Saturday, January 12, 2008

It's Clean out the Freezer Day!

Can you guess what this is?

How about now?


If you said puree of Eleagnus angustifolia, you'd be right! Some people call it autumn olive, others call it silverberry. Either way, it's considered a noxious, weedy shrub in many parts of the country. I admit it's invasive, but it's also delicious. The fruit is about blueberry size, oval, and pinky-silver. A large-ish seed makes it a poor choice for a trail-side snack, but the taste is tart and fresh. I usually juice it for jelly or make silverberry wine, but this year I wanted to try the flesh in some kind of dessert. I thawed the berries yesterday (picked on the NJ side of the Delaware this September) and ran them through a food mill. The puree was a lovely color and had the consistency of applesauce. On tapioca pudding last night it was ledicious (not a typo).

I've been pondering different things to do with my frozen fruit; way too much jam and jelly in the pantry already. First I thought I'd use the silverberry flesh in a compote but it looked so pretty and tasted so good on its own that I decided to can it to use on top of ice cream, pudding, pound cake, or just solo. Overnight it solidified into a jiggly solid with a fascinating, globby-glossiness. I couldn't resist poking it to watch it shake. I canned it this morning, which may have been a mistake, since the heat transformed the shiny mass into a liquid suspension, not nearly as pretty. Still, it's the taste that counts...so we'll see.

Also coming out of the freezer today were blueberries (picked in the swamp) and rhubarb (CSA), which I sweetened with honey to make a thick compote.

Next I stewed CSA peaches with Amelanchier (aka juneberry) picked 17 floors above Central Park West: another combination of foraged and locally grown fruit. This didn't need any extra sweetener.

I'm hoping these will be viable dessert alternatives to a late night snack of Edy's French Silk ice cream. Or maybe they'll liven up some Stoneyfield plain yogurt in the a.m. At the very least there's now a little more room in my freezer!

7 Comments:

At January 13, 2008 at 2:30 PM , Blogger molly said...

your never ending cooking, creating and foodstuffs AMAZE ME!

 
At January 13, 2008 at 2:36 PM , Blogger SaraGardens said...

Wow, and yum - now you can hunker down and prepare for "real winter," coming soon...

 
At January 13, 2008 at 3:13 PM , Blogger Leda said...

You've reminded me that I've got some silverberry juice that I canned and haven't done anything with yet. Thanks!

Sounds like your freezer clean out is yeilding excellent future feasts. