My fingers and thumbs are purple today. From grapes, raspberries, and elderberries. I spent yesterday out in the rain with another homeschooling family, foraging and marveling at just how fast autumn is coming on. It was gorgeous out there.
We brought home so many elderberries! The elderberry season had wound down and my friend and I were both wishing we had harvested more. Then we looked up, and all along the forest edge were some late elderberries, hanging down from the branches. We were thrilled and set to harvesting. As we drove home we kept finding great clusters of elder along the country road and stopped our cars again and again to fill another bag and another and another. We were both bordering on giddy. I am up to my ears in elder! What a blessing.
I also harvested wild grapes and plenty of raspberry leaf to get us through the winter. (Raspberry is a wonderful tonic for women. Along with dried nettle I try to drink it daily as tea.)
And so last night (and this morning) was busy in the kitchen. I made a half-gallon of elderberry tincture, twenty half-pints of raspberry jam with honey (from a nearby farm), a half-gallon of kefir, and got rolling on a batch of pickled beets. (Those are in the canner right now.) Oh yeah, and that was on the heels of butter and yogurt with more butter to be made this afternoon.
The freezer is bursting. The shelves are loaded. And fall is here.
(Now all I need to do is end my garden-denial and get out there to harvest the bushels of greens, basil, beans, peppers, and tomatoes and then I can throw in the towel!)
I'd love to hear what is happening in your kitchens this week.