November Thoughts

A holiday wreath made from dried herbs

The holidays approach and real winter gives time to reflect and enjoy the lovely Thanksgiving holiday.

(This article was first published in The Gateway Gardener November 2009 issue.)

By Joyce Driemeyer

Having lived in a part of the world for a brief period (S.E.Asia),where there was not much visible change of seasons but only hot and hotter, I have always appreciated our wonderful seasonal changes. The vegetative changes into fall are often breathtakingly beautiful.

Am I sad to see the garden shut down? Not at all! The holidays approach and real winter gives time to reflect and enjoy the lovely Thanksgiving holiday. No presents to give, only our presence with joy at  gatherings with family and/or friends.

Herbs like sage and thyme can flavor our birds and dressings; use tarragon for green beans, rosemary and chives for white potatoes, spices like nutmeg and cinnamon for sweet potatoes.

Pumpkins on hand? Instead of pumpkin pie make pumpkin soup.

It’s even easier to make with canned pumpkin:

In pot melt 1Tbs. unsalted butter, add 1 small copped onion, saute until translucent, add 1 small peeled and chopped potato; add 2 cans or 28 oz. of low salt/no fat chicken broth. Heat until potato is tender. Puree all in a blender. Return to pot, add 1 can pumpkin, stir in 1/2 cup fresh orange juice or juice from 1 whole orange, 1tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. ground ginger, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg. Heat all, do not allow to boil. Serve in mugs  with 1 Tbs. Half and Half if you wish. Can be made ahead and reheated to serve.

Ever wonder what to do with seeds from a pumpkin? Kids can help with this: remove fiber from seeds, do not wash. Mix lightly with cooking oil such as canola, spread on cookie sheet and roast about 15 min. in 350 degree F oven. Can season with salt and use as snack or to top a salad.

In the garden: remove all weeds before freeze. Do not apply mulch to beds until ground is well frozen.

Joyce Driemeyer is a Missouri Botanical Garden volunteer and retired garden designer. She is also a past board member of the Herb Society of America and a current board member of the St. Louis Herb Society.