HOW TO :: Harvest Rose Hips & Dry for Recipes

rose hips for harvestingWith the recent autumnal frosts, now is the perfect time to collect rose hips. A bit of frost sweetens them up. Rose hips offer a subtle floral flavor to dishes, but their real power is in the health benefits they possess. Rose hips contain more vitamin C then most other herbs – even many times those found in citrus pound per pound. These antioxidant, red globes, are best harvested in late fall and used in syrups or jams.

Rose hips look like little tomatoes, often orange-red and shiny. They are more round than long, about the size of a red globe grape. Harvest rose hips by Continue reading

Preserving Plums – Ginger Plum Sauce Recipe

plumsTogether, plums and cherries make a happy marriage of texture and flavor: plums break down easily in cooking, and cherries hold their shape. They are both stone fruits, and maintain a slight almond essence that can be highlighted with a splash of brandy or kirsch. Plums are excellent fruits for both sweet and savory preparations. Broken down into a luscious sauce spiked with Asian flavors, they are easily manipulated into a silky condiment. The sauce also comes together quickly and will take little more than an hour to make and jar, resulting in the perfect jar of preserves for gift-giving. Continue reading

Elderflower Syrup Recipe

elderflowerA few summers ago on the highway home from a long weekend at Lake Chelan, I pulled my car across three lanes of traffic when I spotted a tall slender tree hunched over by the weight of its small blue berries. I had noticed the same trees on the way out to the lake, but wasn’t sure they were what I thought they were – elderberries. Some sleuthing in books (yes, I packed my copy of Food Plants of Coastal First Peoples) and a quick bit of online research over the weekend confirmed my suspicion and I made a vow to find some trees on the way home. Yanking my car across the road may have startled my co-pilot Continue reading

How to Harvest & Eat Dandelions

Poor dandelions, always getting a bad rap for wreaking havoc on lawns and in general being a ruthless weed. It’s true that dandelions are a deeply rooted “weed” that are a real nightmare to dig out, but it’s also true that they taste pretty good and are literally everywhere. One need not look very far to find a bed of dandelions fit for eating; they are easily identifiable. Dandelion greens turn bitter and woody quite quickly, so very early spring is the best time to harvest them. To harvest and eat dandelions, try to clip the small leaves from the plant before the plant flowers.

How to Harvest & Eat Dandelions

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Foraging for Nettles

 

_MG_6078Stinging Nettles (aka Nettles) are hot hot hot these days. Everyone wants to get their hands on some.Known for their superfood properties (nettles are rich in vitamins A, C, and D and loaded with calcium and even protein), raw nettles will sting you if they come in contact with your skin. The leaves and stem have tiny plant hairs that penetrate your skin and result in welts that sting and burn slightly and are sometimes itchy. Luckily, the welts don’t last for long on most people.

Nettles grow along Continue reading

Recipe for Maple Blossoms

Maple Blossom, april82013I did something really off character yesterday and went for a walk in the middle of the day, despite looming deadlines and a long Honey-Do list. Spring is my ‘go’ season when I adjust to the circadian rhythm of a 6:30am wake up call and spend my days juggling garden work with computer time. Fortunately, that short walk was a great reminder to grab a harvest bag and spend more time outdoors.

There are LOTS of foods found easily in the great outdoors, and spring is the time to Continue reading

HOW TO :: Harvesting Fennel Blossoms

It’s your last chance to harvest late-blooming fennel blossoms, so if you haven’t stocked up already or you’ve never tried before, now is the time. Now! 

Wild fennel looks very much like the fennel fronds you see in the grocery and at farmers markets, though wild fennel is not a bulbing variety. Instead, wild fennel grows tall and vigorous in the wild, offering up licorice-scented fronds nearly year-round that can be harvested and used as a fresh herb. These blossoms have a distinct fennel flavor without the sharpness that is found in both green and mature seeds.

To collect fennel blossoms, wait until Continue reading

URBAN FORAGE :: ROSE HIPS & Anna’s Rose Hip Sherry

Rosehips are easily foraged in fall and make awesome jams, purees and tinctures. I was recently reminded rosehip season is upon us, when I read Johanna Kindvall’s blog, kokblog, which I’ve been reading for yeeeeeears. She is a one-woman illustrative dynamo (check out my homepage illo) and I love her recipes and ideas. Her sister, Anna Kindvall (who curates electronic art), makes this amazing-sounding sherry that I think we should all attempt this year. Anna likes to use rosehips before the frost (more acidic), but I’ve always picked them after Seattle’s first frost – in early November.

Check out kokblog for the recipe and notes on making and storing your foraged sherry. And for more rosehip info, here is an earlier piece of writing on rosehips from my second book, Apartment Gardening.

“Rosehips are the seed buds that follow the rose bloom in July. Rosa Rugosa plants make hips somewhere between Continue reading

HOW TO :: Dandelion Jelly + Pectin

I just received this email from a past student (I taught preserving at Bastyr University last fall) and thought it was a great learning opportunity for anyone interested in home preserving, particulary jams and jellies in this case.

dandelion crackerRachel writes:

Remember how I said you changed my life by introducing me to the fact that I don’t need to buy pectin? Weeell, I have this recipe for Dandelion Jelly that asks for no sugar needed pectin (yet later calls for sugar in the recipe) here. My question is, can I make my own pectin in lieu of the no sugar needed? Does it really serve any sort of purpose in this recipe?

This Dandelion Jelly recipe is made from Continue reading

When to Harvest Potatoes

Twitter is a great resource for information, though some may debate. I set up a Twitter account over a year ago (thanks to some friendly plying from my fab chef friend, Becky) and it’s been a wonderful site to both read from and post to. This week, I had a handful of questions regarding potatoes. Potatoes are an elusive plant, as the good stuff happens underground. When to harvest them is a real brain-teaser that leaves new gardeners questioning their skills. With that, here (in 140 words) is all you need to know about getting those sweet tubers out of the ground and on to your plate: When to harvest potatoes – after they are done blossoming. Don’t water – let skins dry. Harvest only as needed – the ground acts as storage Twitter: @gogogreengarden