Tuesday, July 18, 2017

More Garden Produce, Some Wins/Some Losses

Sunday I harvested three more heads of broccoli which were quickly cut up, blanched and put in the freezer.  Best thing about them?  No worms caused by the nasty cabbage moth!   (Score one for our side.)

 I also harvested the first six heads of cauliflower.


And it wasn't a pretty sight.  One head was a lovely snowy white (front row on the right) but the others were tinged with the purple-ish/brown color caused by sunlight sneaking in through the leaves that I thought were protecting the heads.  The good news is that when I blanched the cauliflower prior to freezing, most of the off-color disappeared.  What a great improvement and made me a lot happier to know it would look so much better on the plate. 

I ended up with fourteen servings (a serving being enough for both of us) put by and ready for this winter's enjoyment.  I also saved out enough for us to have cauliflower as our vegetable with dinner that night and am glad to report it was delicious.

That same day the dehydrator got filled with seven trays of strawberry fruit leather and one tray of experimental haskap berry fruit leather.  As expected, the strawberry leather was a success and is stashed away for a treat when out and about hiking, or snowshoeing or skiing this winter.  The flavor is very much like fresh strawberries, and I predict it's gonna be gobbled up.

The tray of haskap berry leather we could. not. get. to. dry.  Finally it dawned on us (yes, we're sometimes a little slow getting the ol' brain cells in working order) that it would never dehydrate or dry properly because we put in more honey (to make the sour berries palatable) than a "normal" fruit leather recipe would call for.  Apparently, the amount of honey to fruit can't exceed a certain ratio and still make fruit leather of the proper texture.  Papa Pea salvaged it by peeling it off (with great difficulty) the parchment paper which covered the stainless steel dehydrator tray, rolling it up into small cylindrical balls and storing it in the refridge in a glass container.  

By the by, the flavor with the added honey made the haskaps taste not bad at all.  That's not to say I've been converted to a haskap berry fan yet.  I'm thinking a lot more experimenting with them needs to be done before I reach that point.  Or the bushes get yanked out.  One or the other.

13 comments:

DFW said...

Strawberry fruit leather in the middle of fall, while on a brisk hike, sounds devine. Glad your cauliflower turned out good.

Mama Pea said...

DFW - That's what I was thinking about the strawberry fruit leather. Right now, I've almost (almost!) eaten my fill of them. Although I do have a cold strawberry pie on the agenda for today!

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

Yay for the cauliflower turning out! Nothing like a bit of summer in the dead of winter. :)

I need to buy a dehydrator!

Mama Pea said...

MrsDM - I had never even thought about the off-color on the cauliflower disappearing (almost) when it was blanched or cooked. So, so happy that was the case. So now my question is: When one plants purple cauliflower, does it lose its color when cooked??

Leigh said...

Interesting about the fruit leather! I didn't know that about the honey to fruit ratio, but I've never tried to make fruit leather (yet). I've never grown cauliflower either. But I do like it as a veggie, so maybe I should try some this fall.

Kristina said...

I love strawberry fruit leather. The kids don't like it though. More for Hubby and myself I guess.

Mama Pea said...

Leigh - When you think about it (and it took longer than it should have for us!), what happens to honey when it's warmed? As in the dehydrating process. It becomes more and more liquified! Therefore, too much honey in a leather and it would never dry to the right consistency. Sometimes it's the simple things . . .

If you could get the cauliflower to start growing in your warmish end of summer/beginning of fall weather, I'll bet it would do well because it likes very cool weather to grow in. I would think fall/going into winter in your location would be good for the formation of the heads.

Mama Pea said...

Kristina - Strange your kiddos don't like fruit leather. Usually, it's a popular treat for kids . . . or us big people!

DFW said...

Cold strawberry pie w/a gelatin glaze was one of the 1st pies I ever made. Yum.

Rain said...

The cauliflower looks nice and fresh, even the discolored ones. But...what do you do now? Do you use some kind of shade cloth to keep them protected or does it even matter since the blanching worked?

I haven't made fruit leather yet, but I know Alex would love that. I guess I haven't had enough fruit yet!

Mama Pea said...

DFW - I did make that pie yesterday. I think I like it so much because it tastes so fresh and is refreshingly cool on a summer's day. Hubby isn't crazy about it . . . but that just means all the more for me! ;o)

Mama Pea said...

Rain - I'll just be more vigilant about tying the leaves up over the growing head in the future. Keeping sunlight from hitting the head is the key to keeping it snowy white and I would like to succeed at that. I sure would like to know how they grow cauliflower commercially. I mean they couldn't possibly tie the leaves up on acres of plants, could they?

Rain said...

I think that would be lots of dedication of cauliflower farms tied up the leaves! I hope you find a way to keep them nice and white. I'll be watching and learning!! :)