Saturday, June 13, 2009

What I Put Up With

Busy day! But then, after buying all that good produce at the farmers' market this morning, I had to do something with it!

I came home from the market and started on a batch of strawberry jam. Since I wanted to make microbatches in small pots, I used only a quart of berries at a time. The morning's batch was plain-Jane strawberry, while the evening batch had a little lavender added to it.

And while the morning batch ran through the hot water bath, I baked off a loaf of homemade white bread to go with it. There's just nothing so wonderful as warm bread topped with warm jam "scum" (the foam off the top). Summer's here!

I ran out after lunch for a haircut and a trip to the grocery store, and then I came back to work on more produce.

First up, my favorite potato salad. I've been craving this for several days, and when I spotted the little red potatoes at the Amish farm stand, I grabbed them. Add asparagus, dill, walnuts, dill salt, feta cheese, a splash of balsamic vinegar, and olive oil, and you have one amazing dish. Mmmm!

As I prepped vegetables for that, I started prepping other vegetables for a pot of stock. Since I'm trying to find ways to reduce waste in the kitchen, I tossed the carrot tops and tips into the pot along with the carrots themselves, and I also added the bottom parts of the asparagus stalks and the water used to steam the asparagus and potatoes for the salad. (I knew I had something good going when my neighbor popped her head out the door and commented on how fantastic it all smelled!)

I made a batch of spelt pasta -- one way to use my abundance of CSA eggs! -- and left it to dry on cooling racks overnight.

I dried most of the nettles I had found at the market, and when those were done, I quartered the remaining strawberries and laid them on the dehydrator trays to dry.

After all that, I made nettle fritters for dinner and relaxed.

Yes, that was a lot of work, and I've only begun to work my way through this week's produce. Tomorrow I plan to dry carrots and spinach, and I may get through a couple more projects as well.

It's amazing what I'll put up with in the summer -- in order to put up food for winter.

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