Parsnips and corn

Fall was always a busy time on the farm.  Getting the harvest into the freezer or canned for the winter and like an old horse when the time is right the call to act is still strong.  Here you can get fresh vegetable all year round so it is not always best to freeze or can it, but there are some things still best frozen and one of these is corn.  My father loved the farm and taught me many thing.  He taught me how to raise and cook corn.  He said, ” Plant the corn on the side of the hill  That way it gets good drainage and it is quickest for harvesting. To harvest and cook corn:  first get the water in a large kettle and turn it on.  Go up the hill to the corn and pick as much as you want for dinner.  Don’t dilly dally about it, as you run back down the hill husk the corn so it is ready to drop in the pot as soon as you get to the bottom of the hill.  Boil for 4 to 5 minutes NO MORE.  Remove to the table, take a stick of butter, rub all sides of the ear with the butter, add a little salt and enjoy.  This should always be the first course, the rest of the meal can wait while you enjoy the fresh corn.”  Well here I can’t plant my own corn but right now the Florida corn is in and they do get it to the market quickly.  It is brought in refrigerated trucks right from the fields and kept in the coolers here so if you get it by the bushel it is still nice and cool and fresh.  Monday we got a bushel in the morning and by noon it was all cut off the cob and in the freezer.  We do not blanch it!  Just cut it from the cob and put it into quart packages and freeze.  When we want to eat it I take about half of the quart package and put it into my small crockpot warmers, add a little salt and a small pat of butter, let it warm up for 2 hours and it is as good and sweet as it is that first noon right on the cob.  We had it on the cob the first day and all the rest is in the freezer.

The other vegetable that is just as good frozen as it is fresh is parsnips.  They don’t grow here in Florida as they need a good hard frost or two in order to be sweet so we get our parsnips from Michigan.  If I buy them by the pound they are $1.99 and pound.  I get the whole 20 pound bag for $24.  We got a bag of parsnips yesterday and they are just beautiful.  I like them as big as I can get.  The bigger the better.  Like carrots if they grow fast they are never woody or tough but they do need enough water and fertilizer to grow fast.  When we were in  Peterborough and had a small farm we had parsnips that weighed over a pound a piece and were so nice and sweet.  We used a crow bar to plant them as the soil in New Hampshire is very rocky and anything in the way of a parsnip will stunt the growth.  So to plant a parsnip, use a crowbar to make a deep hole and by rotating it round and round you can make a big hole the size of the parsnip you want to grow.  Take nice rock free soil and mix it with fertilizer Not chemical as that burns, and fill the hole, water to settle the soil and add more soil if needed, then put 2 or 3 seeds in the top, cover lightly with soil and wait for them to germinate.  It takes some time for that to happen, a week or two but it is worth the wait.  If all three germinate let them get to be about two inches high and transplant all but one.  Don’t try to grown more than one to a hole as there isn’t room. Parsnips are avid eaters so fertilize about every 3 to 4 weeks until after you have had at least two good hard frosts. (We had a chicken farm just down the street from us so we used chicken manure to feed our plants and they loved it was long as we didn’t put it on hot.  Get it in the fall and let it age over the winter. )  Then dig up what you want to eat and enjoy the best tasting parsnips you will every eat.  These can be left in the ground all winter and dug up when ever you wish to eat some.  The tops die off and you need to top them with lots of mulch so the ground does’t freeze if you wish to harvest some in the winter.  We have left them in and let the freeze and then harvested them in the spring and that works fine too.  You get a fresh vegetable early in the spring that way but do take them out of the ground as soon as the ground throaws so they don’t start to grow or they just get soft and go to seed.

Anyway, we have a crisper draw full of parsnips to eat fresh this next month, a few to give to Patty, our daughter,  and lots of bags of sliced parsnips in the freezer.  I peel my parsnips, cut them in half and slice them into two to four slices depending on the size.  Then lay them out on cooky sheets and freeze for a few hours before putting them into freezer bags and then into a cloth bag labeled parsnips so I can get them when I want a meal of them.   When it want to eat any of these I just take out as many slices as I want, boil them for about 15 to 20 minutes or until fork tender, then put them in a fry pan with butter and fry until golden brown.  My grand mother taught me how to cook parsnips and I have never found a way I liked as well.  I do use them in beef stew or stewed chicken  or any other place you would put a carrot since I can’t eat carrots.

I still can spaghetti sauce I make with the fresh tomatoes and I can jelly I make from the strawberries in season but that is all I preserve now, just too much good fresh vegetables here to do otherwise.  Time now to get back to my crocheting,  I am working on two dolls with all their outfits for my two great grand daughters, Dyhana and Gina.  They will be here together some time in Jan or Feb.  Dyhana lives in CA and Gina in Florida so they don’t get together very often and both look forward to the visit.  Gina will help me decide on the cloths for the dolls.  Have a good day.

About Carol (Ouma) Petts

I am a retired teacher. I have taught all levels from kindergarten through college and have been retired now for over 20 years. The last ten years we have lived on a farm and lived off the land, growing our own food and canning for our extended family. Now we have sold the farm and are moving to Florida to truly retire. I guess I have always had a short attention span as this is our 11th move. We have moved from a small farm in New Hampshire, to more city type living, small business adventures, focusing more on traveling, Florida living, Georgia, and Tennessee farming and now back to Florida. My blog is a way to keep my children up to date on what I am doing and letting them know I am still alive and well. My children are spread across the country from New England to Florida, Nova Scotia to New Mexico and CA and several places between, They let me know what they are up to by commenting on my blog but they are so busy with their own lives most times I have to assume " no news is good news". Now I are starting on a new adventure so will try to give daily updates until we get settled into a routine. Then I know even if I am getting older and should settle down I will start looking for some new and exciting adventure to start. Welcome aboard. Norman died Oct 30, 2017 so I am continuing the journey alone with the aid of my children, grand children and great grand children. At present I am living with my daughter and we are 7 in one house and cover four generations. We range in age from 7 to 85 and are finding common ground, we are living proof that multi generations can live and function in a three bedroom house if they really want to. Soon my grandson will have his house built next door so we all will have a room of their own except for the seven year old twins who by choice will share a room.
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