for the farmers markets!! Next week is our first one of the season here in Pittsburgh. Check when your local markets begin here.
This past summer was not the best for berry picking, but I was determined to have a berry stash for the winter. After calling around to all the local berry picking farms within an hour drive of my house, I found one farm with berries left to pick, one. This particular farm had irrigation systems hooked up in their patch and it was probably the only reason they still had some fruit left on the bushes. It was sweltering hot that morning in the berry patch and I only lasted an hour and a half before I surrendered to the hot June heat. I left the farm with 2 pints of blueberries and 1 pint of raspberries. I took this photo after I got home and quickly froze as much of the bounty, all while knowing full well I would eat them all if I didn’t . Thankfully these made it into the freezer and I will enjoy them in the many short days of winter that lie ahead.
There was really nothing better I could have done on the first day of autumn than check out Pittsburgh’s own community apiary, Burgh’s Bees. A friend and I went on a hike through a local organization, Venture Outdoors, that ended up at the hives. Our guide said there were over one million bees combined in all of the hives there. We suited up in the classic mesh mats and only managed to have one person get stung in the group, me. Probably, because I was taking pictures and not paying enough attention..either way, it was a fabulous way to start autumn.
It has been such a bountiful summer. Almost all of the fruit received via our CSA was eaten before we could prepare anything with it. The peaches this year were unimaginably delicious. I ended up ordering an extra box of peaches to preserve with intentions of using a couple to infuse vodka. I have wanted to infuse vodka for quite a while now, but was still on the fence. The idea finally surfaced as a reality when one of my closest friends had invited us over to try his kale/garlic infusion for Bloody Marys a couple of weeks ago. The flavors were rich and the process was so simple to create. When we left his house I had made up my mind and that same day I set out to get the rest of our supplies needed, vodka.
Directions to infuse peach vodka:
Obtain a litre of your favorite vodka. (We used Luksusowa; a reasonably priced potato vodka)
2 Sliced ripe peaches with the skins on
A glass container to hold the ingredients for the duration of infusion.
Place your sliced fruit into the glass container. I used my iced tea pitcher but a jar would work just as well. Pour all vodka over the sliced fruit. Then cover with lid or plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to sit for 6-8 days. Make sure you stir or shake the mixture every couple of days. After the 6-8 days, it is time to strain out the fruit. Using a funnel pour all of the contents back into the original liquor bottle. A lot of liquor and flavor is absorbed into the fruit so I recommend squeezing the remaining fruit through cheesecloth. After the straining is complete, your vodka is ready to be enjoyed!
Summer may not be officially here, but it sure feels like it outside. Yesterday we received our first CSA box of the season and I was more than excited to see what was inside. Sadly, Matthew is allergic to strawberries and I get all those sweet berries to myself. Other than the strawberries, the box was rather green. We have lots of spinach, bibb and red-leaf lettuce as well as some great looking flat-leaf parsley. Did I mention there was spring mix? Lots of salads on the menu for next week!