Saturday, August 27, 2011

Peachy keen

I can be quite the procrastinator, but some things won't wait.  Like the half bushel of peaches I picked up last night at Huntertown Gardens.  Red Havens from Michigan.  The best.  Today I froze 6 1.5-pint jars, using a light honey syrup.  These will probably be used in smoothies.  I also froze some on cookie sheets, after a bath in Fruit Fresh.  There are still a few left, which I am going to put through my sauce maker, to make peach juice as I did last year.  Looking forward to peach martinis!

My current read is a book called The Feast Nearyby, by Robin Mather (which I would link to but the stupid Amazon Associates widget is not cooperating).  The book is part memoir, part how-to-put-food-by, and part recipe book.  One of the philosophies the author arrived at is, local trumps organic, and I have to agree in part.  As important as I think it is to eat organic, just because something is organic doesn't mean it will taste good or be as nutritious as locally grown produce, especially if it is shipped across the country.  I find it difficult to find fruit (especially peaches) that is organically grown AND local AND of high quality regarding freshness and taste.  And then there is the cost.  I do expect to pay more for organic produce, but sometimes it feels like I'm being gouged.  I counter those feelings by telling myself that buying organic is an investment in my health. 

And I try to grow my own, although this year has not been stellar in that department.  For example, I planted 5 pounds of seed potatoes and harvested 7 pounds, not a very good return on my investment, especially considering all the effort we went through to enclose the potato bed in hardware cloth, to protect the crop from voles.  By the way, while the hardware cloth did keep the voles away, it was difficult to harvest the crop, especially because some of the potatoes grew beneath the hardware cloth.

Unlike Robin Mather, I am fortunate to have a local source of milk.  Today I made mozzarella cheese, using Ricki Carroll's 30-minute mozzarella recipe.  It really did take just 30 minutes and it really does taste like mozzarella.  My experience was a little different than what was described, but that may have been because I was using fresh, raw milk instead of pasteurized.  Now that I (kind of) know what I am doing, maybe next time I will take photos.

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