Monday, July 12, 2010

Lots O’ Lettuce

clip_image002On Saturday we woke up to a lot of bolted lettuce and romaine that had fallen over.  Our romaine grew very oddly in general because instead of getting a neat head, we got a long stalk (as you can see on the right side of the picture)– but it was still edible, or at least, it didn’t poison us.  The immense mystery lettuce plants (in this picture they are on the left) we got at the ReStore had bolted, so we yanked those and the Romaine lettuces that had fallen over.  As you can see in the picture, they were all quite large.  Any explanations for the Romaine behavior or what the heck the mystery lettuce was would be most welcome in the comments section below.   I then sat down on the front porch and ripped off a majority of the leaves, but the mystery lettuce has quite bitter leaves, so I didn’t take as many of those.  We also added to our landscaping by going to the ReStore where they had pepper clip_image002[6]plants and tomato plants (3 plants for 50 cents!!!!), so we went crazy and now have random peppers and tomato plants stuck wherever they would fit in our landscaping. 

We got lucky at the Granville farmer’s market on Saturday and found rhubarb, so we bought 4 bunches and I chopped them up and froze them on Sunday.  We have enough to make three strawberry rhubarb crisps throughout the year (we don’t commonly eat it, so that’ll be enough for us).  Now we just need strawberries.  I also froze around 5-6 cups of shredded zucchini for baking.  We also bought some tasty peaches, sweet corn, tomatoes, garlic, and peppers.  We ended up making an excellent salsa and I will post the recipe shortly. 

clip_image002[1]Jacob’s parents were generous enough to let us forage on their land for blackberries and black raspberries on Saturday since berries are a bit pricey for us (they are quite labor intensive when it comes to harvesting so farmers have to charge a higher price).  We earned the berries by being clawed and stabbed by the massive plants to a rather extreme degree on our arms.  However, we ended up with 8 cups of berries and were able to make raspberry freezer jam on Sunday.  This is a simple recipe that calls for 2 cups of raspberries, 4 cups sugar, and .36 cups of liquid pectin.  First, wash the berries and then mash them with a potato masher or other destructive item that can cause berry carnage.  Once all the big lumps are gone, you can sieve out some of the seeds – although we didn’t – and then add the sugar (LOTS of sugar, it seems like a bit much but I guessclip_image002[3] this is normal for jam).  We used Pioneer Sugar made from Michigan sugar beets.  Once that’s mixed, add your liquid pectin and stir for 3 minutes.  Ladle the jam into sterilized jars and try to get out the air bubbles with a nonmetallic object.  Put the lids on tight.  Put the jars in the refrigerator until the jam has set – no longer than 24 hours.  Then you can stick them in the freezer until you are ready to use them.  This recipe makes 1.5 pints of jam.  With our 8 cups of berries, we ended up with a whopping 18 cups of jam!  Our goal here was 6 cups so we definitely went above and beyond.  This is good though because it lightens the pressure to get strawberries when the secondary everbearing season comes on since we won’t be depending on strawberry jam anymore.  Thanks, Donna for the beautiful pictures!! 

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