Enjoying the bounty of harvest is such a blessing to me.
This picture of one of our gardens was taken June 2 of this year. Sure doesn’t look like much but with a lot of hard work and the Father’s blessings we hope to have a good deal to harvest and share in the weeks to come. We grow an assortment of vegetables in these gardens. We have a mini orchard with fruit trees and berries and an herb garden.
We do much in the way of foraging as well. I’m thankful that there are things to harvest well before the things we’ve planted come along. Fiddleheads, Jerusalem Artichokes,and Dandelions are among the first things we enjoy. This year was the first one in which we got to really enjoy Jerusalem Artichokes and it’s been fun trying new recipes, my crew are great at being guinea pigs for me. Scalloped Ginger Sunchokes is one of the recipes I tried that we all enjoyed.
Some questions I ask myself in regards to harvest time are:
*How can I preserve this so that we can continue to enjoy it until next year’s harvest? As I was thinking and researching how to preserve Jerusalem Artichokes, I found many recipes for pickling them, but I knew I didn’t want to do that. A friend of mine had heard that you can make flour with them after you dry them. I gave that a try and I have about 1 ½ cups in the refrigerator to try.
*How much do I need to last until next year’s harvest? Having a well stocked pantry and freezer is a help to my family in more ways that I can explain here and the more we can grow and glean ourselves the better as far as I am concerned.
*Do I have the tools necessary to make the work the most efficient?
*Where will I get what I want to preserve? We are blessed with space to garden and forage but not everyone has that. When we lived in the city we would go to the farmer’s markets, go to local farms, and friends would let us glean. We also found wild blueberries on a mountain path we enjoyed hiking, even grocery stores will sell local produce at times.
*What is the best way to preserve it that my family will enjoy? Trial and error is the best way to figure out just what works best for you and your family. For instance, we have many apple trees and I used to can many quart jars of applesauce, but truly my crew didn’t care for it very much. I learned that we do well juicing many quarts which we use for jelly making and canning apple pie filling which we use in many different ways.
The flowers above tell us that it won’t be too long before strawberry picking will be happening. Those are Field Strawberry flowers and those wild strawberries make the BEST freezer jam. It is the most coveted thing in my freezer. We’re sure to save some for smoothies in freezer bags as well but the first batch picked is always for strawberry shortcake, and then strawberries and cream for breakfast.
The is the recipe I use for making jam.
One of the things about harvesting is that we don’t really determine when things are ripe. We must wait, work hard and be ready to harvest when they are made ready. That makes me think of so many things in our lives. Keeping our eyes open for the harvest and being ready to work.
My son Jonathan and I have a facebook group called Foraging in Northern Maine. It’s a place where we share what we’re finding on our land and what we will use it for. Each week, Jonathan puts up pictures and information on two plants that are edible or medicinal. You have to request to be added to the group and we’d love to have you join us regardless of where you live.