cool, dry storage.

These are some of our colorful winter staples, what grows and keeps well in your garden and pantry?

12 Comments leave one →
  1. March 12, 2012 9:38 pm

    Do you have a post about how you made your straw bale root cellar? Sounds like a great idea!

    • March 12, 2012 9:56 pm

      Susan, this one came to mind,

      I doubt this would work in a barn in the frigid north, but where the winters are moderate it works great!

  2. March 12, 2012 10:00 pm

    Nita why don’t you keep the potatoes in ground like the carrots?

    • March 13, 2012 5:35 am

      Annette, three reasons in about the same order: the voles eat them like crazy, they rot easier, and potato volunteers really mess up my rotation since potatoes are really prone to disease. Since potatoes are a high calorie crop that we depend on, I don’t like to leave the harvest to chance.

  3. March 13, 2012 2:52 am

    Tasty looking pictures!

    I live in Atlantic Canada. We ate kale out of the garden until December when the snow covered it up. I’m hoping to find a way to eat it all winter long next year.

    The buttercup squash kept very well in our basement. So tasty!

    Unfortunately the potatoes went rotten very quickly in the basement. I’m hoping to figure out a better way to store them next winter.

  4. Barb in CA permalink
    March 13, 2012 6:13 am

    Silly question, but do you julienne by hand, or do you have some kind of apparatus? Those potatoes look perfect.

    • March 13, 2012 6:20 am

      Barb, LOL, by hand, I’ll let my quilting eye take the credit for being able to judge the size. I think closer inspection though would reveal they are actually pretty rustic 😉

  5. March 13, 2012 7:11 am


    I’m hoping to grow some more winter crops this year – for leaving crops in the ground (carrots and such), do they require a sandy soil? I’m on silty clay, with some ‘moderately’ well drained patches (although only the coarsest soils can drain as fast as the rains at times).

    Just wondering if you think it’s worth trying!

    Also, if you happen to know your soil type(s), the soil nerd side of me is curious….


    • March 13, 2012 8:23 am

      bonfallah, the short, blunt Nantes and Chantenay types do best for winter storage and heavy soils. My soil is silt loam, and very well drained. Bull Run Silt Loam is the type…

  6. March 13, 2012 3:04 pm

    Beautiful pictures! I would like to eat all of that

  7. Mom24boys permalink
    March 15, 2012 11:10 am

    50 years ago my mom would be planning dinner and say, “Hmmm, needs something orange or yellow.”
    She always told us the easiest way to get a balanced diet was to have a colorful plate of food. As well as nutrition, it encourages appetite and enjoyment of your meals. Though she wasn’t a gourmet cook or formally trained in dietary standards, she was wise about how the family table affected so much of each individual’s daily life. Meals should not just be a way to stave off hunger of our bellies. Good nutrition brings YEARS of better health and a shared meal feeds the soul, comforts the lonely, encourages the shy, grounds the flighty, adds punctuation to our days, trains for civility and courtesy, stimulates imagination, conversation and so much more.
    Entice with a delight for the eyes first, taste buds next and then the rest will follow.


  1. The Biggest Staple of Them All | Throwback at Trapper Creek

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