Friday, July 04, 2008

The Land of the Freeze and the Home of the Save

Independence Day might mean I get a day away from the office, but it doesn't mean I get a day off work.

Since my weekends have been full lately with trips to the Farm, and my weeknights are spent catching up, it's a relief to have a whole day to stay at home and focus on cleaning out the fridge and putting away food for the winter.

I started the morning by halving and pitting sour cherries for two recipes (which will merit a post of their own), blanching and freezing the last of the pac choi from my garden, and chopping and freezing cilantro in an ice cube tray.

After lunch, I strolled over to the Renaissance Man's garden to pick herbs and to deal with the orphan tomato plants that the Archivist gave me earlier in the week. She said she had planted over 100 tomato plants in her five-acre farm, but she had many volunteer seedlings come up from last year's crop. (She suspects they may be the yellow pear variety.) When she offered me some, I thought, "Why not?" After all, I hate to waste food, even when it hasn't grown yet.

So I dug a few holes and planted the tired looking seedlings, hoping that saving them from the Archivist's gravel drive and giving them more room in good soil will renew their will to live.

Back at home, I popped the fresh mint and lemon balm into the dehydrator (on loan), then decided to take a breather from food preservation to bake.

I pulled out the last of the carrots and shredded them to fold into muffin batter. Sure, I could have blanched and frozen or dried them, but I really had a craving for my carrot halwa muffins -- so, again, why not?

Then I fired up the stove again to make a mixed vegetable pickle to use up the rest of my radishes, some cauliflower and carrots, a long cucumber, and a kohlrabi. Maybe I'm finally learning to appreciate pickling, because that looked and smelled very tempting.

After blanching and freezing the rest of the cauliflower -- and seeing more open space in the refrigerator at last! -- I settled down with a light supper of salad from the garden, a muffin, and a small dish of pasta with broccoli.

And just to round out a full day of local foods, I dished up some vanilla ice cream from the local dairy and drizzled it with my homemade rose petal syrup. What a sweet reward for all my work!

Now that's a holiday!

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