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Winter is coming to Niagara County. The temperatures have been dropping and we have gotten some snow. With the abundance of local produce such as apples, squash, cabbage and root vegetables available, you can still serve fresh, local foods in December.

The Plentiful Partnership of Niagara “Glean Team” has been very busy this harvest season, gleaning 23,083 pounds or 470 bushels of local produce from farmers to donate to local food pantries. PPN is a program funded through the Creating Healthy Places grant by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County. 

The aim of PPN is to reduce food waste as well as reducing food insecurity. Gleaning is the collection of crops left over from a harvest for various reasons and putting them to good use. Recently, I saw bushels of carrots that had been gleaned. After a little research, I found two great ways to use carrots that are interesting, healthy and a little different. Remember that carrots are high in vitamin A, potassium and fiber.

Apple Carrot Soup

Makes eight servings.

1 pound pork (lean, cut into chunks)

4 apples (with skin, cored and quartered)

4 carrots (large, peeled and cut into chunks)

1 orange peel (dried, optional)

4 slices ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

20 cups water

In a large pot over high heat, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until soup reduces to about eight cups of liquid, about three to four hours. Skim fat from surface and serve.

Store leftover soup covered in refrigerator for up to three days.

Carrot Cookies

Makes 30 servings.

1/2 cup margarine (softened)

1 cup honey

1 cup carrot (grated, raw)

2 egg whites (well beaten)

2 cups flour (all purpose)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups oatmeal, quick-cooking (raw)

1 cup raisins

In a large bowl, cream together margarine and honey. Stir in carrots and egg whites.

Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, oatmeal and raisins. Gradually stir flour-oatmeal mixture into creamed mixture, just until all flour is mixed. Do not over-mix.

Drop mixture in teaspoons on greased baking sheet. Flatten slightly and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Both recipes are from www.whatscooking.fns.usda.gov.

Jennifer Grier works with Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work and Play. It is a five year grant awarded by the New York State Department of Health to Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County. The grant aims to prevent obesity, type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases among the people of Niagara County by making it easier to be physically active and to eat more healthy foods. CCE Niagara County provides equal program and employment opportunities.

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