The Resilient Larder

Peanuts aka groundnuts aka goobers aka pindars are a bit of a botanical anomaly. Many people know they’re part of the legume family rather than a true nut, meaning during Thanksgiving dinner they’d be sitting with black-eyed peas and garbanzo beans.
What, pray tell, is applesauce? In vogue since Medieval times (and—sidenote—it’s also a synonym for malarkey/fiddlesticks/poppycock), is it a condiment? A dessert in and of itself? A literal sauce for meats and poultry? For us it’s all of the above, as well as a remarkable ingredient in cakes.
It’s currently oat-sowing time on the farm and we’re mulling over their richness—in history, nutrition, and agriculture. Bafflingly, oats for thousands of years were referred to as diseased wheat and considered a pesky weed of more desirable cereals, fit only for topical skin treatments and animal fodder.
Springtime is a study in fertile greens, especially of the microgreen variety, which are immature seedlings dense in vitamins, lutein, and beta-carotene (evidently manifold more than their fully grown versions). One of the most efficient ways to optimize their nutritional mileage is microgreens pesto.
Behold the tiny but mighty seed. So much promise lies inside, safeguarded by a sturdy exterior and lying in wait for Mother Earth to issue the summons. Seeds have become symbolic of springtime—the advent of working the earth again and sowing seeds within, stitching an invisible quilt that will later spring forth to provide us with nourishment.
Also called rose haws, these reddish-orange orbs that grow abundantly here in midcoast Maine are actually the fruit of the rose plant. Tart, spicy, and teeming with vitamin C, they have long been an important part of the indigenous North American diet and were also the cat’s meow of WWII-era Britain, when nutrient-rich rose hip syrup replaced hard-to-come-by citrus fruits.

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