Happy Sunday evening everyone. What a weekend, eh? If you joined the 3 million people who participated in women’s marches across the nation on Saturday, then rock on!! Saturday morning after yoga and the farmers’ market I found myself quite anxious and on the fence about the idea of attending our local march here in Raleigh, NC. I wained back and forth on whether to attend or not and final came to the conclusion that what I really needed was some alone time in the woods. I don’t know about you, but trail running through the trees not only helps clear my head, but also makes me feel like an outdoorsy badass! Five miles later, and one hell of a sore knee (I’ve had IT band problems for years), the fog began to lift and I felt much better.
Ever try to pass up beautifully arranged flowers AND adorable lady farmers? Impossible, right?! I decided to support local pink this weekend by picking up a couple pounds of tiny radishes from Bluebird Meadows. A Durham based farm, Bluebird Meadows’ is known for their specialty cut flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Wanting to preserve the color and crisp of these tiny root veggies, I threw together a quick pickled radish with some thai basil that I found at the new Hmart, plenty of lime, fresh garlic, and some black onion seeds. Weird combo? Yup!
Mojitos… what do mojitos make you think of? Summer, bathing suits, rum? For me, it’s a standard mojito that I once ordered at an overpriced Cuban’eqsue bar in Baltimore. A spot where I recall years back hanging with my good friend John sipping minting sugary drinks from a pitcher. Located in a more “bro-dude” part of town, I remember my tom-boy ways, always comparing myself to all the tanned, tiny, sorority type of girls adorned in pastel dresses and beige high heals. Running my fingers through my short pixie hair and looking down at my cutoffs and chucks, I say to John, “compared to all of these pretty girls, guys like “that” would never go for a girl like me.” “Erin (!!), you’d never go for guys like that.” Bam, I knew he was absolutely correct, but my self doubt and body consciousness was still at question. Things have changed, I now realize that I too am and always have been a “pretty” girl. I highlight this quick memory for Body Positivity Week. OK, onto this super sexy jelly…
I call this my “happy 4th of July jam”. I get that today isn’t the 4th of July, but I made this Jam on the 4th, so that counts for something, right? If you recall from last summer, I’m pretty pumped about pick your own (PYO). My experience thus far in picking my own fruits and veggies is limited to apples, blueberries, raspberries, kale, herbs, and cauliflower. Picking your own veggies is so much cheaper and so much more fun. With the narrow picking window for strawberries, I had to get on it, as I’ve never picked strawberries nor made a strawberry jam before. Also, blueberry picking season just started!!
So what is it about picking my own? For me, it has to do with many things: saving money, keeping it local, helping out the smaller farms, etc. The one thing that I love the most though is the meditative aspect of it. Bare feet and a short skort I was looking for only the best berries at Applecrest Farm Orchards last week. The greatest feeling ever… Too small, too tart, too yellow… not for my jam.
‘Tis the season for booze infooozed jellies! With little-to-no local in-season fruits in New Hampshire, I was forced to resort to alcohol. Hard life, right? The other evening while rushing around the grocery store for canning ingredients I completely forgot my bag of 6 pomegranates in the check out aisle. To ensure that I wasn’t loosing my mind, I called customer service before I made the trip back to the store at 9pm, and they confirmed my forgetful fate. I figured that maybe it was a sign and that there was probably a reason for my forgetfulness: Ball Jars and liquid pectin! On my second trip through the check out aisle, the manager asked what I was making, which led to the mention of the blog, which in turn led to the manager not charging me for any of my canning supplies. “I feel bad that you had to drive back down here (mind you it was my own damn fault), so these are a gift from me because you have a great blog!” What? Who does that? Thus deeming Portsmouth, NH grocery stores the friendliest I’ve ever encountered (a cashier at Trader Joe’s once gave me a free house warming plant).
Happy autumn! While yesterday’s high of 89F was a bit of an anomaly here in coastal NH, boots and sweater season has officially begun (for me). After just 5 months of living in Portsmouth I feel as if it might be home for a while… and by “a while” I might mean for the foreseeable future (woah, right? That’s kind of a big deal for me). The people, the culture, the beauty of the area/environment (hello fall colors) continues to amaze me in a completely unexpected way. That being said, let’s see how I feel after my first NE winter. I’m really trying to hold off for a couple more days before diving into fall time fruits and veggies, but as the abundance of apples, squash, and pumpkins at the farmers’ market grows so does my canning excitement (I just bought a vintage Apple Machine today!!).
A couple weeks back, we took a field trip down to the Boston Food Swap for the purposes of “seeing how they do it” and to get the word out about our swap. Albeit the Boston swap had a pretty different feel from ours: security to get into the building (glad we were on the list), free tooth brushes and mouth wash in the bathroom, and free tea, coffee, and beer on tap (that’s what I’m talking about), we confirmed that we aren’t completely screwing it up… whew! As a last minute effort to make something worthy of another city’s swap (I really had no clue what to expect) and because I had 5lbs of ripe to over-ripe limes that I needed to use up ASAP, I threw together this tasty mojito jelly. While I’ve been known to make liquor based jellies in the past, for the sake of a reliable set I decided to omit the rum this time. I probably should have let it set up a little bit longer than I did, but all in all the Boston swappers went crazy for this jelly.
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