I’m feeling crabby. Three weeks of broken sleep, my mind never resting, skimming along in jumbled R.E.M., after 11 months of…well…almost the same. Except for those first two months where we thought we had won the baby lottery, with a newborn we had to wake every 4 hours to make sure she was eating enough. Now all I have to do is think loud thoughts, and she’s squirming and screaming. Maybe it’s because of silent reflux. Maybe I drink too much coffee. But who am I kidding…without coffee you would find me face down on the sidewalk, Fern tied to my back and playing horsey, with Leo dragging both of us down the sidewalk so he can spend 10 minutes sniffing at some ancient drop of pee. Too much caffeine is not the problem here…not having it in a drip I.V. is the problem.
So it is foraging friday, and I have the perfect goody to feature.
There are two little trees in Koshland park, that have heavenly pink blossoms each spring. Now that it is almost fall, I noticed that they had the little red fruit, shown above. I tasted one, and along with their terrible astringency I noticed something else. A crunch that seemed familiar. I really had no idea, never having truly seen one before, but up from the depths of intuition rose the thought, “Crabapples”.
I told my friend America (hi!) that I thought that is what I had found and she gave me a helpful tip,
“If you cut it along it’s equator, the seeds should make a little star. That’s how you know it’s a crabapple.”
The first couple of times I tried cutting one, I was using a dull serated knife, and no star appeared. I decided to pick them anyway, and, being in a crabby mood, thought I might as well make poisonous jelly because no one reads this blog anyway. But won’t you all be sorry when I’m gone! (grumblegrumblerackingfrackin…)
But when I got home I used a proper sharp knife and behold:
So I chopped them up, covered them with water and boiled those little jerks for 15 minutes. After that they were quite soft, so I squished and strained them through fine mesh, and then I had…
I added sugar to taste and simmered it for about 15 minutes more…
And it is delicious. It has a tart aftertaste similar to cranberry sauce, and actually I think crabapple jelly would go well with the same sort of things that cranberry does. This little bowl will be determining our dinner tonight.
Fern was screaming her “I know you just made something tasty and I want sooooooome” scream, so I let her try it.
I was also given a giant bag of cucumbers this week, and I tried my first hand at…
The jar on the right is before the 15 minute boiling water bath…they look so pretty before they become that…pickley…color. I made several varieties, all with dill (fresh and seed), and some other additions such as jalapeno, garlic, lemon, basil, chili pepper, bay, cumin, mustard seed. I also made some dilly beans. The brine solution I used was as such:
2 quarts water
2 cups distilled vinegar (5% acidity is necessary)
3 Tb course sea salt
After sterilizing the jars for 15 minutes in boiling water, I packed in the ingredients. I then filled them with brine all the way to the top, leaving 1/4 inch before the brim. Put the lids on, and stuck them back in the water for another fifteen.
Now we have to wait 2 weeks to try them out.
Have a good weekend. Maybe we’ll see you at Power to the Peaceful?
(Fern wants Michael Franti to be her boyfriend. I used to blast This Song during her last month in utero…above all others it is still her favorite and she blisses out when I put it on)