Notes from Windward: #67
Harvesting and Preserving 2007
Another busy year at Windward. The Interns made wonderful contributions to the Windward larder, getting to eat LOTS of fresh food in the process. Lindsay was the blue ribbon gatherer. It was great to see her so excited about gathering wild food. It got to the point where the joke was that she wasn't to leave the property without at least two 5 gallon buckets. One day she went "hunting" with 8 buckets, and returned with all of them filled!!!
It was fun trying out recipes and teaching various types of food preservation. I very much enjoyed the excitement the interns brought to the process--their joy at finding food that otherwise would have gone to waste, and their enjoyment of eating the very fresh foods we made from their finds.
The biggest find of the year was the plums. I'm positive that Lindsay and crew brought home over 200 pounds. I was elated. Everyone ate their fill of fresh plums, and delicious they were! She went on to make a plum chutney that is so good we can use it as a jam. The plum conserve recipe that my Mom found was a big hit!! We modified it and experimented with various ingredients. Each time we made it we had to can it up quick because no one could walk by the pan without grabbing a spoonful!!! The fruit was so sweet that Lindsay and I were able to cut the amount of sugar called for to a quarter of what the original receipe called for. We were canning up a storm, and when we ran out of raisins, we just switched to using plums instead, and the recipe turned out great. Then we experimented with blueberries (which I was able to get cheaper than raisins this year), hazelnuts (when walnuts were $5/lb), and fructose, making what I think was the best of all!
We dried a wide variety of fruit and it's a great pleasure to gaze on the results stored away in huge glass jars because I know we're well provided for until the next harvest time. The freezers also have a large supply of strawberries that Jacque, Alison, Becca, Niki and I picked, and blackberries and raspberries too. I thank us one and all every time I add a few to my yogurt, so very good.
We were also able to get apples, peaches and pears. So we tried out some new recipes with those as well. The canning shelves are filled with Pear Ginger Marmalade, Pear Relish, Spiced Peaches, Peach Chutney, Carrot Apple Marmalade, plus the jams, butters and sauces.
I tried making Maraschino cherries. The recipe I used didn't turn out the way I'd hoped. I found another recipe that I'm looking forward to trying next year. We made watermelon rind pickles which I've always liked.
Vermidise produced salad all summer which was enhanced by the few tomatoes the peacocks left us. I don't remember who made the salsa but it turned out very good too. This year we got a variety of squashes from as many different places. A lot we ate baked or steamed but we froze some too.
Of course all the animals benefited from the produce leftovers, too. They enjoyed every bit and returned it in full measure to us again in the form of milk, eggs and meat. I'm grateful to them for their sacrifices as well as to those who gathered their offerings.
Each time we made things I tried to share the historical significance of such a recipe. How hungry would you have to be to try some of things ;-0 How to frugally use every bit of produce and meat that you grow, and how to utilize the bounty you find if you keep your eyes open and know where to look. What a joy it was to produce a wide variety of products that will enhance our meals for months to come.
I know I enjoyed the season immensely, and while I was pretty tired by season's end, looking at the shelves and freezers gives me great satisfaction, and I feel a lot of gratitude to those who helped make it possible.
Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 67