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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Reaping the fruits of my labor.

I think that there should be a category added to the description of any fruit tree, bush, shrub, or combination of same.   Pick-ability.  One star means "easy-peasy, a monkey could do it".  Two stars would be "you'll need a little concentration and some dexterity".  Three star - "Requires adult beverages and the patience of Job".  Four star - "Adult beverages before AND after, grow an additional hand, and don't even consider it if  you don't have all day."


I would say that currants fall under the Four Star rating.


That said, this year was the most abundant harvest of all the five years I've had my red and black currant bushes.  The currants were as large as gooseberries (another Four Star rating).


That is NOT a gooseberry on the right.
This was from two bushes of each, red and black.  I always get twice as many reds as blacks, although this year it is almost four times more on the red side!  You may notice that the black currants (as in the smallest amount) have been de-stemmed.  I am working my way through the reds - a perfect exercise whilst watching Midsomer Murders DVDs.


Thursday evening I came home and, in the midst of evening chores (as in wading through the dogs and cat while preparing evening chow), I stepped in a puddle of water that had pooled from the bottom of the fridge.  It was the first time ever that I actually hoped it was dog pee.  Alas and alack, the old fridge is on its way out.  Instead of tackling The List first thing Saturday, I was out the door and in the appliance section of Home Depot early in the morning.  It's rather shocking, how expensive these things are.   I inherited a side-by-side, which I dislike intensely.  I had really hoped for a fridge up, freezer drawer down, but since I will be leaving the fridge when I eventually move, I opted to scale down to the basics.


Speaking of refrigerators, mine is struggling with the seasonal load:


Sorry for the dark photo - I have
two bins on the bottom and the last
shelf is dedicated to duck eggs.
Besides all of the fresh vege in there, there are seven dozen chicken eggs (this was after I sold three dozen to a summer resident of a vacation home...), six dozen duck eggs, my large container of GF baking mix, a quart of raw milk, various leftovers, a pile o' cheese, too many condiments, and a partial jar of bio-dynamic turmeric cinnamon iced tea.  Yowser! 


The new fridge will be delivered at some point Friday - I await my four hour designated window of time.  This drives the office crazy, as I don't know if I'll be in the office in the morning, afternoon or at all.  This also means that I will be working my way through the flotsam and jetsam that has accumulated over the year(s) and making some interesting meals.  Such as Sunday's:


Frozen mashed potatoes.

Ahi tuna steaks

First handful of beans from the garden!
The tuna steaks were fairly small, so I opted to cook both and use one for my lunch salad.  While I didn't take a picture of it, it was my lettuce, my cucumber, my neighbor's radishes, my handful of blueberries, Cabot's cheddar, and homemade vinaigrette.  Next on the menu is a smoked salmon quiche.  Oh, how I suffer....


Speaking of blueberries, in my effort to sort out and find room for the fridge freezer contents, I discovered a gallon bag of last year's blueberries!  Yikes!  I am due to do my annual picking soon, so the Barn Crew got Blueberry Cake for breakfast.


It was a hit!
There is nothing like an archeological dig through your fridge.  I discovered a bottle of sake that dates from....?  Then there are the three fish sauce containers, three kinds of mustard, lone bottle of root beer, gin-soaked golden raisins that were supposed to prevent some illness or condition if eaten daily, etc.  I see an interesting trip to both the compost pile and the recycling station in my very near future.





32 comments:

  1. Is there a secret to the de stemming of black currants? My favourite jam but most hated chore. Are you planning to move!!!? And don't you deserve the fridge of your dreams?

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    1. If there's a secret, it's a secret from me. I just try to get into the Zen of it. I'll move eventually, as I have no intention of remaining in New York State any longer than necessary. And, yes, I DO deserve the fridge of my dreams - when I retire.

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  2. I also dream of a fancy fridge someday. That reminds me, I still have last summer strawberries in my freezer!!

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  3. Mmmm, my Mom used to make red currant jelly when I was a kid.

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    1. I love currant jelly, although my last batch was a tad underjellied.

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  4. Rick got me a white currant and a red currant bush because I reminisced about how nice the bushes at our old house were. I must have part-timers' disease, because I thought I remembered them being SO EASY to pick! Not....

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    1. Isn't it interesting how memories can play tricks on us - putting a nice rosy glow on everything...

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  5. the birds got my currants before i did. they don't seem to mind the de-stemming.

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  6. I just a few minutes ago finished picking over and cleaning 5-3/4 quarts of haskap berries. If you want to trade your currants for my haskap berries (to clean, I mean) you would get the short end of the stick . . . and I would be elated. Just another characteristic of those blankety-blank berries to turn me against them. BUT I am going to try some jam making with them tomorrow and possibly a pie. One tray in the dehydrator right now to see if they might possibly dry like raisins.

    A side by side refridge/freezer? A total waste of space in a true working kitchen. As you have already discovered.

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    1. You know, I think I will pass on those haskap berries. At least until you find a way to make them edible!

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  7. Susan,

    Now those are some really nice looking currants. I can see you popping a DVD in and watching TV while pulling stems off each currant. What are your plans for the currants?
    We had the same side by side refrigerator when we first moved in (already in the house), and found it was not possible to store larger containers of food. Just not enough room, we opted to find a new one at Lowe's as well.
    Moving?? You're moving? I have to agree, get what works for a refrigerator, and then buy what you really want once at your next destination. I can't believe the prices of refrigerators, you'd think with the cost you'd be buying the actual company making the refrigerator....LOL

    Tuna steaks....YUM, everything you found in the refrigerator/freezer made for a great meal. It's like Christmas when going through looking at all the food you put away :-)

    Enjoy your new refrigerator.....time to harvest more food :-)
    Hugs,
    Sandy

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    1. Not moving until after I retire, but there is one more move in my future. Then I'm staying put! I found that the inside (both fridge and freezer) were way too narrow to be of much use. It IS like Christmas! I have some mighty fine eating coming up. Followed by some mighty odd meals... :)

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  8. I've never grown or picked currants. What do you do with them? By the way, I watched ALL the episodes of Midsomer Murder. Loved them. Congrats on your first beans - always exciting. -Jenn

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    1. Jenn, I usually make currant jelly and currant sauce with the reds and then either dry the black ones or, as in this year, make cordial - like cassis!

