Thursday, July 31, 2014

What happened to July? - Cooking and Canning

Well, I had to eat.

My farm share has been wonderfully abundant.  Lovely vegetables and I’ve been very good about staying on top of eating them all. There’ve been a few that slipped to the back of the drawer before I realized it, but so far nothing tragic. 

Since my strawberry picking excursion I’ve wanted to do more pick-your-own.  When Katie said she’d love to pick blue berries I was all for it.  We went to one of the closest farms, Linvilla Orchards. Now, I don’t know if they are organic and Pedro calls them a zoo, and I can see his point. But I can also see a lot of good that they do. The place is huge, they have many different crops, and they cater not just to people who want to pick their own and plan to can, but also to children. (It's 15 stems of zinnias for $5.)
Families with kids and school field trips were there in full force. It didn’t diminish any fun we had – in fact it made us happy that here were little kids walking along holding bags of peaches they had picked right off the tree. Since the weather has been so nice, picking was a pleasant experience as well. On that particular Friday Katie and I picked 8lbs of blueberries. That’s enough for six pies, a giant yogurt container full and a bit more for breakfast yogurt. One pie has been baked, the other five allotments are frozen and can be baked at a moment’s notice!

Katie and Jessica partook of the first blueberry pie and it was decided we needed to go back for peaches. So we did. 

 On a cool Saturday morning we drove to the farm passing a heavy rainstorm on the way.  The storm must have hit the farm as well because everything was wet as can be. Perfectly beautiful ripe peaches lay all over the place on the ground ready to be picked up.  Now Jessica, at 8 months pregnant, wasn’t really into crawling around under the trees. So Katie and I took that job while Jessica picked from the trees.  We ended up with something like 30lbs of peaches. That’s a lot of peaches.  I’ve been wanting to make pickles as well, and so Katie and Jessica kindly obliged me while I picked about 10lbs of cucumbers.

 Melanie sent me her dill pickle recipe which is delicious. I was supposed to wait a week after making them , but I really couldn’t.  There is something incredibly satisfying about making your own, whatever it is. 

So the count stands thusly:
2 jars of whole brandied peaches
2 jars of peaches preserved in light syrup
10 jars of peach sauce (just cooked with some spices and a little sugar)
11 jars of pickles. 

Not bad.  

I was also finally able to crack open an experiment from last summer, pickled nasturtiums.  I really had my misgivings about these.  They were so simple even though I only ended up with three little jars of them. I actually only ended up with one after giving the other two away.  Needles to say, people are going to have to request these this year! They are so yummy!

I decided to put them on a tilapia fillet. Trader Joe's has lovely frozen fish.  I made a little bit of a sauce with butter, salt pepper, and a dash of the brine, sautéed the fish in that and added the nasturtiums.  Oh boy. They are so yummy.  I went right out and planted as many seeds as I had kept from last year along with a packet I rustled up from somewhere.  They are coming up and I am so excited to make more of these! They are delicious. Poor Man’s Capers indeed!

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