Autumn Me This!

November 9, 2008 at 4:00 AM (Inedible pleasures, ingredient processing and storage)


    Well folks, the killing frost that ends the growing season in the Green Bay area will come this night- near dawn (November 9th); last year, it was October 27th/28th- 12 days later this year… My hibiscus, lime sapling and bay laurel have been brought indoors and placed in a sunny window; they seem happy: red blossoms are appearing on the hibiscus now, and, two days later, falling. Last week the corms of my little taro family were gently pulled from the cooling soil and placed in the basement to hibernate. There is a chance of snow tonight, but such early snowfalls tend not to linger on the ground long, and the last trees to show their colours- like these maples lining the street- are in their transient glory…


    Such is autumn! Isn’t the mould of oak-leaves at the top pretty?! Though some become sad to see the greens of summer fade, I am, in fact, quite content. In a grand effort this past season, I attempted to “eat local” as much as possible, which meant that much of the summer’s bounty fetched from the farmers’ markets- or the few things that I’d grown myself- was in need of preserving for the coming winter and spring. And I totally avoided using the freezer! Instead, I turned to home-canning for some things (tomatoes and a few “immersed” pickles; I detest canned vegetables for those interested), drying, and spent the remainder of my efforts on what some may call “ambient” preserves: those that will keep at room temperature without a vacuum seal. Which translates into my tapping into the very knowledgeable database of Indian pickling. If I was astounded a year ago at the variety, I am now nothing short of flabbergasted- and that might be a gross understatement.

And I’m very very tired.

But I’m not done yet: I cannot count how many limes I’ve squeezed- and thus had many, many peels that I couldn’t bear to toss away (good antioxidants you know!)- and so… I froze them until the bags became a nuisance and made large batches of yet more pickles by combining the lime peels with a juicier citrus- like oranges. And one last slew of them remains to be dealt with! Plus a bag of frozen amla… but they can both wait until I catch up on a few more things. (Chana ka achaar? Leave me be- maybe later)

One of those things is a chain of riddling that our sweet friend Manisha started. I was lucky enough to guess the correct answer of her name-the-subject-of-this-photo riddle, and the prize is that I now pass another riddle to all of you! Aren’t you lucky?! 😀

Anita was lucky too! Aren’t we a brilliant bunch… 😉

The rules of supplying the correct answer to Riddle Me This (ie: winning) are simple and few: [coughs]

  1. find something stranger than strange and,
  2. post it on your blog within the next two weeks (or so…).
  3. The quiz should remain open for at least 1 day and at the most 2 days.
  4. The person who guesses it correctly gets the torch and is the next host for Riddle Me This.
  5. If the person who guesses correctly is the previous host of the present host, then that person will get to pick someone to pass the buck to from all those who made a guess.
  6. And so on.
  7. Please use this fabulous logo, designed by you-know-who:
  8. and link back to the host who passed the baton on to you (that’d be me!).
  9. Please do your best to keep this alive. Just think of how much fun it will be! (It’s possible.) 🙂

Can any of you correctly identify these?


This episode of Riddle Me This (RMT) has now concluded; Anita of A Mad Tea Party has taken the trophy home once again by correctly identifying these as hickory nuts. Hopefully someday Manisha herself will be able to conquer the monster she herself has created. Good luck! Peace and Happiness to all, and to all a good night.



  1. Meera said,


    No, but you sure are on the right track! 🙂

  2. Anita said,

    Have you done us proud, Pel?

    Are these the dried seeds of jarul (Pride of India)?

    That’s a very good guess! My, I was amazed at the similarity of the fruit! But lagerstroemia speciosa– AKA jarul- it is not.

  3. Manisha said,

    Hmmm! This looks like the giant crape myrtle. Your fruit seems a tad darker and more grey than the brown ones I have ‘seen.’ Of course, I blame EON. Just in case, other people think otherwise. 😀

    That eye of hers is naturally “right on” in colour, but unfortunately, yours is not: I have no problem going knock-knock (in exchange for the tic-tocs) on your head and pointing out that the dried fruit of the giant crape myrtle have 6 sections, whereas these have four… and besides, Anita already said that- such a nut! 😉

  4. Anita said,

    But it is too round to be a pecan…
    This is hard!

