In my kitchen this month are raspberries so precious and perfect in every sense that, like a shrewd little squirrel gathering acorns, I wanted to preserve as many as I possibly could for the coming winter.
There's a calendar hanging on the wall beside my desk in the office and I noticed today that it's still displaying the February page. Meanwhile, I've only just this week torn away the February sheet to reveal March on the calendar in my kitchen at home. Perhaps it's because, much like everyone else, I'm so busy these days that the weeks, months (and years!) are literally flying by. It feels as though there's very little down time and I often find myself rushing about like a lunatic, to my dismay sometimes even on Saturdays. Hence, Sundays are hugely celebrated and appreciated at our place. That's when it's quiet time for reading, cooking, gardening, cycling and simply enjoying each other's company doing the things we love. Sunday is the day that I can get into my kitchen and just potter; or sit quietly at the kitchen table reading the newspapers, watching the wrens in the courtyard as I snack on fruit bought fresh from the farmer's market the day before.
The summer just past was deliciously hot, actually the hottest Australian summer on record according to the ABC's Weather Man
, who reported this week that 'a new record was also set for the number of consecutive days the average maximum daily temperature for Australia exceeded 39°C – seven days between 2 and 8 January 2013, almost doubling the previous record of four consecutive days in 1973'! In fact, the average temperature across Australia on January 7 was 40.3 degrees C!
Curiously, I really enjoyed this summer because we had had so much wind and rain the two previous years, after bitterly cold winters I felt somewhat deprived of warmth. Perhaps in an endeavour to savour all that the season of summer brings, I've been preserving more produce this year than ever before. My larder is full of Aunty Lizzy's hot sauce, mango relish, and peach and passionfruit as well as strawberry jam. I bought and froze large quantities of blueberries (and will share my friend Diana's beautiful recipe for blueberry and apple crumble in coming weeks). And when I spotted these precious and perfect raspberries last weekend, I bought four punnets to stash away for winter as well.
Now I've been freezing freshly picked blueberries for decades, but had never attempted to freeze raspberries as I was always worried that they might turn to mush. A quick search on Google recently revealed an amazing site titled Raspberry Depot
and what a find! Raspberry Depot is a treasure trove of resources on raspberries provided by a family who has grown and sold raspberries for many years. There are recipes galore
, nutritional details on the fruit, as well as instructions on growing, harvesting and preserving raspberries, and links to other raspberry sites. Thanks to this web site, I learned how to preserve whole raspberries by freezing them individually on a tray, per the image below. Once they are frozen, they can be bagged and stored for up to twelve months. I recommend you bookmark the site or subscribe to
Raspberry Depot's RSS Feed.
To freeze whole raspberries, place them on a tray lined with baking paper
Snap freeze them until they are solid
Place them into zip lock freezer bags and store in the freezer for up to 12 months
In my kitchen this month are also...
Home grown tomatoes, perfect for Luke Nguyen's green tomato salad (click the image for the recipe)
Cook books by Yotam Ottolenghi. I won Jerusalem thanks to The Gourmet Forager
New season's apples and pears, fresh from the growers at our local farmer's market
Also in my kitchen this month...
Peter found this interesting looking mint and rosemary jelly in the store. We'll taste test it with roast lamb.
And dried cherries from Torry Hill Orchard in NSW, found at the farmer's market
Inspirational blogger and baker extraordinaire, Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial
, features this monthly segment 'In My Kitchen', where fellow cooks from across the miles allow readers to peek into their kitchens via links on Celia's home page. This is my contribution for March 2013. Thanks Celia for hosting, and thank you to all our blogger friends for sharing the good things in their kitchen.
In closing, I've realised that I forgot to turn over the calendar page from February to March. Must do that sometime, tomorrow perhaps. I wonder, if I don't flip the page will it slow time down?
Do you feel the burden of being a little too busy, or do you thrive on the rush generated by stress and frenzy?