Sweet-tart, almost petroleum when they are not quite ripe, and very abundant in our garden this year are the red, white, and black currants we planted late last spring. My daughter and I spent yesterday morning picking berries. Just a bit competitive, when she was two cups of black to my cup of white, I thought, wow am I slow. She picked all of the black currants and moved to the red currant bush; I was vindicated by her gasp at how different it was picking these softer berries that grow more densely and profusely. But together we made quicker work of it than alone, so that made it all worth while. I am so happy for the help!
To make best use of the fruit at its prime, I am dehydrating the black currants for future baking and breakfasts, maybe even some new recipes as I find them. The red and white were mixed together to make jelly, with a few left out to toss with other berries and cantaloupe for dessert tonight. Naturally, we had to try the jelly to see if it was good. Two pieces of toast later the consensus was delicious; but we were disappointed that there wasn’t more jelly for all of the work involved. It will be shared amongst loved ones and enjoyed through the year. One jar has been spiked with hot sauce for my husband to savor; I love you most, best, always!
Surprisingly, gooseberries, although related to currants, do not ripen all at once, they’re more like strawberries. And as we enjoy the strawberries fresh, so shall we enjoy the gooseberries. Their sweetness is wonderful on the tongue. While picking it became obvious that we would have more plants to pick from as the gooseberry is rooting it’s longer, lower branches. I had best determine what I would like to do with them should we get a bumper crop at some point.
The brightness of mint, the softness of lavender; they grow beside one another in my garden and they compliment each other in my favorite bath salts. There is so much lavender from this first cutting that we are also making lots of lavender sugar to bake with and put in tea. The rest will be dried for use in other crafty things we hope to get to through the summer. I have a spearmint plant, but I would like to add a peppermint plant to my garden as that mint is more potent for use in cooking. There is no shortage of spearmint; I am judicious about keeping it where I want it to allow its neighbors to thrive as well.
The vibrant color of the lavender, the intense fragrance of the spearmint, the bees humming along through their chores, poking my fingers with the thorns of the gooseberry bush or imprinting my legs with the blades of grass as I sit for a moment in the shade, relishing the taste of the currant jelly. All provide sustenance to my soul as well as my body. Yet it is the sharing of the abundance that brings me greatest joy.