Monday Tuesday – July 1, 2014
Once again a day late, but this time it isn’t because I forgot yesterday, or was too lazy, or got caught up in silly time-wasting things, but because I was too busy preserving last weekend’s harvests.
During the week, it was just ordinary stuff from the balcony and community garden:
Red oakleaf lettuce (from the community garden, self-seeded from a neighbouring plot – there is an advantage to not weeding all that often (and knowing what lettuce seedlings look like) – I get lots of free lettuce this year!), the first zucchini (also from the community garden) and peas from the balcony (Ambrosia, Golden Sweet and Blauwschokker, and this year I’m very underwhelmed by the latter two. Only Ambrosia is giving me a decent harvest.)
Small but steady strawberry harvests from the balcony.
Balcony-grown kohlrabi (oops, blurry picture…)
Forellenschluss lettuce from the community garden.
Then on Friday, at work, we cut back all the herbs. And I decided it would be a shame to throw away all that I cut off, and brought it home to dry…
This is just the majoram, which had filled the two plastic bags. The newspaper packets contained oregano, mint, savory and… I think I’m forgetting something.
I stayed up far later than I’d planned sorting through those herbs and trying to find places to spread them out to dry, and then got up very early on Saturday…
I always take the train to work, a little local line that is slow enough that if I’m not napping or reading, I can look out of the window and identify most plants that we pass. And so I’d seen several currant bushes growing in a ditch along the tracks, and spent early Saturday morning wading through the nettles in that ditch to pick red and white currants.
The currants actually grew on the willow trees that line the ditch, in cracks in the bark and forks of branches – who knew currants were epiphytes? I suppose birds must have spread the seeds there.
(By the way, I really love these yoghurt containers for berry-picking. They have a nice size, a handle that makes it easy to hold – or hang on a branch – and a tight-fitting lid so I can just drop them in my backpack when they’re full.)
All in all, over 1 kg of each colour.
They’re all in the freezer for now, because I haven’t yet had time to do more with them – I’m planning to make jelly. My grandmother did that for years, or probably decades, and kept the whole family supplied (we ate a lot of redcurrant jelly), but in the last couple of years, it’s just been too much work for her, and she got rid of her redcurrant bushes. So I’ve been missing homemade currant jelly for a while now.
It took me until yesterday to actually get all the stems off the currants and get them into the freezer. Saturday afternoon, I went to a garden party at the Clown Brother’s new place. (He moved into an assisted living facility for people with disabilities about two months ago, which was a huge change for all of us, but it’s turned out to be a really good one!)
So no time for the currants on Saturday, and then on Sunday, I was up early again, to go to the forest and pick raspberries. Somehow I ended up staying for six hours – it didn’t feel nearly as long.
About 2.5 kg – I could have picked so much more, but I was out of containers, and also getting quite hungry, for something more substantial than raspberries.
I made a couple of jars of jam, but most of them ended up in the freezer as well, after I spent the rest of Sunday picking larch needles and other dirt from among the berries. And a few were used fresh, in a milkshake and in yoghurt.
And then yesterday, I finally had time to deal with the currants, and after a couple of hours, let me tell you, those white currants start looking freakishly like glass eyes for stuffed animals. I kept feeling like I was staring at a bowl full of teddy bear eyes.
Now look at that, now it’s not even Tuesday any more, but early Wednesday morning. But I’m not going to change the post title again.
And as always, click on over to Daphne’s Dandelions to see what Daphne and the other Harvest Monday participants have harvested. I’m sure none of them posted as late as me (but I can already tell I have far more berries than Daphne.)