Back when we lived in Portland, our summers were always filled with u-pick adventures. Morning gatherings out on Sauvie Island, where the kids would run wild through the berry fields, and the farm stands were overflowing with produce to be purchased for a song. My friends and I would buy or pick while things were cheap and in season, then spend our afternoons and evenings processing, freezing, canning, and fermenting, so summer’s bounty would last us well into the winter months.
These past few years have been transitional, and have come complete with all the difficulties and concessions that transition tends to include. Now a divorced parent, a graduate student, a working mom – this new path has put a very different set of constraints on my life. Back in Portland, for example, I’d always buy dry beans in bulk and cook up big batches from scratch, carefully portion them into smaller containers, and then freeze them for later use. But now I buy canned beans. Because it’s quick and convenient, and at this point in my life, I have to be okay with that. We’re all doing the best we can.
Going back to grad school added a lot of extra work to my life (obviously), but it also added routine. And a sense of direction. In many ways it’s quieted the anxiety I’d felt for so many years. And because of that, it’s actually opened up a lot of space in my life.
So what’s the point of all this? Well, the point is, I’m finally getting back into my kitchen-witchery groove. And this past weekend, for the first time since we moved to California, Waits and I visited a u-pick farm.
We picked for about an hour, and we ended up with 8 pounds of blueberries. For reals! These California berry bushes are not messing around – they were literally dripping with giant, plump, perfectly ripe berries.
First things first, I made muffins. Lemon blueberry muffins to be exact, adapted from my absolute number one favorite cook book, Isa Does It. I converted the lemon blueberry loaf recipe:
And on a whim, I started a batch of blueberry-infused vinegar:
This will be so good on my epic salads!
This summer I’m planning to do a whole lot more gardening and preserving. So my question to you guys is – What do you want to see?
Which fruits and veggies do you want to see preserved?
What sorts of projects and preservation techniques are interesting you?
I’ll be starting a summer gardening series, just sharing what I’m up to around my own yard, hopefully beginning next week. I’m so excited to bring this component – which was really a formative part of this blog – back into these pages.
So please! Thoughts, ideas, suggestions. What do you want?
And my dears – have a great weekend!
♥ ♥ ♥