    Ooooh! Same genus…so very warm you are!

  5. Anita said,

    I think I got it – these are hickory nuts!

    Right you are! Congratulations! I am amazed, actually, that you figured it out…wasn’t sure if anyone would! Specifically, these are the nuts of the shagbark hickory. I hope you have a few more oddities to riddle us with? 😉

  6. Manisha said,

    Yes, Pel, Anita is such a nut!

    Now she thinks it’s a pee-can. Since you say it cannot be the Giant crape myrtle, I must open my next card and say that it is none other than Annamocarya sinensis.

    Oh….so close! It once was included in the carya genus, but now has its own…in the family of Juglandaceae. (I included the links for other readers (when the flock returns) might they have interest). Nice try!

  7. Manisha said,

    I read that as Jugalbandaceae. I need my eyes and head checked.

    Ummmm. You know you are leaving that one wide open for discussion… 🙂 But yeah…me too- quite similar words; you do the necessary etymological research.

  8. Manisha said,

    Oh and she thinks she won’t have to do it because she already has. Uh uh. The rules are previous host who passed the baton on to you – not just any old previous host or a previous host from another lineage of RMT. Uh uh.

    And if it was not clear before, now it is. So there.

    Exactly… I didn’t even question it! I’m sure she has a few more tricks up her sleeve, but as for me…even if I can correctly guess it I’ll be holding off. In fact, if I don’t make a guess on her next RMT you may assume that I know the answer. 😀

  9. Anita said,

    Yay! Did take considerable research though…
    Hey – I did think I was going to get to chose the next victim, I mean, host…

    Not fair Pel, I’ll try to confound you – but you have to guess!

    To rephrase my earlier exclamation of suprise: I am impressed that someone living in Delhi who has likely never seen this tree or its nuts was able to identify it- and so quickly! Most citizens of Green Bay would have no idea- some of the older folks, yes…but my mother’s age (62) on down? Forget it. Too tied to the supermarkets; I was just asked by a young checker of about 25 the other day, “What is this?” Uh…that’s ginger.

    Me? Guess? We’ll see… 😀

  10. Manisha said,

    People in the midwest do not know what ginger is. Then again you need to use the incorrect term “ginger root” for them to understand. Because ginger by itself is so confusing, you know? I experienced this at every non-ethnic grocery store that I went to in Chicagoland – mainly the outer ‘burbs.

    And you can guess with abandon, as long as one other person guesses. You are the previous host so if your guess is correct then you can chose the next ‘bakra’.

    So…what else you got hidden in your pantry, Anita?

    When I was a child, only the dried, powdered ginger was known to people around me. It was generally brought out once or twice a year: always for pumpkin pie, and then maybe that occasional batch of ginger-bread or ginger snaps near Christmas-time. It wasn’t until the early 80’s when the large supermarkets moved in (and killed off all of the little ones that dotted the neighborhoods) that many people here learned of such a thing! And then came the “stir-fry” madness….which continues actually- with or without ginger and often involving those packets of instant Chinese-ish sauces and a healthy dose of Minute Rice (do say you’ve been spared these meals?). But I already knew, of course (from my reading), some of the uses of fresh ginger… and began putting it to good use right away. 😉 I don’t think I’ve been without- for long- since then, as I am certain that I’m an Asian woman (a very pretty one) trapped in a western gay man’s body. 😀

  11. Sheetal said,

    I for one would have never guessed the hickory nuts! Congrats Anita.

    Wonderfully autumnal Pel … truly beautiful photos!

    “Nuts find nuts”…so they say (or hopefully will soon). Thanks Sheetal.

  12. Manisha said,

    “very pretty one”

    But of course! 🙂

  13. neroli said,

    Happy new year, dear Pel!

    Look- what rare bird has flown to my hedge! So nice to see you, and may you be well!

  14. My Taste Heaven said,

    oh~look at those maple leaves. they are gorgeous. i remember collecting them when i was a kid but they always ended up in pieces!!!

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