Thoughts, ramblings, experiences and joys of an Alaska girl. Home is where the heart is, and my heart is firmly rooted in the Great Land of Alaska.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Bounties of Summer

There is one thing we have in abundance right now: budding plantlife. The spruce trees in my back yard are bursting with new, green budding ends. The hillsides are awash with purples, pinks, and more yellow than imaginable. I love walking outside and looking down the mountainside every day, being greeted with a new color or a new plant. This time last month, the hillside was covered with newly fallen snow and we wondered if winter would ever end. Now, with the prolonged hours of sunlight, the hillside is alive once again.

I've decided to try my hand at making dandelion jelly and spruce tip jelly this year. Last year, I made crowberry jelly (didn't set right, but that won't stop me from trying again this year), red currant jelly (my son's new favorite), blueberry jam (tip: don't blend the fruit in a blender before jarring, it ends up a wonderful syrup, but not anywhere close to jelly or jam), strawberry/rhubarb jam (rhubarb plants love Alaska... they literally grow like weeds) fireweed jelly (amazingly delicious and light), and highbush cranberry jelly (this didn't set well either, and just a warning, it smells horrible when you are boiling the berries).

While I'm waiting for August when the prime berry season begins, I'll take what the season is bountifully giving at the moment, and head to the trees and weeds and see what I can make of them. Wish me luck! I'll post back after I've jarred the goodies and can share my "wares."

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