Harvesting the Lavender

The past week has seen me out in my (almost) lavender field, competing with the bees, and harvesting my very first crop of beautiful, sweet smelling lavender. I am so thrilled to be doing this now; two years ago when I bought sixty tiny lavender plants, I could only dream of actually harvesting my own.

Normally the lavender harvest would take place toward the end of July, but given the warm temperatures we’ve been having, it took me by surprise by being ready almost three weeks early! So out I went, scissors and twine in hand, and started cutting. I piled the lavender flowers into little bundles and laid them on the grass. When I had worked my way through the day’s quota, I tied each bundle very tightly  for drying. You have to do this because as the stems dry, they shrink. So if they are bound quite tightly they won’t start to fall out.  And then I hung them up, putting an oscillating fan in front to speed up the drying and to prevent mold. I actually used our clothes drying rack; nothing like having multi-purpose items in the house, n’est-ce pas?

Don’t they look absolutely lovely?

 

Now I have some projects in  mind for this precious lavender. The first one will involve wheat…which I “gleaned” from an unknowing farmer’s field. Here it is drying:

We’re heading to PEI for a few days, and when we come back both the lavender and the wheat should be ready for what I have in store…

A Little Blueberry Treat

Since my blueberries are still a few weeks away from being ready, I decided to buy some. I eat them with cottage cheese, put them in my protein shakes, sprinkle them on cereal, and generally just eat them with abandon.

Did you know that blueberries are not only delicious, but they have one of the highest antioxidant capacities among all fruits, vegetables, spices and seasonings. Antioxidants are essential to optimizing health by helping to combat the free radicals that can damage cellular structures as well as DNA. Well, imagine a food that tastes so good that is also a superfood!

So with all that in mind, after having a bowl of blueberries and cottage cheese for meal #2 (I still eat six small meals per day), I decided to make one of my family’s favorite foods…BLUEBERRY MUFFINS!

Actually they are blueberry-lemon muffins. Can you imagine a more summery taste than blueberries and lemon? These muffins are moist, tasty and full of oxidants. I never told my kids that their favorite snack was also good for them.

Just look at them!

 

Oh and did you notice the lavender centerpiece in the background? One of my creations…

 

So here’s the recipe for the muffins. It can also be found on page 130 of my book, Eat Where You Are, A Memoir in Recipes!

Blueberry – Lemon Muffins

1 1/2 cups milk

1 cup oil

1 cup honey

2 eggs

2 Tbsp grated lemon zest (this is what gives the intense lemon flavor)

2 tsp vanilla

4 cups flour (I put 3 white and 1 whole wheat)

2 Tbsp baking powder

2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Whisk together the wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add both mixtures together and then fold in the blueberries. Pour into greased or paper lined muffin cups.

Bake at 375 deg for about 20 minutes or until golden on top.  Makes 18 large muffins.

ENJOY!!

Lavender is in Full Flower!

The month of June has flown by so fast I just have not had time to get back to you with my lavender and blueberries project! My youngest son graduated from high school, and at the same time my husband of almost three years retired from teaching at the same school!

And so begins a new chapter of life for the three of us: this fall, my son will attend university here in Nova Scotia, the same one that my husband and I attended. My husband and I will have time to do a little traveling, home improvement and spending more time together. Life’s good.

In the past couple of weeks my little lavender patch has grown and flowered. In fact, the flowers are ready for cutting. This is early by any standard, as lavender is usually cut around the end of July, but given the rain and warm temps we’ve had, everything is early this year.

Did you know that if you cut off the flowers in July, there will be another smaller flowering in September? Most people don’t know that about lavender…but you have to cut off the flowers from the first flowering in order to get the September ones.

The lavender is so beautiful!

 

Don’t ask me why some of the flowers are white and some are the typical deep purple. I must have inadvertently bought different varieties. I like the white ones a lot!

Six out of ten of my high bush blueberry bushes are bringing forth fruit this year. It looks like there will be more than enough for a couple of bowls of my favorite fruit this summer. I don’t know what happened to the other four bushes, but I am a very patient woman (just don’t ask my husband about this), and I’ll wait to see what happens.

 

I’ll be back with a little project I’m doing with the lavender…