As background, I'm more of a vegetable person than a fruit person. That is, I can easily go without fruit for several days in a row, and can easily go for weeks or even months without fresh fruit. Whereas going without green veg for more than a day makes me feel low and crave vitamins. This is a handy set of preferences, given my locavore ambitions, since fruit is in shorter supply and has a shorter season than the wide range of vegetables that grow in my area. While we've planted several types of perennial fruits, they take so much longer to mature than annual vegetables.
But, oh! when I get my hands on fresh local fruit ... I do tend to go to excess. This past week my husband brought back three pints of sweet dark cherries from the farmers' market. He called to let me know what he'd scored before he even came home. So I whipped up a pie crust and had it ready to roll by the time he got home. While he pitted the cherries, I rolled out the dough and picked some anise hyssop from the garden (on which, more to come soon) for an accent to the rich cherry flavor. As he stood there watching me arrange the filling in the pie he asked, "What's for dinner?" I gave him a quizzical look and answered, "With dessert like this, who needs dinner?" Arguments? None. Man, do I love being an adult!
Then, just yesterday, we returned a borrowed chipper to some gardening acquaintances. These are the sort of people you can never do any nice thing for without having them turn around and do something twice as nice for you. So I always go to them bearing gifts. Yesterday it was eggs from our hens and some sprigs of the aforementioned anise hyssop. They in turn sent us home with a pint of their homegrown blueberries.
Now, we're rather low on the few foods we still buy from the supermarket just at the moment. There were no leftovers from a proper meal that needed to be finished off. This is an unusual situation in our house. But I did have an extra pie crust from when I made the cherry pie. (I always make a double batch.) And I had two lemons in a nearly empty fridge. What else did we have? Well, eggs from the girls, of course. Is it obvious where this is going? It was obvious to me. Honestly, it hardly felt like I had any choice...
Lemon curd tart with blueberries.
This didn't quite end up being dinner, but it was a close thing I can assure you. Nor, let the record show, did I indulge in it for breakfast today. I had to finish off the few blueberries leftover after making that gorgeous thing. They disappeared rather quickly with my mueslix this morning. These are stupendously good blueberries, possibly the best I've ever had in my life. Now I'm really, really glad I put in those blueberry bushes this year. As for the lemon curd, it's surprisingly easy to make. (I use this recipe.) I know it's got sugar and butter and eggs in it. I'm well versed in the conventional dietary wisdom, thank you very much. But I challenge anyone to take a bite of freshly made lemon curd and tell me with a straight face that it's bad for us. Go on, try it! You cannot possibly condemn it. Lemon curd and fresh blueberries together are just so right.
Yeah, I could and probably should eat my fruit with less sugar. It's just that fresh fruit is such a rare commodity in my diet that I can't help but want to celebrate it. Summer is the season of sweetness, after all. The frugal angle? Well, I dunno if there is one, I just felt like sharing. But if it's really examined, the lemon curd-blueberry tart hardly cost me anything. I paid for organic butter, sugar, lemons, and flour. The eggs and blueberries were free (or nearly so). And I have a plan to grow my own lemon tree starting next year, hardiness zone 6 be damned! With luck, that will be one more product that becomes both homegrown and local for me.
I live on a 2/3 acre homestead in a residential neighborhood. A major goal is to demonstrate how much food a non-expert can produce in my particular climate and hardiness zone, with the soils native to my immediate area. We have gardens of annual and perennial plants, keep laying hens and honey bees, and regularly bite off more than we can chew. Another major goal is to pay off our mortgage as fast as possible. Here I blog about frugality, self-reliance, gardening, cooking and baking, food preservation, practical skills, half-baked experiments, and preparing to thrive in a lower-energy future.