Saturday, July 31, 2010

Elderberry ripening

The drupes on the elderberry bush are starting to redden. The reddish purple color extends right up the stems. A marvel to behold. It'll be a few more weeks for that harvest. I plan on making fruit jelly mostly. Maybe some elderberry wine, but I admit, I'm a little nervous about eating any jam with crushed seeds. I had a couple of spoonfuls of jam (filled with mashed seeds) at a Mennonite farmer's market two months ago and experienced a week from hell afterwards. Either the jam wasn't processed correctly, or I'm just super sensitive to the gritty seeds that were in it.

Research on the web revealed dozens of stories of people getting sick on elderberry. There were equal amounts of people with no reactions at all. The seeds are poisonous if not processed correctly and contain a "cyanide-producing glycoside." So I'll be straining all of that out! The flavor, however, was unrivaled by anything I've tasted before, save for loganberry jam. Elderberry has so many medicinal properties, the least of which is a cold remedy, that I can't forsake the harvest. Making jelly is a tremendous amount of work. The straining! Ugh. But I'm looking forward to it. A good book on tape playing in the background makes the task easier. 

I'm also happy to report that my container carrots are finally showing promise. 

The ones I planted in the beds weren't happy at all, so I sowed new seeds in the containers. I have three containers full. I'm going to plant more.

The work on the pond installation is also progressing, but it's put on hold for today. 

I'm off to help my sister-in-law install "the sanctuary" as she's referring to it. She has a small patio space that is rife with possibilities. Can't wait! 

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