Friday, May 10, 2013

Just add sugar.

Sometimes, I dream of this self-sufficient life, close to nature, where you produce all the food you need yourself.
I´m not exactly sure why, because when I think about it closer, I realize that this kind of life would cut off huge chunk of time from my crafting/writing/reading/piano routine, which I surely do not want.
But we can play-pretend, right? Like little children, playing mommie and daddy, my husband and I can play-pretend to be farmers.
So, within the last weeks, we planted potatoes, zuchini, lettuce, physalis, sweet pea, and several herbs. We allready do have some raspberries, cherries, apple, plums and blackberries in our garden, but since this spring was pretty cold, I´ll guess we still have to wait a while to harvest them. It is, by no means, enough to live on it, even if we added the bees and sheep we´re sometimes, when we´re giddy, like to ponder about.
What you can, however, harvest, is woodruff.
And I happen to have a friend who is a) a cook, and b) has a garden with woodruff in it and c) shared with me! :)
...I made woodruff-syrup!

And let me tell you, this stuff is super-delicious - not to mention it makes your kitchen smell heavenly.
You take a huge amount of sugar (1 kilo), mix it with 2 litres of water, and bring it to boil, until the sugar dissolves. Now you have gluey, runny syrup.
Now, and only now, you throw in the woodruff. If you add it while it´s still boiling, it could give you headaches. My friend found a website that suggested to smoke it, I do not recommend this either (though, we might, one day, secretly try it, when the kids are sleeping...psst!)
However, we only want the delicious, sweet, woody aroma, which we get, by leaving the woodruff in the syrup for about a night. We also added the juice of 3 lemons.
The beautiful green color doesn´t come from the woodruff itsself - I added foodcoloring, to make my syrup resemble the store-bought one. My friend went all natural and didn´t add any color, your syrup would then look slightly yellowish - but taste, of course, the same.
I made four bottles, but could only take a picture of one, since we gave all the others away or drank them within two days:
Now, ain´t this pretty?
Just in case you have now idea what to do with it - you drink it mixed with water :) If you take water with gas, it trumps every sodapop-stuff you can buy in the stores :)

This success motivated me to keep canning. Remember, the dream about self-sufficiency. Back to the roots and all that stuff. Well, the strawberries and rhubard were store-bought, but at least i did the canning myself:
Nah, dontcha wanna lick that spoon?

I canned 12 glasses of jam today, so we have gifts to give away for christmas... except I know allready plenty of friends who always share their homemade food with us, or are just nice, and my sons go through two pots of jam a week, if I let them, so... christmas? Who am I kidding?

But canning is fun, and I´ll can a lot more in the near future!!!

And did I show you my sprouts? No?
Glasses with sprouts in them became a regular installement on my kitchen windowsill, since everyone in this family loves sprouts, and that way, we never run out of them. Not exactly farming, but hey, it´s the right direction, isn´t it? :)

Other than that, I spent the day cleaning the porch, errecting a party tent, decorating the garden and baking three cakes so far - we´re throwing a party for our twins tomorrow, with estimated 15 kids and about 10 grown-ups. So, technically, I´ve still got lots of work to do in my kitchen... but we´re having a friend over, who´s spending some nights in our house between his exams. Right now, he and my husband are drinking beer and laughing, and I think I´ll join them on a walk outside. I feel more like breathing some fresh air... and maybe, just maybe, collecting some elderflowers... to make some more syrup, preferably tonight :)


Lately, I´ve been drowning myself in that song. I find it astonishingly beautiful. I love the lyrics, and I love her pianoplaying - I try to immitate it, but fail miserably - and I love the enthusiastic drummer, and I love the drama, the built-up, and, oh, just look at the video - they even have a dark-haired cello player!


Jennifer Juniper said...

I have never heard of woodruff syrup, I'm intrigued! That jam looks so good and I DO want to lick the spoon!

toasted corn flake said...

Woodruff syrup is hard to find in the USA, but is easy to find from Germany. It is often added, at about a shot, to Berliner Weisse Beer! I think I will grow the herb plant woodruff, and make my own, since it is expensive (shipping) to get this here in Pennsylvania! I love Berliner Weisse beer and want to try it with a traditional shot of syrup (schuss). Thanks so much for the "how do" making the syrup at home!