Monday, August 11, 2008

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Hello! I've been reading Barbara Kingsolver (one of my all-time favorite authors!). Her latest book is called, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" and, WOW, is it ever changing the way I think about food. It's all about the joys and celebrations of gardening and harvesting, but it's also full of research on how we can make better choices by eating locally. I've practically been living at my local Farmer's Market and am telling everyone I know to frequent local fruit and veggie stands and Farmer's Markets if at all possible. The huge box of peaches I bought last week was gone in three days! The strawberries lasted about two hours and the artisan bread was dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar and DEVOURED. Here is a link that will help you find a Farmer's Market near you and I'll leave you with a great recipe for apricot nectar, so that in the dark winter months you can have a little local summer produce in your belly.

my nephews stuffing themselves with apricots

My Mom's Delicious Apricot Nectar with a Twist:

In a one quart freezer bag or one quart jar, put:

3 T fresh squeezed lime juice (We don't grow limes here, but I bought mine at the farmer's market. I think one of our farmers must have had his friends bring up a box from California, hehe!)
1/2 C agave or honey
, and fill to the top with
apricots, pitted and pureed with the skin on (of course)

If you want raw vegan nectar, you can freeze it in the bags. If you want to can it, you can process it in a waterbath for 35 minutes. See here for more info on canning. When ready to drink, dilute with one quart of COLD water or orange juice. It also makes a GREAT syrup for whole grain pancakes and you can use this same recipe for peaches, too.

Two nights ago, I put up a dozen quarts of this great nectar. It was such a beautiful evening with a rainstorm happening outside and Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" and Elvis' "Heartbreak Hotel" playing in the background while I scooped up soft salmon-orange apricot halves and blended them into a thick, liquidy sunset. And the best part...I picked them for free from a tree that was begging to be harvested.

What do you have in your area? What have you harvested? I'd love to hear your stories.

Always love,