nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘local food

herb growing in winter #4

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The identity of the odd plant in my AeroGarden is no longer a secret!

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What is the plant on the right hand side of my garden?

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The plant in question is the bushy ‘herb’ to the right. It has dark green leaves and a thick stem.

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As you know, I am a botanist and if this plant was presented to me in any other way, I am sure I would have identified it immediately.

But the label said ‘mint’ and so I expected mint.

My first suggestion of mistaken identity came when I popped a few of the young leaves into my tea. The taste was terrible.

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Then I took a closer look. The stem was not square – an immediate identifier of the whole mint family.

So I went back to the package material. Possibly I switched the labels. Perhaps it was curly parsley. Deep frown. Didn’t look like curly parsley.

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All this time, I kept pruning and drying the leaves. My bottle of dried mystery leaves is quite full!

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What is it?

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Then I saw the flowers and took a step back. They were yellow and clustered. The leaves were compound, very hairy. The light came on! Tomato!

You will think I am a terrible botanist!

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So now I am waiting for my first tomatoes. I have discarded the dried leaves (tomatoes are a member of the nightshade family and the leaves contain a poisonous alkaloid).

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the unopened ‘flowers’ of my tomato plant (the hairy green buds) … in a few days I will have baby tomatoes!

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Copyright Jane Tims 2018

Written by jane tims

March 23, 2018 at 9:40 am

green pepper soup from my deck garden

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Since arthritis found me, I no longer keep a big garden. But for the last couple of years, I have experimented with deck gardening. This year I planted pepper and tomato plants in my Veg Trugs (mine are pop-up, foldable raised garden planters bought at Lee Valley Tools for about $70 each). They dry out quickly but otherwise are great and easy to manage. This year I have grown a nice crop of green peppers and tomatoes on my deck.

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This past weekend, I harvested my first little peppers.

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I sliced my peppers and made a nutritious soup for lunch. Ingredients: 2 peppers sliced, 1 yellow onion chopped, 1 clove garlic chopped, water, vegetable broth, gluten-free spaghetti, black pepper, basil, turmeric. Spicy but not salty. Delicious.

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017 

Written by jane tims

August 30, 2017 at 7:34 am

getting the better of … a squirrel?

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At readings of my book within easy reach, I often include the poem ‘beaked hazelnuts’ and tell my audience:

If I don’t pick my hazelnuts by August 6, the squirrels will get there ahead of me. They watch the calendar!

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hazelnuts viewed from the underside of the shrub canopy

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The Beaked Hazelnut is a wiry shrub found in mixed woods. The edible nut is contained in a bristly, beaked husk. We have three clumps of the shrubs in our yard, probably sprung from the stashes of squirrels over the years!

For my battles with the squirrels over the hazelnuts, just have a look at

https://janetims.com/2011/08/07/competing-with-the-squirrels/

and

https://janetims.com/2011/08/18/competing-with-the-squirrels-2/

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This year, I also watched the calendar. And on August 5, I picked most of the hazelnuts on our hazelnut ‘trees’. Picking is tricky because those pods are covered with sticky sharp hairs that irritate thumb and fingers.

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Never-the-less, I have a small bowl of hazelnuts to call my own (I left a few for the squirrels, more than they ever did for me). Now I will wait for them to dry and then have a little feast!

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beaked hazelnuts

(Corylus cornuta Marsh.)

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hazelnuts hang

husks curve

translucent, lime

they ripen

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this year, they are mine

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uptight red squirrels agitate, on guard, we watch

the hazelnuts ripen, slow as cobwebs falling, nut pies

browning through the glass of the oven door

green berries losing yellow, making blue

dust motes in a crook of light

float, small hooked hairs

shine

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two more days

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hesitate

and red squirrels

bury their hazelnuts

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From within easy reach (Chapel Street Editions, 2016)

https://www.amazon.ca/Within-Easy-Reach-Jane-Spavold/dp/1988299004

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

August 9, 2017 at 7:45 am

Tendrils

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My cucumber vines are still thriving …


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And the tendrils are still so charming!


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This one wants to pull up a chair!


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On Friday, I had my first cucumber salad from my vines!

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Copyright 2017 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

August 7, 2017 at 7:20 am

those don’t look like French fries!

with 2 comments

This time of year in eastern New Brunswick and elsewhere, the potato fields are flourishing and many are in bloom.

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I am so grateful for those potato fields. I love French fries, so much so that I limit my intake by making promises to myself and my son (something like: I promise to eat French fries only once per week for the next three months. I usually stick to these promises because I make them for a specific time.

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I love other potato products. I make great potato salad (potatoes, Miracle Whip, onions, bacon bits, mustard, green relish, pepper and basil). We also eat potato and leek soup regularly (a great hot-day supper). And, of course, potatoes are an ingredient in every stew I make through the winter.

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But although we love potatoes, do we ever appreciate their very pretty flowers? Like so many things, we fail to see their beauty unless we look.

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

July 26, 2017 at 7:19 am

wild strawberries to pick

with 4 comments

In the field around our cabin, the wild strawberries are ready for picking. Red, sweet, delicious.

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‘wild strawberries’ Jane Tims 2016

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If you love picking berries, or eating those first dew-covered berries of summer, you will like my book of poems about gathering and eating wild local foods.

‘within easy reach’ is published by Chapel Street Editions in Woodstock, New Brunswick. The book is illustrated with my drawings and includes lots of information about each wild plant mentioned. The book is available here at Chapel Street Editions or here at Amazon.ca

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For another of my posts about wild strawberries, and a poem about picking wild strawberries, look here.

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Copyright 2017 Jane Tims

spring flowers – service berry bushes

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At this time of year, many ditches and fields in New Brunswick are filled with Serviceberry bushes in bloom. Their delicate white flowers only last a short while but later, in summer, we will be able to pick sweet Serviceberries.

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the shad are running

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after hard rain

and thin wind

between cold front and warm

riverbanks overflow

and for dinner we have fiddleheads

potatoes and shad, served

with last summer’s Serviceberry jam

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Serviceberry bushes are torn fish nets

holes poked through with fingers

white petals scattered over mossy stones

on the river shore

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Published as ‘the shad are running’ in within easy reach, 2016, Chapel Street Editions

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

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