Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and recognize all of the things in our lives that we are thankful for, regardless of the outcome. This article looks at ten organic foods that are easy to grow and fit into most holiday menu plans. The modern version of Thanksgiving may be different from the dinner that the pilgrims and Native Americans first shared, but there are common elements that we should embrace. Those elements are both ingredients, main dishes, and the bonds that we share while enjoying Thanksgiving dinner.
Sweet potatoes are fairly easy plants to grow. They grow well in containers and are a central ingredient or side dish in most thanksgiving dinner menus. As an ingredient, sweet potatoes can be added to biscuit recipes, bread recipes, or just cooked and consumed as they are. A traditional Thanksgiving dish that includes Sweet Potato is simple to bake the Sweet Potatoes with marsh mellows on top. This is an easy way to prepare a wholesome side dish and is a sneaky way of getting children to eat a vegetable.
Pumpkins are really easy to grow winter squash that do well in a summer garden. There are hundreds of different varieties of pumpkins that can be grown in your organic garden. One of the better known varieties of pumpkins is called Sugar Baby, and it makes a great pumpkin for baking. This is a small pumpkin that produces quite a few 2-5 pound pumpkins. A nice feature of pumpkin is that once cooked it can be frozen for later use. This means that a single Sugar Baby pumpkin plant can supply enough pumpkin to make pies for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.
Onions are another easy to grow organic garden favorite. Onion can be added to almost any recipe and can even be used as an aromatic alternative for those cooks who do not like to stuff their turkey. When uses as an alternative to stuffing, onions add a wonderful, flavor to turkey. When the Turkey is cooked the onions can be discarded. Onions are also a versatile vegetable that can be used year round.
Garlic is also an easy to grow organic garden plant. Organic garlic can be grown in the ground or in containers. Try adding minced garlic to traditional mashed potatoes and an old favorite becomes a new standard. A wonderful feature that garlic offers is that it can be stored and used all year long. Garlic goes great in roasts, soups, casseroles and even in bread.
Peas are easy to grow plants as well, and they do your garden a favor every time you grow them. They are natural soil amenders because they add nitrogen back into your gardens soil. For Thanksgiving, peas go well in salads, such as Pea salad. They can also be shucked and served as a side dish, or combined with beans to make an alternative to Three Bean Salad.
Green beans are a favorite organic vegetable. They are easy to grow, and can be sown in the ground or in containers. Green beans can be steamed lightly, eaten raw, or even pickled. Hot pickled Green Beans are not only a Thanksgiving food item they can be used all year long. Green beans go well in almost every conceivable dish that vegetables can be added. There are so many different varieties of Green Beans available that it might be best to try several different types each year. A favorite are the yard long beans which are delightful summer beans that can be used in stir-fry or just steamed.
Nothing provides as much amusement in the garden as digging potatoes. Potatoes are a staple food that has many uses in a kitchen. Whether you grow potatoes to make mashed potatoes, garlic potatoes, potatoes and rosemary, fried potatoes, french fried potatoes, or just simply baked potatoes, potatoes that are grown in your own garden will likely taste much better than those you buy at the store. Fresh vegetables, including potatoes, have high nutritional value and taste better because the natural sugars have not turned to starchy.
If you have not had the pleasure of cooking with fresh herbs, than you are in for a treat. Fresh herbs are an explosion of taste that add flavor and aroma to whatever dish they are added. Try baking a Thanksgiving turkey using your own home made poultry seasoning. The result is mouthwatering. Herbs are also a versatile set of easy to grow garden plants. Their uses in the kitchen are endless. Rosemary, for example, makes a great addition to many roasts, but perhaps the best use is in potatoes, or bread. Basil is also a garden favorite and can be used in almost any type of dish. The world would be a sadder place if it were not for Oregano. There are many other herbs that can be grown in an organic garden, which are not listed here. Dill and Fennel are two more herbs that should be considered, and best we not forget Sage.
Carrots are fun crop to grow. They can be difficult to grow until you get the hang of growing them. They like loose soil, but the trick to growing carrots is understanding their germination period. Most carrots germinate in about 21 days. That means making sure that the seeds do not dry out as they germinate. Carrots have a year round role in the kitchen, and thankfully they can be grown year round. There are many different types of carrots to choose from, but the standard orange carrot is one of the best. Children might enjoy eating rainbow carrots, which come in a variety of colors. Carrots also make great snacks and can be added to many dishes or simply steamed and served.
Celery and Celery Root are easy Fall/Winter plants to grow. They do not like the heat, which is why they are listed as Fall/Winter vegetable. Celery is very useful in the kitchen. For Thanksgiving, Celery can be added to stuffing or served as a snack. Celery is also a negative calorie food, which means that it burns more calories to eat it then are in the Celery. This makes it a perfect holiday snack.
The benefits of organic gardening increase as we learn how to use what we grow. Using organic vegetables is the perfect way to add flavor and nutrition to your Thanksgiving or holiday meal. Organic gardens also add value to your household. My 12 foot by 12 foot organic garden produces enough organic vegetables that to purchase those vegetables from a store would cost me over $700. It just makes sense to grow your own food, even if it is just in a few small containers. Happy Holidays from my table to your!