Wild Berries

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Unidentified Berries

I noticed a bush for the first time that’s growing right on the edge of the woods that run along our driveway. It’s about ten feet from the edge of a pond as well. It has berries growing on it that are still green. The leaves and branches of the bush look similar to the blueberry bushes we cultivate in the kitchen garden. I did a little internet research for wild berries that grow in upstate South Carolina in woods near water…but that didn’t yield an identification.

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Heirloom Tomatoes

It’s still tomato season around here, and I’ve done many things with the baskets of tomatoes yielded by about two dozen tomato vines. There are a variety of them, grown from starters that were purchased in our area. I’ve canned tomato sauce, paste, salsa, and BBQ sauce. But there’s also some heirloom varieties available around here, and a few years ago we started growing some Cherokee Purple that I discovered at the Farmer’s Market.

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According to a story from NPR, the original seeds did indeed come from the Cherokees. Mostly they don’t grow picture perfect. They have a purple tinge to them and are really meaty and delicious.  I don’t throw them into the crockpot to stew down. Instead I reserve them to eat fresh in sandwiches and salads. Continue reading

Eggplant Season

We have a lot of eggplants coming in from the garden right now. I have two ways that I prepare eggplant and am contemplating a third. I fry the slices or I make my own version of eggplant parmesan (which also involves frying the eggplant ahead of time.) Either way I prep the sliced eggplant first by sprinkling sea salt over the slices and letting them sweat for an hour two. I learned that from Molly, an Italian woman who used to watch my boys when they were very young and we were living in California.

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Prep Work

When I have a load of food from the garden, the first thing I do is wash and sort it all. The okra I go ahead and chop right away. Then I bag it and put it in the fridge. Over the next few days I will fry it or make gumbo. Tomatoes get divided into the good and the ugly. This morning I took the ugly ones and cut the ugly parts out. The remaining parts I chopped up to make fresh salsa to go with dinner tonight.

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There was also butternut, acorn and patty pan squash that I cut open and baked all together in the oven. Later I’ll scoop them out into freezer cups….

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Stolen Pears

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A tantalizing picture of stolen pears.

We didn’t consider the pears to be ripe enough to pick, and now this picture of ripening pears is all we will get this year from this tree. Apparently the squirrels thought that they were ready already and stole them from right under our noses. It’s enough to let the dog loose or set the kids on watch with their bb guns…