Friday, July 23, 2010

Eating well

This week has been the beginning of starting to eat well out of the garden. In the summer months, it reduces our grocery bills between a third and a half, but the big deal is fresh and organic. This week we are finally eating both.

Yesterday we ate the remains of Thai salad and Saskatoonberry cheesecake we made when Anna and Ian were over, and started doing some serious cooking with the fruits of our labour today.  Anna came berry picking with us at a U-pick, so I added substantially to the wild Saskatoons we have been getting from the river bank and the bushes in our park. As a result, our family got the following done:

  • Leora made Saskatoon/Rhubarb muffins using a jar of Mike's homemade yogurt
  • Anwyn made Zuchinni/Saskatoon loaf (using last 2 cups we had of the 2009 freezing)
  • Mike made 11 cups of raspberry sauce, which we freeze and mix into yogurt or serve on pancakes.  We need a pressure caner before we'll be able to can it, as it doesn't have enough sugar. He also made a red current reduction out of the berries on our bush by the deck.
  • I made tabouli, a Bulgar-based (wheat berry) salad that uses our fresh cucumber and one and a half cups of fresh parsley. It also uses a half cup of fresh mint, and I added Saskatoons to that, too. It is delicious and inexpensive at this time of year.
We have also started to freeze down supplies for next year. I have frozen 52 cup worth of Saskatoons, which will likely mean we run out of them in May. So far I only have 32 cups of rhubarb, and I will keep freezing it in 8 cup increments into the fall.

Because we try to use a square foot gardening method, I rarely freeze a lot of vegetables anymore. Instead I get a bit of a variety of things all the time. This year, the constant rains will likely impact that and clump things together more, as little happened to the group in the first six weeks I was planting, and a number of the things that I pre-started died.  Having said that, we are currently eating:

  • strawberries (a handful a day)
  • our last cherries 
  • the last Saskatoons from our yard
  • sugar snap peas
  • all our herbs (mint, parsley, basil, oregano, sage, dill)
  • spinach
  • rocket
  • romaine lettuce
  • chard
  • cucumbers (which have done horribly the last several years, died twice this year and are now spectacular)
We cleaned out the freezer today and compared it to what is left in our cold storage. This week we ran out of our salsa and we'll run out of canned tomatoes soon. We've finished our Saskatoons, Strawberries and rhubarb much earlier. We still have about 6 cups of apples, but it is an off year for our tree and our neighbor's tree, so we won't freeze much. 

I always have some much fun seeing the yard grow and change each day (view this week in pictures). This is my favorite bloom time for the yard, as it has all of the lilies in bloom. I pick flowers for myself every few days and have them in the living room, kitchen and bathroom. I love to share plants with others and give away extra things growing in the garden (Anna and James are always great for looking at everything and taking food home). I am sure I could be a great Eastern-European grandma if only I had the pedigree. . .

Mike and I are also enjoying working on projects in the house and yard. Mike finished the piano bench he made from the wood of an old desk, and we've been covering the compost with a tarp so it is dry enough to sift.  We've have ordered the stuff for the roof but are waiting until there are a few days with no change of rain (our deck bubbled last year because it rained 4 hours after we painted it).

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