...Growing, Building, Cooking, Preserving, Crafting...

2006 began our urban homestead when I broke ground on a garden, which now includes perennial fruits, flowers, & many vegetable varieties. We dream of solar panels, keeping bees and hens. Until then we'll continue growing and preserving our own fruits and vegetables, building what we can for our home, cooking from scratch, and crafting most days.


Enjoying the Process

Drying Chamomile for Tea
In the height of preserving season it's challenging for me to stay in the moment and enjoy each session of canning, freezing, or drying.  My mind is often bouncing ahead to the next item in my garden or fridge that requires attention.  This week has been especially crazy with preserving and I'm striving to focus on one project at a time.  Once again, the kitchen has been used and abused.  Ben's comment tonight was "it's pretty intense in here," which was met with the the stink eye from me as I wanted him to just be patient with my temporary mess.  Between yesterday and today my freezer, pantry, and fridge are really filling up. Tuesday was one of those days that I just kept moving from one project to the next and kept my food processor particularly busy.  Not all of these were preservation projects, but just attempts to get bump up my par stock: carrot and onion purees to portion and freeze (with chopped veggies left over from my knife skills class last week), fava bean hummus (for a quick fruit/veggie dip for me and Vera to nibble on this week), summer squash and zucchini to shred and freeze (from our garden...it's already backing up in my fridge!), homemade mayonnaise (to use the bulk of local eggs currently on hand).  Today I canned black currant juice to add to the pints of blueberry juice I processed over the weekend.  I love making juices because they are fairly simple to cook and there's no waste because I freeze the "mush" that's left after straining the juice and can use it for baking (think cobblers and crisps) in the winter.  Next on my list this week/weekend is dill carrots and pickled beets all from our garden.  I can't even begin to think about tomatoes yet, but I know they will be rolling in very soon, especially as this intense heat carries on.

This past week I've also been drying lavender and chamomile on the countertop to stock my tea supply.

Drying Lavender from our garden
Drying German Chamomile

And the ice cream maker's been churning as I prepared for my Herbal Ice Cream/Baking with Herbs class earlier this week.  Included in the recipes were Lavender Ice Cream and Lemon Balm-Mint Sorbet.
Steeping Lavender in Half and Half for Ice Cream
Mmm, Rich and Creamy!
Though most of my fruits have been stolen by the critters thus far, I'm confident that I will get a great blackberry harvest this year.  These berries are quickly ripening and Vera and I shared the first couple of berries yesterday.  I also found one lone apple on the Duchess of Oldenburg heirloom tree over the weekend.  I greedily plucked it off, though I don't think it was quite ripe.  I suppose it was an attempt to say "MINE!" to the squirrels and chipmunks.
First Blackberries--almost ripe
Heirloom Apple
Stay tuned for more recipes this week/weekend.

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