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  9. We just had a refrigerator issue. They don't make them like they used to. Do you have a Habitat for Humanity Restore near you? Great place to pick up an old one. What kind did you get?

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    1. Sylvie! I ended up with a GE. I went to the ReStore in Albany, but it was slim pickings. Not only that, but there was so much mold or something in the air that both my sister and I were wheezing something fierce by the time we left. I don't have much confidence in anything made anywhere anymore. There's a sentence for you.

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  10. Oh my, I do understand the digging through it part. While stuffing another 5 pint bags of blanched zucchini slices into my freezer, I was thrilled to find one last container of frozen stuffed peppers. I hope they are still good.

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  11. Mmmmm...those berries look absolutely delicious! I still have my fridge that we bought new in 1993. It's a Whirlpool. They don't make things to last anymore so I want to hold onto my old appliances as long as I can. Just got rid of my Amana microwave we got in 1983, and only because it was hard to open the door. I know it wasn't energy efficient but it could heat up a cup of java pretty nicely ;-)

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    1. My parents still use the refrigerator (also Whirlpool) that they had in my childhood home. It works fine. My neighbor uses an old fridge as a second one that was HIS neighbors - and once floated down the road during a flood. Try to find THAT level of engineering and materials now... Man, you've had good luck with your appliances!

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  12. I don't believe that I've ever eaten a currant.

    I have however lived without a refrigerator for almost six months due to a lightening strike nearby, a huge backlog in ordering, they finally delivered the wrong one which couldn't fit through the door, another huge backlog to reorder and finally the right one delivered. I hope to never have to go through that again.

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    1. Good Heavens! I suppose it would be too optimistic to hope that this six months occurred in the winter...

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    2. Nope, spring and summer. I shudder when I think about that ordeal.

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  13. Hi Susan :)) Oh gosh, that sucks about your fridge! I know that ours is on the verge and I'm dreading the day that we need to replace it. We'll be moving (hopefully) in less than 2 years now and we are hoping our current appliances last that long so we don't have to move them. We only want to buy new ones to fit our new permanent home! Your fridge is SO FULL! Omg...I thought mine was filled to the limit!!! Your dinner looks so good! I bought some swordfish on shopping day, it was really inexpensive I was surprised. But it looks like your tuna steaks without the reddish colour. I can't wait to try it. Those beans are beautiful! I can't wait until mine start growing! I remember my grandma making red current jelly every year. What do you do with yours? I love the fridge and freezer dig...we found something growing in the on Sunday morning, some kind of science experiment lol...best left at that!

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    1. Did you have to furnish your own appliances in your rental? It will be so nice when you get your permanent home and get to turn it into perfection! I love swordfish but have a very hard time finding something caught sustainably. Come to think of it, it's hard to buy any food without having to go through a list of 'what-to-look-fors'...

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    2. We have one store where all fish is guaranteed not farmed and it has that sustainable logo on it. If it doesn't we don't buy it. Ideally we would use our own fish but fishing season has sucked this summer! Though there are no swordfish in the lake lol...Yes, we had to supply our own appliances here, that's pretty standard in half the rentals, especially the houses for rent. It's hard to wait for a real home!! But we're doing our best!

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    3. You are so lucky to have that store! I have to carefully read every label and ask lots of questions. I try to get my fish (frozen) at Trader Joe's, but it is a distance from me. What type of fish do you usually catch in your lake?

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    4. I LOVE fish, but it's so dang expensive now...which I don't understand too much...maybe it's my naive belief that there are plenty of fish in the sea lol...the fish in the lake is mostly bass and perch. Some people eat crappie but the ones in our lakes are so small. But so are the perch...if we had a boat, we'd be out catching all sorts of trout! Alex caught a Rainbow trout last summer but it was just an inch too small to legally keep! They don't often come near the shore and we thought about buying a boat this year...but then the winter tires need replacing. Always something! :)

      But that's one of our goals for the future, to fish a non-motorized lake for our own fish. Or if we get lucky enough to have a river nearby, we could catch salmon too, that would be wonderful! It just depends where we end up. It will likely be the Maritimes, so the fishing could be more abundant there with more types of fish! Oh, I miss fishing!!! :) The ideal would be to have a private lake on our land...but I think that might be out of reach in our price range...you never know though!

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  14. I don't think I've actually had my hands on a fresh currant and now, I don't feel I'm missing much. We had a fridge crap out the day we got back from a long expensive trip to Italy. You're right, the damn things are expensive. Since we built this house ourselves and put in all the appliances at once, I expect a series of replacements soon. Everything is 17 years old except the dishwasher and oven which the power company fried with a power surge when they were replacing a transformer pole on the back 40.

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    1. They are great - just be sure that someone else has done the picking and cleaning. Wow - I guess it's lucky it was only two appliances that were fried! Did they (the power company) at least replace them?

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    2. Power companies are sly things Susan, They did pay but we had to ride them to do so. The oven got fried, not the dishwasher. The dishwasher died this past winter all on its own. rotten stinking thing!

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  15. The blueberry cake looks amazing! Recipe, please! My fridge was pissing on the floor, too. But the repair guy who came out to fix my screaming dryer told me exactly how to fix it myself and saved me a load of money! Yay!

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