Thursday, August 7, 2014

Elderberry jelly and garden maintenance

About a week back I ran across some red elderberry bushes while on a walk. I recall seeing these last year but forgetting to come back and identify them. Jess and I went back with buckets earlier this week to forage up some.

Red elderberries have an uneven reputation. After much flipping through books and websites, the crux seems to be that the seeds need to be extracted before eating and unripe berries should be avoided. Some books also suggested boiling the berries--but it was unclear of that was in lieu of or in addition to de-seeding.

Queue jellymaking, which removes the seeds and boils the juice. A pail and a half of berries yielded almost one-and-a-half cups of juice. I added some lemon, sugar and apples (for pectin) and off I went.

The result smells a bit tomato-y and a bit lemony and tastes nice enough. I'm not sure if it has set up yet (still cooling). A small number of folks report an emetic effect--I'll update if that turns out to be the case for us!

We also pulled in the storage onions over the past few days. The yellow ones are curing in a sack hung under the deck. The white ones are either being eaten or dried for soup-making in the winter. I took the opportunity to move things around in the back bed along the garage--switching from three rows to two and adding an entrance in the spot where I found myself stepping over the rows this summer.

I then planted some buckwheat in the open spots (there are still some beets, peas and kale going on the right and at the back). If the weather holds, we're going to take advantage of the cool and go raspberry picking tomorrow.

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