The strawberry field is long beyond its season, but I discovered the delicacies of left-over strawberries, dried to a chewy raisin, with a concentrated tangy flavor which explodes in your mouth. There were enough left for a small quart-sized ziplock bag. Perfect for this winter’s ice-cream parfaits.
The blackberries have just finished up, but my freezer is about packed full of the bounty, collected over the last month. Some of the rosehips are ripening - Nature’s own little vitamin C pills – but much tastier. My favorite are the ones that have a bit of a lemony zest. And then there are the stray plums and apples, unsprayed, half-wild, and usually wind-fall -but perfect for making apple cider.
This is the time to harvest walnuts – those green golf-ball sized things which can make walking a regular obstacle course. But, allowed to dry, the green skin turns brown and can be peeled off. It is messy, and every year I remember to put on gloves AFTER my fingers are thoroughly stained. Keep the walnuts dry, and you can enjoy them throughout the winter.... to say nothing of the rather amazing crafts you can make with walnut shells.
Another little morcel underfoot is the dandelion. It has cooled off enough here so that the young leaves are not too bitter, but the bigger leaves can be juiced. The root can be dug up, cleaned and used for tea – either fresh or roasted. All the dandelion parts are good for your liver – and apparently one in three Americans suffer from a Non-Alcohol Fatty Liver Disease. Our liver is the filter for toxins – so a good thing to clean out every once in a while.
As for the rest of the harvest - this is what gardening friends are for. They’ve just about had their fill of zucchini, Swiss chard, and beets. So I offer my services as the recipient of good things, and enjoy the harvest.