My Yummy Local Life











{June 29, 2013}   Apricots- edible sunshine!

So earlier this week the lovely Lindsey invited me over to help harvest fruit off of their apricot tree. My reward was about half of the bounty:

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The above picture was after I had sorted them into “ripe today”, “ripe tomorrow” and “needs a few days” batches.

The ones that were ripe right away I halved and frozen on a sheet tray.

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After about 2 rounds of freezing I ended up with about a gallon of frozen apricots for use in smoothies and smoothie popsicles.

There were still A LOT of apricots left. I thought I might make some jam but since it is HOT here in AZ- with the high temperatures hovering around 110°F- I decided to see what was involved with drying fruit in the sun. As it turns out, as long as you dip them in lemon/citric acid water so that they won’t brown, that you basically have to remove the seeds and let the sun do all the work.

EASY AND 100% FREE!

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The first batch went from being 40 ounces to being about 8 oz once the fruit was dry enough. Surprisingly this only took about a day and a half. So afterward I did two more batches. And that is the end of my apricots (or the beginning depending on your perspective). I am storing them in mason jars and filled 3 quart jars and them a little overflow in some plastic baggies.

I am still shocked and amazed that this was a successful endeavor. Coming from Florida and then North Carolina you can even dry your hair in the summer time, let alone food!

Now I am definitely going to make some sun dried tomatoes…and maybe some other dried fruits…what would you dry in the excessive heat and next to no humidity of the Arizona sunshine?



Farmer’s Market (plus cucumbers and green zebra that we grew)

To anyone who dislikes fall, you cannot argue that this is a beautiful array of colors and flavors to be had this week.  Find of the week is definitely the fresh ginger- which will be contributing to a new *not exploding* batch of ginger ale!

Here’s the breakdown:

Mozzarella, Farmer’s Cheese and figs: $14 (supposed to be $14.25 but the guy likes me)

3 leeks, 1 bunch of basil: $5

Fresh Ginger: $3.70

Bell peppers, sweet peppers and tomatoes: $7.95

Shishito peppers, fairytale eggplants: $6

Sweet potatoes: $3.25

Cucumbers: FREE to a good home (will be bringing them to church tomorrow to share)

Grand Total: $39.90



So it seems that fall is making an early appearance here in Carrboro. It was chilly this morning when I headed out to the Chapel Hill Farmer’s Market.  First thing I saw were some pumpkins of various sizes! That is a sure sign that Fall is fast approaching! Hooray- Fall is my favorite season. Not only because of pumpkin everything, but also because not being hot the minute you walk out the door makes me much more likely to spend more time outside and moving and less time on the computer or watching movies.

Anyways, here is what I obtained on this early fall morning (which was not really so early since I went to Chapel Hill and didn’t have to be there at 7 AM to get delicious options).

Early Fall Finds

Shishito peppers and juliette tomatoes: $6

Peppers and okra: $6

Garlic and shiitake mushrooms: $4.90

Fig Honey Chevre, Spicy Pimento Goat Cheese and Mozzarella: $13 (Got a dollar off for getting 2 spreadable cheeses-oh darn!)

Gala apples and muscadine grapes: $3

Edamame: $2

 

Grand Total: $34.90

 

Seeing the pumpkins made me decide to go check on the ones we had growing at the Love Chapel Hill Garden at Merritt’s Grill.  It’s kind of more like a jungle than a garden and I’ve been slacking on checking on it since we’ve gotten so much rain.  But anyways, I should not slack so much cuz here is what I found:

LCH Gardens Bounty

3 pumpkins (the plants were dead but these 3 pumpkins look pretty happy), 1 mini orange watermelon and 5 big cucumbers! That’s probably at least $15 worth of produce!

I know, tinniest watermelon EVER and ORANGE… don’t believe me? Check it out:

tiny orange watermelon

 



Summer must be in full swing because I had to make myself a farmer’s market grocery non-list.  This is a list of all the things that one should NOT spend their hard earned money on.  Not because these things are less delicious than the rest, but because they are FREE-flowing from your own and your friends gardens, or maybe you can get them wild off the side of the road.  Here are some of the things currently on the non-list:

Zucchini/Squash (these are pretty much ALWAYS on the non-list because they are also so easily frozen and saved for later)- looked like the average at the market was about $2/lb. These particular zucchinis came from the Love Chapel Hill Garden and I’m going to be taking them to church to try to give them away tomorrow!

Zucchini from LCH gardens

Blackberries (Einstein and I went picking on the side of the road last week)- we probably picked about $2.50 worth of blackberries for free- and they are just coming in.

Einstein “helping” pick blackberries

Freshly picked blackberries

Pink blackberries- we will be back!

Tomatoes and bell peppers are from the over flow of my friend’s garden, and the zucchini blossoms are from the Love Chapel Hill Garden at Merritt’s- again probably $2/lb for tomatoes and peppers usually are $1 a piece.  Squash blossoms were $0.50 each the one week I saw them at the market.

Homegrown goodness

Alright then, that is about $15 or so worth of FREE produce.  Here’s what I got at the Farmer’s Market to add to it:

Farmer’s Market Fare

Cucumbers, HUGE figs (!), and sungold tomatoes (if you have never tried these they are like candy!): $10

Onions and blueberries: $8

Peaches (Still the white ones, although they had some yellow freestones this week too): $5

2 lb bag of cornmeal, 1 lb of tomatillos (!): $6.50

Market Total: $29.50

Total Value of everything: $44.50

What are you growing? What’s in your box?  What are you making with fresh local fare? Share it at the inherchucks link party.  I’m there too 🙂

Have a yummy week!



{April 30, 2012}   Strawberry Picking!

I went and picked a bunch of strawberries today.  Here are some of them:

Some went directly into some strawberry daquaris, the majority of the rest are in line to be frozen.  About a quart of them will be held in reserve for making some peach and strawberry jam, which was our favorite concoction from last year, but that won’t be until August when peaches are at their prime.  The rest, however many that ends up being, will be available for making smoothies and whatever else needs strawberries for the 10 months out of the year that we don’t hae fresh strawberries at the market.  The goal is to freeze about 4-5 gallons.  I picked 15.62 lbs today with my friend Megan, in addition to the 6 lbs she took home.

Cane Creek Farms grows everything naturally and organically with no sprays or pesticides, which is super important for strawberries as they are one of the “dirty dozen.” The pick-your-own berries were $2/lb, so they came out to a total of $31.24.



et cetera