Beans and blueberries - compliments of my own garden and my uncles. Once my plants finished producing, I pulled them and we started round two. It's a bit of an experiment seeing how late we can plant fall beans and corn. I guess we'll find out. :) How's your garden this year? Learn any tricks? I learned you can't plant squash or cucumbers near potatoes. They don't work well together. Squash and zucchini take lots of room regardless. I didn't leave enough space. I also planted tomatoes and corn to close together and they tangles up and pulled on each other, like squabbling siblings.
A friend dropped off a huge container of cucumbers three days ago, so we got to have some fun. Yummy cucumber sandwiches and salads and then pickles!!
I've never made pickles before, but it seemed simple enough. I saw many different recipes. Some required soaking and making a brine for days or weeks before canning, others had you pack jars raw, pour liquid over the cucs, can and then not eat for a few weeks. We went the simple route of packing raw. So, now we have jars of pickles doing their thing on our shelves. We decided on bread and butter pickles out of the Ball canning cookbook and then a dill recipe out of the Esther Shank's Mennonite cookbook. We shall taste and see... eventually. :)
There's always a first time for everything. In our attempt to grow more of our food, eat healthier and cheaper... We've been on the lookout for fresh berries this spring. A friend let us know that their mulberry trees were producing more than their family needed so we got to try something new.
We found out mulberry picking isn't quite like picking other berries. We spread sheets on the ground and learned how to shake trees. Raining berries! And bugs. And leaves... :) cleaning mulberries can be a big job. But, take this piece of advice I learned the hard way. No need to pinch off the little green stems. Just eat them.
Or your fingers may end up like mine. After pinching countless stems I cut through my finger tips with my own nails. Ouch! Still sore days later!
Then we tried a second new thing. Canning on my own! I learned a few other tricks. One-don't leave so much head space (or empty room in the jars). Fill them up and they will last longer! Two-picking and preserving fresh local food may become addictive.
I had to go back for round two.
This time we chose to put berries in bags to go in the freezer for smoothies. We also got a flat of blueberries at the farmers market and put away 10 pints of blueberries this way. We love smoothies!
We've been making kale berry smoothies. Kale, spinach, frozen berries, banana and a bit of yogurt-water if necessary. Delicious!