Sunday, July 22, 2012

Berry Harvest - Picking up!

~ July 16 ~
This seems to be the year of the (Wild) Berry - the bushes are LOADED and the birds seem to have something else to eat for the moment. I usually take my cue to get out there with my buckets & bags when I see the birds hanging out in my raspberry patch or leaving their berry breakfast evidence on my deck railings.

This year, they are strangely quiet in the berry bushes... lots of birds still... wonder what they are eating?

Anyway - my first huge harvest was last week & that was the elderberries. Half of them have been boiled, strained & frozen, waiting to be made into jelly & the other half are in the freezer with the rhubarb, waiting for strawberries....

Friday, July 20, 2012

Lavender Jelly - Round 2

~ lavender infusion ~
Last night I went round 2 with lavender jelly, using some modifications to the recipe(s) I had found on the internet.

I used dried lavender this time & for my steeped infusion, I used 6 cups of boiling water to 1 cup of dried blossoms. I left it overnight (and actually all the next day as I ran out of time in the morning to strain out the blossoms). This is the colour of the infusion. Not really a joyful colour...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Start of the Jelly-Making Season

~ spiced pear jelly ~
The delightful sounds of can lids popping is echoing through the house & the amazing scent of spiced pears is wafting around the kitchen.... mmmm.... Wish I had a bowl of vanilla ice cream over which I could drizzle a bit of this jelly!!

With the 2012 berry harvest about to commence, it's time I worked on the abundant harvest from 2011, which is still in my berry freezer. Tonight I started off with something 'simple' - my spiced pear jelly. Since I've never had plain pear jelly, I don't know how it compares, but this blend reminds me of Christmas & would be simply astounding on a roasted duck or turkey with fresh cranberry sauce on the side... Or maybe mixed in with a pumpkin pie....

It is also very nicely paired with a creamy blue cheese & some fresh baguette!

Just saying - jams & jellies are not just for morning toast & this blend should definitely not be eaten with peanut butter!! (pb just gets in the way of the flavour!)

(Flavour Hint: star anise, green cardamon, black cardamon, fresh ginger - this is cooked with the pear pieces & then strained out through a jelly bag)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Lavender Dream Jelly

~ Spanish lavender ~
It's getting close to harvest time out in Bamfield. Now, I'm not talking about harvesting much out of my veggie beds - I harvest mainly wild things - which seem to do better out here.

I have already done one 'large' harvest off my lavender plants a few weeks ago & was just waiting for the next batch of flowers to mature a bit more when I somehow stumbled across chatter about lavender jelly...

That got my inner crafty goddess stirring!! The picture on the right is of my Spanish lavender - about a dozen cuttings taken off one plant have now started to become giants of their own! The Spanish lavender seems to do better out in the gardens & yard than my more traditional English lavender which prefers living up in deck pots. Drier conditions suit the English lavender better out here.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

First Wild Berry Harvest of the Year

~ wild elderberries ~
I noticed this week that there were red berries smiling at me from the bushes, but it didn't register til almost the weekend that they were the wild red elderberries!

And the bushes are LOADED this year. Last year I didn't bother picking any (or much of any) because the pigeons ate all the berries before they were ripe. This year, there are either fewer pigeons, more cats or more food for the birds elsewhere...

I got out for a few hours on Saturday & went along the roadside - where elderberries tend to like to grow - moist areas with relatively little disturbance.

I got 4 grocery bags within less than 2 hours....

Monday, July 9, 2012

~ fingerling potatoes & garlic ~
It was quite a great weekend out here - we seem to finally be getting some summer sunshine!

For the most part, I just wandered around deadheading, pulling grass & checking out each area of the garden to see what's happening.

In one of my veggie beds - the 'herb' bed, I noticed the garlic was starting to fall over. Now, I'm still new to growing garlic & I think it's been in the ground for almost 2 years. I recall planting my first garlic in the wrong season & have since lost track of it all.