Who needs candy when Hood strawberries are in season? As we were out running errands yesterday, I stopped by my favorite farmstand and picked up a half flat of fresh berries. I passed back one pint to my little half-pints. Between the two of them, they polished off the berries in record time. I always feel this surge of motherly pride when my kids happily eat things that are good for them. Now if only I could convince them on the merits of spinach…
As you know, Hoods start going bad if you just look at them wrong. Flash freezing or making jam are great ways to preserve those sweet berries.
If you are looking for U-Pick fields in your area, click over to Pick Your Own or Local Harvest. I am planning to head out to the fields with friends next week. Are you picking with kids? Check out this post for some tips.
Have you ever opened a container of storebought ricotta cheese and thought, “This looks so smooth and creamy and delicious. I am going to smear it on a piece of bread and devour it right now.” No? Yeah, me neither.
Homemade ricotta, however, is a different story entirely. It is super simple to make and delicious to eat: the perfect combo for summertime. I made ricotta for the second time last night; this time using Smitten Kitchen’s new recipe. We ate it on slices of bread with slow roasted tomatoes. It was good. Crazy good. SK’s recipe gives you this rich, citrus-y cheese. Next week, I am going to walk you through the steps to make ricotta cheese in your own kitchen. This recipe will still be tangy, but from buttermilk instead of lemons. Stay tuned.
Speaking of lemons, this simple tool (Amazon) has become one of my favorite kitchen gadgets. I have a fancy juicing attachment for my KitchenAid mixer, but it rarely sees the light of day. This lemon squeezer, on the other hand, is pulled out multiple times a week. I use it for both lemons and limes. Love it.
And last but not least, gardening. With all of the wet, cool weather we have had this June, I am so happy that I put in a spring garden this year. The cool weather crops (kale, chard, spinach, and lettuce) are producing like crazy. The peas, leeks, and beets are not too far behind. My raised beds are a happy, green jungle right now.
It’s almost July, and I still haven’t planted any of my heat-loving plants yet. They are sitting sadly in their little black pots, begging to be tucked into the soil. Maybe tomorrow (Guess how long I have been saying that?). I am hoping for a heat wave so they can catch up.
Along with planting a spring garden for the first time, I also made it my goal to start a gardening journal to take the place of my unreliable memory. I have been keeping track of my expenses and my yield, among other things, because I am just that nerdy. So far, I have harvested 6 pounds of kale, 3 pounds of spinach, and 3 pounds of chard on an $8 initial investment. That may not sound like much produce, but we’re not talking hefty apples and oranges here. Greens are super light, and this humble harvest has been more than my little family of four can eat.
I lost quite a few greens to garden pests. I’m not talking about my toddler. She actually joins me in daily rampages against hungry slugs, cabbage worms, and leaf miners. Ugh. Anyone have advice on organic methods to get rid of these pests?
Finally, did you plant garlic last fall? The tops should just be starting to die back. I will probably pick my stalks around the middle of July. Which is in two weeks. How is that even possible?!
Leave a comment! What’s going on in your kitchen/garden/home this week?
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