Into the kitchen

What would this site be without a “this is how we use” page…After all, the garden we grow is to look at outside AND on our plate

Using the bounty in our daily lives

It is one thing to dream of making homemade preserves, collecting eggs, and canning, and another to actually make them and enjoy those things we are blessed with.  When we give thanks to God for our daily meals, we truly mean it.  We are blessed and very thankful.  Here is a meal we shared at home featuring some of the bounty we have been blessed with:

Breakfast .  Featuring homemade Scandinavian Dandelion Jelly  (top right) on English muffin. Farm fresh Quail eggs baked in avocado garnished with fresh chives and chive blossoms.  Herbal tea, featuring added homemade lilac blossom syrup (on left) with wild rose blossoms floating as garnish. Apple salad with  fresh lilac blossoms.

 

The lilac syrup is featured in the section below.  The Scandinavian Syrup and Jelly is featured the Natures Bounty section of this website (well, it will be added there soon).  Here is the link to find it: https://freshfromthefarminthegorge.wordpress.com/natures-bounty/

Lilac Blossom Syrup .

Here is a delicacy that is easy to make that just seems to bring thoughts of garden parties and tea parties in the warm sun, with joyful birds serenading the event.

We have been making Lilac syrup for a few years now and I thought I would share with you how beautiful it is and how tasty!  It is delicately delicious and tastes just like the flowers smell.  Heavenly!  The first question I get is, “what do you use it for?”   Here is the list:      1) For flavoring and sweetening tea   2) adding to lemonade for a unique lilac lemonade variety    2) drizzle on cakes and ice creams   3) on pancakes

Just yesterday a friend of mine told me that the jar of lilac syrup I gave her has been enjoyed!  She has been dipping her morning toast and lunchtime peanutbutter sandwiches in it.

People have been asking me how I make it?  There are plenty of online recipes.  But I discovered a method to extract more of the flavor from the blossoms, which I am not going to share this year.  It really does make a pronounced difference in the amount flavor in the syrup.  But even the usual ways found online make a delicious syrup.

Here are the basics you need to make Lilac syrup:

Locate lilac bushes that are grown without any spraying done on our around them.  Pick lilac blossom bunches. Choose the most fresh looking bunches to pick. Gently wash the bunches. Next, remove the blossoms from the stems. Be sure to discard any discolored blossoms and leaves.  The basic recipe ratios are 1:1:1.   That is easy to remember.  One cup water to one cup sugar to one cup blossoms. This can be scaled up or down to increase or decrease the recipe.

Heat one cup sugar in one cup water, until sugar is dissolved.  Add one cup blossoms. Simmer for 10 minutes.   It is optional to add either a few blueberries or blackberries (fresh or frozen) for color at this point.  I prefer blueberries, because it gives a nice color and does not alter the flavor.  I use about 5-10 berries per cup of liquid.  I also make sure to squish the berries in the water for the best color extraction. Without the berries, the syrup will be faintly lavender/pink or clear, depending on the color of the blossoms you used.

Strain the liquid and pour into prepared jars.  Keep in your refrigerator for several months and use as desired.

If you wish to actually can the syrup, the process is a bit different, and you should use the processing proceedures just like you would canning any fruit with syrup added.

Berry good Purslane/blueberry smoothie.

Starting off, grabbing a bunch of purslane ( this year we have a choice of two domesticated varieties and our wild purslane),and some blue berries and a banana and/or apple, we have the makings of a smoothie that is very tasty and packed with anti-DSCF1142

oxidants from the purslane and the berries as well as a punch of nutrients from each of these ingredients.  The purslane has the added benefit of acting as a thickener, so our smoothie keeps its consistency even if it sits a few minutes and the ice melts!  The photo shows our smoothies…

 

Pesto!       So much fun!  So many varieties and all packed with mouthwatering flavor.  Some are savory some are sweet. We avoid the run-of-the-mill plain basil pesto (but we pesto at Farmers MktDO like it!).   We use various combinations of pea shoots, sunflower shoots, garlic, green onion, kale, beets, purslane, raspberries, blueberries, black berries, mint, parsley, cabbage, basil.  We also use sunflower seeds instead of nuts, since we want our friend who are allergic to nuts to be able to enjoy our pesto too!  We use olive oil and sometimes balsamic vinegar!  The recipes……That is our secret… The photo shows our pesto at the local Farmer’s Market.  It freezes well!

What to do with the pesto…

+It goes great on pasta.  A quick and nutritious addition to any pasta, and an explosion of flavor. We really enjoy our original pesto blend (Peashoot Pesto) on pasta.

+ Just grab a spoon!  Many tell us that the roasted beet pesto never makes it home…It is soooo delicious!  Just eat it straight from the container.  But it is also great on sandwiches, in salads, and as an accompaniment to meats..

+ The Blueberry/Rosemary pesto is especially good with chicken or turkey, but is a great compliment to salads and sandwiches.

 

 

 

 

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