Monday, July 3, 2017

Berry Season is Underway

After a light year last year, this year we have had a bumper crop of currants and the first major crop of gooseberries. Unfortunately we have lost almost every one of our old blackberries and golden raspberries. So strange as they usually spread like weeds. Next spring I will need to do some major pruning of the currants and gooseberries, and I would like to plant some black and white currants, but for now I need to hurry up and finish picking!

We grow 'Red Lake' currants, and they were all seriously productive this year.

The currants grew extremely plump and red on the dangling racemes.

I always pick the entire thing. If needed I will remove them from their stems before freezing. For making jam, however, I toss it all in the pot. The stems come out in the food mill.

Down by the vegetable garden are three more currant bushes (don't ask me why I thought we needed six of one variety). They, too, are completely laden with fruit.

Back in the Berry Patch the gooseberries are a huge mess of brambles, but there are so many berries!

They line the undersides of almost every branch.

And they mean business. Some of their thorns are almost an inch long!

The tart, plump little berries are almost always mixed with sugar when cooking. The more ripe berries you can eat out of hand.

Here you can see the dark, riper berries. For baking, however, the green are the norm. I will divide these up before freezing whole. When I use them frozen you just snip of the head and the tail and they will be ready to go.

This is the fifth bowl of currants. I imagine we have picked about 20 lbs so far. Now, what am I going to make? 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Appreciating Parsley

Despite being often overlooked and sometimes maligned, I love parsley and grow a large patch of it in the garden. I know most think of parsley as a garnish, but imagine tabouleh without parsley! Or a Greek salad with no parsley. Or my favorite pasta with a sauce made from butter, garlic, capers and lemon, and tossed with a ton of parsley. What would happen in a world with no parsley!?!

When I saw this recipe in the April 2017 issue of Martha Stewart Living I was like, duh, I'm sure parsley would be good sauteed. I always use it raw and thrown in at the end. I realized I had everything else I needed, so the next day I stopped by the garden and picked a large bunch of parsley.

Parsley flowers and seed heads look a bit like Queen Anne's Lace. I always let a few plants bolt so they drop their seeds and begin replacing the plant. Parsley is a biennial, and I always sow seeds in the spring as well as let the plants self sow because the seeds germinate very slowly. An old saying says parsley seeds go nine times to the Devil and back before coming up, and indeed they can take from two weeks to a month to germinate.

This patch is getting low. When the leaves are in full force I like to harvest as much as possible and freeze it in "logs" as explained by Margaret Roach here. Or you can see my previous post on the topic.

Do you peel your ginger with a spoon? Do it. It makes peeling so easy!

This recipe couldn't be faster or easier. Heat the olive oil, toss in the ginger and sliced garlic until fragrant.

Then toss in the parsley, salt and pepper to taste, a squeeze of lemon and done!

I've made this three times already. So tasty and fast. I might not have as much parsley to freeze this year!