I had no idea that okra had such a beautiful flower. This is an heirloom variety, Bowling Red okra, originating from the Bowling family of Virginia in the 1920s.
It’s been over three weeks since our last post and since that time, our appreciation and understanding of this new farm life has changed, in most ways for the better. You could say that we got into a bit of a jam – part of our silence has been the immersion in renovation projects and part of it attributed to a nasty case of Lyme disease. I never understood what a wicked affliction it could be until the multiple doctor appointments where it was misdiagnosed, time in the ER, and the discovery of its ability to attack the body neurologically. Thank goodness it was caught early enough and meds are underway. Unfortunately, it knocked us off track just slightly – and probably made me lose several many pounds of blackberries that I could have been picking! (But as I learned yesterday, there are now more berries than there were a month ago.)
And speaking of being in a jam, even with the minor loss of blackberry potential, we were able to preserve about fifteen pounds of berries using one of my favorite recipes. It’s simple, it lets the sugars do all of the work, and adds just a minor amount of lemon juice for balance. In one variety, we steeped a few sprigs of lemon balm that grows wildly on the property in the cooked jam. That batch was definitely my favorite, adding a very subtle hint of lemon. Those of you who know how much I love jam will know that fifteen pounds won’t go that far… it’s a good thing there are plenty more to pick!
And what can I say, of course we set up a blind taste test to ensure the quality of our product. In each trial, the unknowing lab rats identified batches C and D as their favorites. I can only infer that this means we got better as we progressed!
Now we are waiting on the hardy (trifoliate) oranges that will ripen in early fall. I’m already planning a devilish marmalade – something to pair with the intensity of those thorns!
All in all, we are getting back on track and taking each summer day as it comes. And jam really does make everything better.