Spinach

Two traditions surround the American feast at the heart of Thanksgiving: an excessive amount of food and its subsequent leftovers. Some are easily consumed—who would turn down a slice of pie for breakfast? But others threaten to hang around in the fridge until even the dog turns up her nose.

Fortunately, many uses for holiday leftovers reach beyond microwaved reruns and turkey sandwiches. Leftover roasted vegetables are ideal for Roasted Squash Soup and cut your prep time to about 30 minutes. Extra pumpkin puree can be turned into quick bread. But some of my favorite post-holiday meals come from the most challenging leftovers: spinach and cranberries.
Learn to make Warm Spinach–Cranberry Salad and Potato–Mushroom–Spinach Curry

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Slow Cooker Fruit Butters

The garden I play in came with an established orchard—primarily apple trees. With little effort on our part, we always seem to end the growing season with far more boxes of apples than we need. After we’ve eaten our fill, I always store a box or two of whole, unblemished apples for eating out of hand. Then I make as much applesauce as my canning shelves can hold. By November, I’m salvaging the fruit in the remaining boxes to create apple butter.

Fruit butters capture all of the flavor of your chosen fruit. Often seen as finicky, they’re traditionally prone to burning and need endless stirring during their lengthy cooking time. I avoided them for years but then discovered a slow cooker variation. I fell for the hands-off, burnproof technique that let me dump a bunch of fruit into my Crock-Pot, leave it to cook for hours, and return to find a perfect blend ready for the canning kettle.
Learn to make Any-Fruit Butter and Slow Cooker Apple Butter

Preparing for Holidays

All last month, I was undecided about which recipes and ideas to share in November. I was traveling in several regions and climates, wearing everything from four layers of long johns and raingear to tank tops and summer dresses. And meals featured the fresh strawberries I associate with spring, the Dungeness crab of fall and winter, and everything between.

Shortly after I returned home to Montana, Mother Nature decided the blog’s November theme for me. After just a couple of days in my own kitchen, snow began to fall and winter was suddenly upon us. Instead of digging the final carrots and potatoes and cleaning up garden beds, I was curled up by the woodstove, reading food books and thinking about the coming holiday season. For me, that means planning to gather with friends and family, making lists of gifts to create, and of course, deciding what we’ll eat.
Read more about preparing for holiday gatherings and meals

Cabbage

I’ve been writing about enjoying and preserving green tomatoes this month, but they aren’t the only vegetables pulled from the garden as the season winds down. From the hoop house, I’m harvesting the last of the peppers. From the main garden, I’m snagging sweet carrots, a late seeding of cilantro, and the last cabbage.

After years of losing brassica crops to moths, I recently started growing cabbage again. The key is a small hoop frame straddling the bed, with ultrafine mesh netting clipped in place over the hoops and enclosed ends. Light and water can get in, but the plants stay cool and free of cabbage worms. It also means I’ve returned to making cabbage salad. The recipe I remember needed upgrades, primarily because it relied on instant noodles for crunch. I can’t recall what my mom served with the salad, but these days I’m hooked on a shrimp pairing.
Learn to make Asian Cabbage Salad and Wasabi-Marinated Shrimp