Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sharing with Katrina

Have I told you about my neighbor Katrina? She has the house on the corner of our block, with a big garden that you can see from the street. I used to walk by and salivate over what was growing in there (and over the house itself, there are 3 day rooms with full length windows!). When I was canvassing our area to gauge interest for the community garden I made sure to ring her doorbell, hoping to just catch a glimpse of the inside of the house. Much to my delight Katrina answered the door and said "Yes, I'm very interested in a new community garden, and won't you come in?" She sat me down and it took about 15 minutes for me to realize that we had a lot in common, despite our 30+ age difference (as we spoke she was cooking sweet and sour pork chops using her homemade sauerkraut, a recipe I had tried a mere week earlier with my own sauerkraut).

Since that meeting we have shared recipes, preserves, plants, and walks to the farmer's market. She shared some empty jars and pectin with me, and I shared some home-made strawberry jam with her. She gave me an extra half-dozen eggs from her CSA box, and I gave her some of the free plants I got for the community garden. It's quite the mutually-beneficial relationship. Most recently, she emailed me to tell me that her sour cherry and ume plum trees needed picking, and would I kindly come over and share the harvest? Yes ma'am, I most certainly will.

The result was about 4 pounds of cherries and 5 pounds of ume plums. I gave the red sour cherries to my coworker, who promptly made them into preserves. I only had a week to process the rest of the fruit before leaving for CA, so I did what Katrina suggested and preserved the sour cherries in simple syrup.

Just combine equal parts sugar and water, bring to a boil, add cherries, boil one minutes, jar and stick in fridge. I don't know how long they will last but probably a few months at least. It's basically like I'm infusing sugar water with cherry flavor so I can probably just boil down the sugar and make cherry syrup after I've finished eating the cherries.

Also acting on Katrina's advice, I made umeshu with the ume plums. They are a Japanese variety that is not used for eating but for making vinegar, syrup, and wine mostly. Umeshu is Japanese plum "wine," but it's really an infused liquor. I tried some of Katrina's that had been aged one year and it was delish.

I used this recipe (how strange is that video?!)

I love my neighborhood.

1 comment:

Carlene said...

Wow, I love your neighborhood, too!

I've really been enjoying your posts lately, and wanted to let you know that even if I'm not commenting, I love reading!