so much garden goodness
i'm so far behind on sharing all that we've been eating and preserving from the garden this year. i guess it's a good thing to be living out there in the real world and not being quite so concerned about virtual life online. it was a good year for elderflowers. we've got a lot of them on our property here and there and we took full advantage. i made 15 bottles of cordial and we dipped them in pancakes and made elderflower fritters for dessert.
their delicate fragrant flavor just sings of scandinavian summer to me. they're around for about 3 weeks, so we do our best to take it all in during that time. i even put some down in some vodka and made elderflower vodka to go in cocktails. i should have done two bottles as that one's almost gone. we mixed the elderflower vodka with a bit of elderflower cordial, topped it off with fizzy water (we recently bought a soda stream and absolutely LOVE it) and an elderflower garnish. summer in a glass.
we've had cool temperatures and lots of rain. it means the garden has been a bit slow to get started, but my herb beds, close to the house, are going like gangbusters. i was looking for a way to use a bunch of them at once and decided to make some herb salt. i gathered some of everything there was, including elderflowers, cleaned it carefully and threw it all in the food processor with some sea salt and whizzed it up.
here we have sage, bronze fennel, oregano, thyme, and elderflower. i also had a few stinging nettles, some parsley, lovage and a few sprigs of mint for freshness. i'm going to make another batch or two including garlic now that we've harvested that as well.
you just lay the salt/herb mixture out on a tray to dry - i put it out in the terrace so it could get some of the rather scarce sunshine and stirred it every time i walked by for 2-3 days and then put it in a jar. we've already seasoned steaks with it and thrown some in pasta. so satisfying that it came from my own garden instead of some snotty kitchen boutique.
it has been a banner year for strawberries - i've picked and picked and picked and now they've finally tapered off. we ate as many as we wanted - strawberries and cream every evening for dessert for an intense couple of weeks. i made jam and i used my wonderful steamer to make the best juice. i managed to bottle up 15 bottles of that as well - some in combination with rhubarb and ginger, some with just strawberries and a couple of vanilla pods.
we've been enjoying it in a gin cocktail - strawberry cordial, some good gin and again a top off with fizzy water, garnish with a strawberry and again, summer in a glass.
we've got 3 bee families now, but only one is doing well. we harvested about 25 kilos in the first round, so we've got 50 jars of honey. at the rate we use it, that won't last long, so we're happy that our two weaker families seem to be coming around. one of them killed their queen and made themselves a new one and that seems to have really helped. if the queen is weak, so is the family, as we're learning.
we planted a veritable shitload of potatoes this year. our sandy soil is good potato soil. husband had ordered 20 kilos of seed potatoes in the spring, not really realizing how many that would be (it's 15 rows). we've already started digging up lovely little tender new potatoes and enjoying them with whatever we're eating, nearly every evening. it somehow doesn't seem bad with those carbs when they come from your own garden.
how's your gardening going this year?