It’s felt like a long winter around here, I won’t deny it. The last month, especially, has felt endlessly full of work and stress and too much grey. So I used my Saturday afternoon to appreciate the much-needed pleasures of napping on the couch. When I got up and shuffled outside to check out the melting snow, I found little surprises popping up all over the place.
Crocuses, tulips, daffodils. They’re all pushing their way up through last year’s leaves and debris in the patches where the snow has melted. I love this with my entire winter-chilled heart. There is still snow in these flower beds, did I mention that? Most of the yard and almost the entire field behind our house is still snow covered. But I suppose these sturdy bulbs are just as ready for spring as I am.
Venturing a little optimism, I went to check out the vegetable garden. I really can’t believe this… Spinach, still green underneath the shrinking patches of snow. We always overwinter some spinach and this gives us fresh greens in May, much earlier than if we’d planted in the spring. These guys are a ways away from being ready to eat, but finding them today helped me shed the first icy layer of winter.
But what I did not expect was the neat row of homely looking carrot tops popping out of the soil. I pulled four fat and sweet carrots and sat back on my heels and gaped, mouth open, in surprise (I suspect this wasn’t me at my most graceful). I definitely do not remember leaving these in the ground. And I certainly did not expect to find anything edible in the garden so early.
It felt a little like the Dar Williams song, February. “You stopped and pointed and you said, ‘That’s a crocus.’ And I said, ‘What’s a crocus?’ And you said, ‘It’s a flower.’ I tried to remember, but I said, ‘What’s a flower?’” Sometimes it takes a little while to wake up from winter.
I acknowledge that not every one has lovely golden carrots popping out of garden beds to help them shake off the cold. That’s okay. You’ve probably got other signs of spring lurking outside your door. But just in case you are likewise graced with carrots, I give you a recipe, my personal ode to spring on a Saturday afternoon.
Gingered Carrots with Blood Orange Glaze
We keep our ginger in the freezer. This prevents it from being forgotten and turning into an unpleasant surprise in the back of the fridge. I sliced thin peels of ginger off the frozen root for this recipe. Grating on a microplane also works well. I might use a little less ginger if you grate it.
4 fat, sweet carrots, sliced into coins
1 generous tsp. shaved ginger
juice of 1/2 blood orange
1 tsp. brown sugar
3/4 c. water
Combine all ingredients into a small saucepan. Simmer over medium-high heat until most of the liquid has evaporated- this shouldn’t take more than five minutes or so. Serve with a sprinkle of coarse kosher salt.