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Harvest Monday – May 16, 2011

May 16, 2011

A week for foraged sweets…

Not much to report from the balcony garden… two salads, lots of chives and parsley. Along with garden cress, these are saving me the most money so far – finally got around to checking prices at the grocery store, and a bunch of chives or parsley (which a.) is half-wilted and b.) wouldn’t last me for two meals) costs € 0.99. So those herbs are definitely paying off. The lettuce plants are doing well, too – also a good investment. Shouldn’t have bought those plants from the garden centre, though – they were more expensive than the ones I got from work, and not nearly such good quality. I have hardly harvested anything from them.

And much more important than the money… having fresh veggies makes me so happy! Going out onto the balcony while I’m cooking dinner, to pick some herbs and lettuce and other stuff for a salad is just so… I can’t even think of a good word to describe how great it feels.

I often find myself remembering a day at grammar school, one of those lazy days near the end of term, when one teacher decided we should cook Paella together (a somewhat chaotic project that ended up involving a couple of bunsen burners), and I volunteered to bring lettuce and herbs from the garden. I didn’t think much of it, but several of my classmates told me how great the lettuce looked, how fresh, how green – to me, having lived with a garden for most of my life, it was quite normal, but to those apartment dweller kids, it stood out. Now, after three garden-less years, I understand them a little better.

A couple of radishes for Saturday breakfast, and this time I showed some remarkable restraint and let one actually grow to a decent size:

But much, much more important:

The very first elderflowers! I spotted the first ones on Monday, and by Wednesday, the first were blooming where I could get at them. I dipped them in pancake dough and fried them for breakfast on Thursday:

Sprinkle with a bit of sugar, and – mmmmm! I nearly missed my train because I spent so long cooking breakfast, but it was worth it! Definitely going to make this more often this year.

And yet more awesome:

Forest strawberries! A whole big handful (30g)! And so early! Picked on the 13th – who ever said Friday the 13th was an unlucky day?

I spotted them from the train window going to work (I use the train ride to scout out future food-foraging spots – there are several redcurrant bushes along one ditch that I’ll definitely check out) – they’re growing along the top of the embankment, near the tracks, among the rocks, on a south-facing slope – perfect conditions for early ripening. And thanks to the tall grass on the lower part of the embankment, they’re hidden from anyone walking on the path below – only visible from the train window. And how many people are crazy enough to actually get off the train in a village where they have nothing to do but pick a handful of strawberries? Thankfully, only me!

I ate them for dessert on Friday night, just as they were. Mmmmm!


Thanks to Daphne for organizing Harvest Monday!

8 Comments leave one →
  1. randomgardener permalink
    May 16, 2011 22:05

    Oh! Such beautiful berries! Do they taste like regular strawberries? Never knew about elderflowers in pancake dough! Hmmm… How do they taste? Do I spot a yellow radish in there?

  2. May 16, 2011 22:36

    Strawberries: Oooh so much better! It’s like there’s just so much strawberry taste for each fruit, and with these tiny wild ones it’s so much stronger than in the watery big ones.
    Elderflowers: Huh… I can’t really describe the taste. Actually, I’m not sure if it’s really so much a taste as having that strong elderflower-smell in your mouth.
    Yellow radish: Yup.

  3. May 17, 2011 01:17

    I’ve never seen a yellow radish before. Purple, red, white, and green where all the colors I thought they grew in. Very pretty.

    • May 17, 2011 07:19

      Yellow was new to me too. But green – never seen or heard of those, either – now I want some!
      Oh, and I’ve had black, too, but those are the big winter radishes, so you won’t see them for a while yet.

  4. May 17, 2011 08:49

    Lovely harvest! I can almost smell the strawberries by looking at them. I remember my grandma, my mother and me picking them in the forests. They were so tiny, it took us almost forever to fill the yoghurt containers.

    • May 17, 2011 21:11

      I can imagine! I can only wish I knew any places I could even find that many. Oh well, at least I know raspberry and blackberry patches, and this year I will have blueberries, too, damn it!

  5. May 22, 2011 08:03

    Thanks for sharing your harvests. It’s very inspiring to see you enjoying them so much.


  1. Harvest Monday – May 30, 2011 « Letters & Leaves

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