Posted by: Kath Usitalo | October 12, 2012

Winter’s Coming—Time To Squirrel Away The Rutabaga

Squirrel painted by an artist named Tom, Park Trades Center, Kalamazoo

The elderly gent ahead of me at the Kroger checkout put a sack of rutabagas on the conveyor. There were at least six or eight of the bagas in his bag. He wasn’t cooking for a crowd. He was stocking up on the root veggies to prep and freeze them, to be rutabaga-ready for the long, cold winter ahead.

He’d made his weather prediction by watching the squirrels (the critters were outside, not inside the market). He said that the squirrels are wearing thick fur coats this fall, which means we’ll have a rough winter. Does his weather prognostication jibe with national weather forecasts?

Predictions for the Great Lakes region vary among the experts who, presumably, consult sources other than the squirrels. Cirrus Weather sees below average temperatures and about average snowfall. Accuweather puts the temps above normal and snowfall below normal.  The Farmers’ Almanac says it will be “Cold & Snowy.”

My Kroger encounter of the turnip kind got me thinking about stocking up on the veggies, and I checked-in with the Advanced Rutabaga Studies Institute (ARSI) for tips on freezing the waxy-covered orbs. I first learned about ARSI in 2011, the International Year of the Rutabaga. (Of course, ARSI designates every year the International Year of the Rutabaga.)

I didn’t find the kitchen tip, but was reminded of the annual International Rutabaga Curling Championship.

The Rutabaga Curl was cooked up among vendors at the Farmers’ Market in Ithaca, New York, on the last market day of the season in December 1996. The next competition is set for December 22, 2012.

Everyone is welcome to participate—start practicing your sliding, and bulk up by eating your bagas. Or just show up that day to hear the Rutabaga Chorus sing the praises of the veggie.

As for the squirrels, I’ve been too busy trying not to hit them as they run in front of the vehicle to have noticed the weight of their furs. That’s on my to do list for the weekend.

That and, if the price is right, stocking up on rutabaga to freeze.

Rutabaga. More than just another veggie.

Related Links:

Recipe File: In the Tank for Rutabaga

Rooting For Rutabaga

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