A stem of Brussels sprouts and small kohlrabi are fresh from the garden and ready to be prepared.
A stem of Brussels sprouts and small kohlrabi are fresh from the garden and ready to be prepared.

Today it was sunny and in the 40s, but tonight the forecast is down to the teens. It seemed like the right time for a final harvest of Brussels sprouts.

Initially, I pick individual sprouts off the lower stalks as they reach an edible size during late summer or early fall. The stalks continue growing into the late fall season, but at some point before the plant freezes solid, it's time to harvest the whole stalk.

So I go out and chop the stalk off above where I've been snapping the sprouts off. Then I turn it upside down and use a knife to chop downward around the center stalk and chop off the leaves. If the top portion lacks tiny sprouts, I also chop it off too.

Right now, two large containers of stems with stalks are in my garage, but soon I will be snapping the sprouts off and discarding the stems. I'm planning for a batch or two of pickled Brussels sprouts and freezing a few bags of what's left over.

The first time I blanched sprouts before freezing them, I couldn't find a good resource telling how long they needed to be cooked in boiling water. Later, I discovered the University of Minnesota Extension's fact sheet on blanching vegetables online.

The blanching time depends on how large the sprouts are. Most of mine fit the small head category and need to be blanched for three minutes. Medium-sized ones require four minutes and large heads should be blanched for five minutes. 

Brussels sprouts are my favorite fall vegetable. But I also welcome squash season. I love creamy squash soup and roasted slices of acorn squash.

As the gardening season ends, final harvests include kohlrabi too. Both Brussels sprouts and cubes of kohlrabi or rutabagas can be roasted and served together. When harvesting kohlrabi from the garden, one can reserve the leaves growing from the center of the plant and add them to the roasted vegetable mix.

It is hard to believe summer is gone and Thanksgiving is nearly here.

I had a few panicky days when I finally had to move my herb plants indoors.

My husband has been working on his remodeling project at the cabin throughout the summer and now, into the fall. He's been enjoying each step in the process as he has researched them online or in books.

Now that he's retired, he has been able to spend longer periods of time working on fun projects at the lake. Because I have things to do at home, I can't always be there with him.

But I go up and admire what he's accomplished and we talk each night on the phone when we're in separate places.

Last weekend we were there together, but I took my own projects along. I brought the last tiny beets of the season to create beet pickles. Tiny onions became pickles and red onion relish.

It's a lot easier to focus on canning while I'm at the cabin. 

One project that took Dale longer to finish than he anticipated, was a retaining wall along the new patio. But when it was done, it was totally awesome. Now, it's my turn to plant hostas along the top. But winter has come to the north country and I will be waiting till next spring to do my planting.

For the colder months, a plastic curtain covers the eight-foot wide opening to the new room in our addition. Dale will heat the space when he wires the electrical outlets and fixtures.

While he's back home, I cook more and try out all sorts of concoctions using garden produce. He likes thinking he's eating healthy. However, even without my cooking, he's about the healthiest eater one can imagine.

On a recent trip to the grocery store, I found pomegranates, so I know that Christmas is just around the corner. One cannot find those exotic fruits on the shelves year around. That's what makes them extra special.

It's easier to peel one to reveal the seeds by scoring the skin lengthwise around the fruit, then gently lifting out a section at a time. Discard the white dividing flesh and drop the seeds (arils) into a bowl. 

Roasted Kohlrabi and Brussels Sprouts

Several small or one large kohlrabi (1 1/2 cups prepared cubes)

1 pint Brussels sprouts

3 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

Optional: 1 cup kohlrabi greens chopped into inch-wide squares

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1/4 cup pomegranate arils

To prepare small kohlrabi — leave skin on, trim off leaf ends, cut in half through center, then into pie-shapes a half-inch wide. For large kohlrabi, peel off skin, cut into half-inch wide slices then cut into half-inch cubes.

Trim ends from Brussels sprouts. Leave tiny sprouts whole, cut medium size ones in half or large sprouts into quarters. Peel garlic and cut into slivers.

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a roasting pan with parchment paper for easy clean-up. Arrange kohlrabi cubes, Brussels sprouts and garlic slivers on paper. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt, rosemary leaves and pepper. Toss together using fingers to cover vegetables with oil and mix in spices.

Roast about 25 minutes, removing from oven periodically to turn vegetables as they brown. If adding kohlrabi greens, mix in leaves that are coated with olive oil and salt after about 15 minutes. Toss to mix leaves with other ingredients, then return to oven.

Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and maple syrup. Mix well. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds to garnish.