my mom helped me make a single jar of sweet pickle relish with one of them. this was totally unplanned--we were making pickled peppers and there was a bit of pickling stuff left over, and i realized i had a cucumber and some wonderful onions from the farmer’s market, along with garlic and peppers and all the necessary seasonings, so we went for it.
i entered both the pickled peppers and relish in the fair, but they don’t look like winners to me. i think the only chance i have is with the fruit spreads, and even with those it's so iffy...i'm still a total novice, competing against rural grandmothers and suchlike who *really* know their shit, so i feel like an underdog. mom and i dropped off our entries on monday and we’re going to the fair together friday evening--it works out perfectly because i’m temping for her again this week, so we can leave together directly from work.
last week when my cousin kelly was here i took her out foraging and together we picked 2.75lbs of blackberries. that evening on the greenbelt i met another hardcore foraging person! her name is amy and she’s desperate to go out foraging with me, so we exchanged numbers, and we must’ve stood there chatting excitedly about wild foods for twenty minutes or more. she’s especially into the exotics, not so much the normal stuff you can find at the store...she’s even done mushrooms. picked them, i mean. she got super excited when i told her about making dandelion jelly.
i turned a good portion of the blackberries into one of my favorite jams. i know a lot of people are turned off by the seeds, but i love them.
i made cute labels for most of my state fair entries using photos i shot of the ingredients. i cropped the photos to 8x10 and reduced opacity to about 50%, then added text on top.
i ended up with 10 different canned foods to enter. and no photos! i’ve been so busy i didn’t manage to get any photos printed, which really bums me out. for one thing it’s tradition, and it’s a lot of fun entering stuff in the fair, but mostly it’s nice because this event is about the only thing that motivates me to have my photos printed and mounted, and afterwards i get to hang them up on display at home. not this year. oh well.
these wonderful red cherry plums just ripened the other day. i picked about 2.5lbs. haven’t decided what to do with them yet, but i have been hankerin’ for some pie lately, so maybe that. i think i have enough preserves now to last about a decade...i made another six jars of apricot jam using some locally-grown apricots i was gifted (although these weren’t nearly as nice as the ones i picked). add that to the six jars of blackberry and one jar each of peppers and relish, and my grand total is now up to 58 jars. i’ve given away a lot, and i plan to give away a ton more, but i must admit it’s starting to get a bit ridiculous.
while my cousin and uncle were visiting we went out (my dad too, and andy) and took a long nighttime walk during the meteor shower. i spotted a field i hadn’t seen before, filled with little wild sunflowers.
so a few days later i came back with scissors, and a canvas bag hanging from my handlebars with a jar of water propped up in the bottom--a really smart way to transport cut flowers by bike, except when you use a jar with too wide a mouth and it tips and spills all over your feet on the way home. lesson learned.
this field is an out-of-the-way spot that isn’t very visible from the road, plus it’s sort of a construction area so these plants could get flattened any day, plus i took only a tiny, tiny fraction of the flowers so there were plenty left for people and insects to enjoy...otherwise i’d feel guilty about taking them. picking flowers is not like picking fruit. entirely different ethical considerations.