Departures

We made herb salt this week.  If you’ve been around for a while (and if you pay alarmingly close attention to the nonsense I get up to), you may be thinking it’s a bit early for such a thing.  And this is totally true…we usually wait until October or even November for this project.

But this year?  This year that’s not an option. We’re moving this week (the movers come Friday), and if we wanted to have a batch this year, this was the moment.

We’ve finally managed to pull off that move to Maine we’ve been working on (we’ve been going on vacation since 2012…it seemed more efficient to just give in and move there).  So I’m going to be a little bit quiet for a few days while we get everything all sorted out…but in a week or so I should be all settled in at the new place and back to a more normal schedule (with lots of shiny new backdrops for knitting pictures)!

Sunshine

So I don’t know about you, but where we are, it’s winter and gray and gloomy.  And while normally I can deal with that this fine, somehow this year it’s wearing on me.  The obvious cure is sunshine.  And this is about as close as I can get to sunshine in a jar.

We’ve talked before about how to do this.  The gist is chop up your citrus (I’ve gotten much more casual about leaving the seeds in and the tips on over time, but you can totally remove them if you’re so inclined).

Jam them in jars, dumping in piles of salt after each layer.  Top the jar up with extra lemon juice.

Wait a month. Eat with everything (soup, hummus, cookies, everything…really).

But this year we decided to do a little something different.  We added a few blood oranges to the usual meyer lemons.

Now I’ve never done this before, but the internet assures me it is totally a thing (it apparently works for limes too, which I’m going to try next time).

We also packed one of the lemon jars with a whack ton of whole spices, just to see if we can taste them.  I’ll report back and let you know.

But in the meantime, if you’ve had Just About Enough of January Thank You Very Much, I highly recommend putting down a jar or two of these.  It helps. A lot.

Timely

Sometimes? Sometimes you have good timing.  On Saturday, we grabbed the last of the herbs from the yard.  Normally we do it earlier, but this year we kept putting it off.

DSC_2941 copyWe spent an hour or two stripping herbs, peeling garlic, and putting the food processor to work.

DSC_2947 copyAnd later that very afternoon, we got the first snow of the season.  I’m calling that just about the best timing ever.

This has become a yearly tradition (I talked about it in more detail back here if you want to do it yourself, and there’s a bit more about other years here and here).  It comes out great every time.  We use it in pretty much everything we cook.  And I’m really quite firmly convinced you should be doing something similar with any spare herbs you have sitting around.

Not just rhubarb

The shrub thing really is a sickness around these parts.  I did rhubarb and strawberry just a little while ago, and now I’ve got some cherry going as well.  This really is ten minutes of chopping, two minutes of stirring with the sugar, 30 seconds of glugging in the cider vinegar, and two weeks of waiting followed by an entire summer and fall of sipping on delicious things.

I’m not sure why we’re not all doing it all the time.  It really is the best thing to do with all that extra fruit you find yourself with all summer long. cherry shrub

cherry shrub

cherry shrub   cherry shrub

Tiny bubbles

So it’s summer, which means I can’t go to the grocery store without bringing home more fruit than any two people can eat.  And when you have a whole bunch of extra fruit (and you’ve made your fill of pies, because really there has to be some limit), clearly the thing to do is make shrub.

Now we talked about this at some length before, and you can go read that if you want.

For now I’ll just say it starts with sugar + rhubarb.

DSC_0062 copyAn hour later you’ve got this.

DSC_0067 copyAnd an hour after that you’ve got this.

DSC_0071 copyA day or two later, you pour in some apple cider vinegar (the kind you let ferment on your counter if at all possible), cover it, and wait for the little yeasties and microbes to work their magic.  In a week it will be good.  In a month it will be amazing.

And yes, it will bubble and fizz.  Yes it will make funny smells.  Yes I suppose it could go horribly wrong and kill you, so do your reading if you want to try it.  I’m totally not a reputable source.  But it hasn’t killed us yet, and oh wow is it good.