The 2015 harvest season begins!

This year’s harvest season started a little late, thanks to the mild spring extending into a cooler-than-normal summer. Along with the regular rainfall, this led to abundant flowers that resulted in what is looking like a bumper crop for many of our fruits. Above, my first strawberry harvest from the first weekend of July. These strawberries are typically ready by mid-June. However, once they started, I was pretty much out in that strawberry field every few days keeping those plants picked clean. Half of them went into the freezer for later use (mostly the ugly ones, which are better for incorporating …

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Midsummer Garden Tour

Even though this year’s midsummer was mostly spent inside due to it raining all day, I had a chance to nip out in the morning and snap some pictures for my mid-season garden tour. This was the year that I was FINALLY able to get some major work done in my vegetable garden. Some design ideas are also starting to take shape for the various flower beds around the property, which I spent a few years observing before deciding what was going to stay and go. This was also the year that I started harvesting cut flowers for bouquets, such as …

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Wedding Jams, Part 3: Ribes’ Rogues’ Gallery and the Final Result

Having explained how my wedding jam-making process developed in the last two posts, this third one is just taking a look at the three additional flavors I did in tiny batches. The majority of my fruit donors had blackcurrants and redcurrants, since those are the most commonly grown in Finnish yards. They have the most uses and a family can easily go through a whole crop over a winter, if they are made into juices and jams. There are also a few not-as-common ribes that I was allowed to harvest — whitecurrants and gooseberries. They all produced very different-looking and different-tasting jams, which …

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Wedding Jams, Part 2: Redcurrant Rhapsody

Next up after the blackcurrants were the redcurrants. In Finland, these are usually used in desserts, while the blackcurrants are usually juiced. Both are not so often made into jam, apparently. I ended up trading some with a coworker for her apple jam and her kids were excited by the novelty of it. With such gorgeous translucent color, you can see why they are often used for decorating cakes. As with the previous recipe, I used a 1:1 ratio of fruit to sugar. So in went about 1 kilo of frozen berries. Time lapse of berries cooking down and releasing …

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Wedding Jams, Part 1: The Blackcurrant Edition

Flashback time! This post is technically from 2011, but since I took these photos in the middle of being a one-woman wedding production team, I didn’t so much get around to writing it up back then. One month went by, then another… you know how procrastination snowballs. Then last month, I gave a friend some homemade jam and she mentioned that she’d really like to get into canning. I was all, “I have a post about tha… oh, wait, I DON’T.” So it’s time we fix that, eh? This was the homemade blackcurrant jam I did for wedding favors back in autumn …

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Forest Fruit Baby Smoothie

I’m pretty sure this was my very first baby smoothie, made back in February. I had actually intended to make it for myself and share it with the baby, but he ended up liking them so much that I had to keep it up after we started. Now he looks indignant if he doesn’t get offered a pouch with his morning porridge. At least he’ll fit right in when we go back to California this autumn 🙂 The forest fruits involved are homegrown raspberries (the last of them from the 2014 harvest) and some frozen store-bought Finnish bilberries (since they have …

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Applefest 2014, Part 3: Apple Jelly

Jelly is one of those things that I rarely use, but will usually stock for the occasional irrational craving (which often leads to my using a whole jar in a week). I can’t say I’ve looked very hard for it at the supermarket these past few years, but I’m pretty sure that the majority of stuff on Finnish shelves is berry preserves. Which is just fine most of the time, but it hit me last autumn that I really wouldn’t mind some apple jelly in the pantry. Lucky for me, there was a glut of apples to process. Part of my apple …

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White Leek and Pear Soup

Another recipe from Karen LeBillon’s “French Kids Eat Everything” book, which I had to try because I absolutely love leeks. Wasn’t as sold on adding fruit to it, but figured the baby would certainly enjoy it. He’s got a big thing for fruit and veggie combos, probably because of the sweet factor. This is the Baby’s Vichyssoise (White Leek Soup) recipe, as excerpted by Bon Appetit magazine. Please refer there for recipe and method. The two first veggie soups happen to be the only things that are suitable for feeding a baby under 1 year, so I probably won’t get around to cracking that book …

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Dwarf citrus in my kitchen!

So here’s something that I’m super excited about — this past week, I got my hands on not just one, but TWO, dwarf citrus plants that I have been trying to procure for years. The left is a Meyer lemon and the right is a Nagami kumquat, both already bearing fruit. The lemon has three fruits that are still several months away from ripening and is starting to flower again, while the kumquat had two ready-to-eat fruits and one that is still green. I managed to keep one kumquat on the branch for the picture, but it will probably end …

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