Let it grow: Fall tree color reaches spectacular peak

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 7, 2006

I believe we&8217;ve finally reached the peak of tree color in our region.

The reds of the sycamores and southern red maples, cherries, dogwoods and crape myrtles are fantastic! The yellow-golden colors of the walnuts, hickories, poplars and other maples make the reds show up even more pronounced. The greens of the oaks, magnolias and pine trees all help to complete nature&8217;s fall palate.

All of this helps me tolerate the cooler temperatures a little better.

Lately, I&8217;ve been collecting tree seeds. Right now is the perfect time to collect acorns. The trees are dropping these seeds so fast that the deer and chipmunks can&8217;t even keep up with them. Last weekend, I went down to Selma and collected about twenty pounds of live oak acorns. Yesterday, I went to Blount County and collected the same amount in post oak acorns and willow oak ones too. I have large overcup and shumard oak trees in my backyard that are dropping seeds like crazy!

I have placed the acorns in marked paper bags and will leave them in the refrigerator until the end of February to stratify for spring planting.

After they germinate next year, I&8217;ll share the trees with friends.

Now it&8217;s time for the Thanksgiving recipe of the week.

Let&8217;s start with a dipping sauce for small fried foods.

First, peel and dice four large ripe mangos and make a slit in two large jalape&110;o peppers (just a slit in one side of the pepper is enough because you don&8217;t want the seeds to escape into the mixture). Place them in a sauce pot with two cups water. Be sure to add all of the mango juice that may have come out during slicing and also add the mango pits. Bring to a boil and reduce. After reduction, strain the liquid and return to the pot. Discard the mango pits and save the pulp for an ice cream topping (it&8217;s really great on vanilla or peach). In the pot of reduced liquid, add two cups of Golden Eagle Table Syrup and reheat to a light simmer making sure that all of the liquids are combined. Remove from heat and serve hot or ambient temperature.

This makes a great dipping sauce for hushpuppies or mango fritters.

Next week I&8217;ll tell you how to make mango fritters.

For more on these and other gardening tips visit HGTradio.net