Thursday, June 25, 2015

Herb Garden in June

We have had so much rain this spring, that everything is just simply LUSH.  We've been harvesting herbs for a while now, some of them have had two cuttings!  Of course weeding takes a lot longer, as they are very lush as well :)  Here are some favorite views from our "kitchen garden":

oregano in the front left,
then 3 sages in the middle,
parsley and thyme in the back
sweet alyssum with geraniums

mint and lavender drying
in the kitchen
lavender (left), tarragon (right)
daisies and roses in the background

Monday, June 22, 2015

Mixed Berry Bread-Pudding

Here is another great use for mixed berries fresh out of the garden: bread pudding!

  • Butter for the casserole dish
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1.5 - 2 cups of sugar (depending on the tartness of the berries used)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups mixed berries (for this batch I used red and black raspberries and blueberries in season)
  • 8 cups dense bread cubes (I used left over home made dinner rolls from last night)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and butter a casserole or 9x13 baking dish.  Whisk the eggs, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla in a large mixing bowl until smooth.  Blend in the milk and cream and then carefully mix in the berries.  Add the bread cubes and let them soak for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Then our the mixture into the prepared pan and bake 55 to 60 minutes, until a knife inserted comes out clean.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream for a perfect  midsummer eve.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Grape Update

Vidal Blanc
Our grapes look amazing this year. The Chambourcin and Vidal Blanc vines are loaded with fruit, and the newer vines (Chardonel, Corot Noir and Concord) are growing nicely.

We worked on the trellis for the Corot Noir vines, which were just planted a few weeks ago.  We need to get the wires strung, so we can tie up the young grapevines!


Drilling Post Holes
Sharpened Fence Posts

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Mixed Berry Jam

Raspberries and blueberries are ripening right now and this morning's picking was perfect for a batch of mixed berry jam.  I use the Sure.Jell low sugar recipe, following basic directions for blackberry jam, only I modified the ingredients to match the fruit I had on hand:

Nearly Seedless Mixed Berry Jam Recipe:

  • 3 cups prepared seedless black raspberry puree  (i.e. heat the cleaned blackberries and run them through a food mill with a berry screen)
  • 1 cup smashed red raspberries (these will have seeds)
  • 2 cups smashed (not pureed) blueberries
  • 4 cups of sugar
  • 1 box of low sugar Sure.Jell
Wash jelly jars, heat lids and have the matching rings ready.

Follow directions for making cooked jam:  measure the sugar and use 1/4 cup of this to mix in with the Sure.Jell powder.  Place all the measured fruit into a large pot, add the sugar/Sure.Jell mix to the fruit and bring it to a full boil (one that cannot be stirred down).  Make sure that the sugar mixture is blended in and that there are no clumps.  When the fruit reaches a full boil, add the remaining sugar and return to a full boil.  Once the full boiling point is reached, boil for exactly 1 minute.

Pour hot jam into prepared jelly jars, wipe rims, adjust lids and place filled jars in a water bath, bring to boil and boil for 10 minutes.  Remove jars and let cool overnight before removing rings.

Yields about 7 half pints of rather thick, amazingly good jam.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

A Week at the Beach

A whole week in Hilton Head Island - Tina, Jeff, Lars and Toben!!  What a blast...played all day  and fished all night.

Massive Storm System  Approaches
Calm After the Storm