One of the easiest things to grow in any herb garden: a bunch of chives. Be careful, though, because they like to spread. I regularly whack them back to nubs, and they grow again every time. Not sure whether you have chives?
Now that cool weather has arrived, it’s time to work on apples. Local orchards have bushels of fruit begging for my attention. I put up applesauce every year: it stores well, can be used in lots of ways, and is surprisingly easy.
I use tomato paste all the time. Sometimes I need up to half a cup, sometimes just a little bit. When I make my own, I can store it in the sizes I tend to need most, so I have no more partly used cans in the fridge.
It was Auguste Escoffier who devised the now-famous dessert, Pêche Melba, in the early 1900s. It consisted of fresh peeled peaches, slightly sugared, with raspberry purée, served over vanilla ice cream in a swan carved of ice. The dish has become a classic,
I prefer to eat local food, sourced as close to the farm as possible: I get fresher food, I help support the nearby farming community, and it tastes amazing. Sometimes, though, I make exceptions. Let me tell you about my experience with peaches.
I get asked this a lot: is making jam hard? People tend to assume it takes a lot of time; that every batch is unmanageably huge; that it’s scary and uses weird equipment. All this is so, so wrong. You can make jam in a skillet or saucepan in less than an hour.
We had snow and hail last week, but it’s in the 90s today: welcome to springtime in SE Michigan. I’m working on the garden this week – first setting the chives and all the other herbs to rights, and then planting my favorite tomatoes.
Looking at my preserves cupboard, I can see it’s been a good year for jams. Let’s see … there’s cherry jam three ways, blueberry-ginger jam, spiced tomato jam, strawberry-vanilla butter, peach, and apricot jams. But there are still a few gaps!
Necessity is the mother of invention. Sometimes you hit a roadblock; something knocks your plans horribly askew. So it was for me this week, when I planned to reduce a half-bushel (25-26 pounds) of tomatoes to thick tomato paste.
I love berries of all kinds, and am lucky to live where lots of them grow. Recently I bought some freshly picked blueberries at a farm stand: they were delicious! Some went into muffins, some on cereal, some were just eaten as a snack.