It’s a scorcher out there today so I thought I’d share my recipe for a favourite summer refresher. I just came indoors after a full day out in the garden and this drink was exactly the right cool down treat.
- 1 frozen banana, chopped
- 1 cup frozen strawberries
- 2-3 cups chocolate rice milk (less milk makes a thicker shake)
- 1/2 cup plain yoghurt (this is optional but makes a smoother drink)
- Optional: 1 tbsp cocoa powder (makes an extra chocolatey drink)
1. Place all ingredients into a blender and blend.
2. Pour into a chilled glass.
We enjoyed our first ripe strawberry of the season this morning. Nothing beats the sweet, sweet deliciousness of an organic, homegrown strawberry. Strawberries are probably the easiest fruit to grow in containers and do very well in hanging baskets, strawberry pots, or window boxes on sunny decks and balconies. I give mine little more than a little sea kelp and vermicompost (worm poo) fertilizer now and again and am sure to keep the soil consistently moist without drying out. The hybrids can take a bit of drought but I try not to push the plants too hard in order to get as much juicy, sweet fruit as possible.
This year I am growing both a pink flowering and a white flowering, everbearing hybrid that will produce two crops of berries, one this month and the second in late-summer/early-fall. Our first strawberry actually came from the canister plant but I missed getting a snap of it in Davin’s eagerness to taste. With today’s heat and humidity the berry shown in the above image should be ready by this evening!
What to do with a lone strawberry plant leftover from another soon-to-be-revealed project, a small flat of red violas ($3.50 for 16 plants!), and an old coffee canister that was thrifted as part of a 70s era fake woodgrain 4 part kitchen canister set?
Put them together!
I figure the red viola flowers will look great alongside the red strawberries and everything is edible. I poked holes in the bottom of the canister using a large, and very dangerous nail left behind by the dudes who installed new gutters on our building, filled the new “pot” with container soil, and mulched the top using shards from a terracotta pot that broke in transit — nothing is wasted! And to think I used to smirk at my grandmother’s tendancy to hourd Swiss Chalet containers and plastic bread ties — there was a lot of useful crap in those drawers!
It’s been about a week since I planted this up and I’ve already got little strawberries forming and new flowers in bloom.
Total cost about $2.
In the spirit of Be Nice to Nettles Week, we tried our hand at a batch of nettle soup using the site recipe as a basis. Let me tell you that a half pound of nettles is a whole lot more than you’d expect. I harvested enough young nettles (stems included) to fill a small plastic bag however once the stems and not so great parts were removed it came out to just slightly over 1/4 pound. Here’s what that looks like:
Just a reminder to protect your hands with gloves at any point in the process that involves touching any part of the fresh nettles including leaves and stems. The plant will lose its sting once cooked, but can get you at anytime when fresh, even when soaking under water.
The recipe seemed a little too bland so I chopped and added half a small onion before adding the nettles. We did not have sour cream or yoghurt on hand so I garnished mine with bits of smoked trout bought at my local farmer’s market. The soup was really good, tasting very much like vichyssoise. In fact I ate the leftovers cold. The geek in me was very satisfied that a portion of this meal was collected/foraged from the out-of-doors. Over the last year I’ve come back full circle to an early interest in wild foods and edible weeds that I haven’t really indulged since I was a teenager foraging for plants with “Edible Weeds of Canada” tucked under my arm.
Next up: Garlic Mustard.
You can’t beat an early spring harvest courtesy of cold-hardy perennials. I’ve barely done anything in the garden and I’m already raking in the food stuffs!
Clockwise from top right: Onions, dandelion greens, garlic chives, chives, lemon balm.
These chives have been growing in a large galvanized wash basin on my rooftop deck for several years. They always survive whatever winter throws at them and are the first thing up in the spring. Buds are starting to show which means that chive blossoms aren’t far off.
This is only the beginning of lemon balm (aka lemon bomb!) season at the community garden. The trick of it is to catch it early and harvest the tender leaves before flowers make an appearance.
My French sorrel (another early riser) inexplicably disappeared this year so I walked over to the garden early this evening and popped a new one into the ground.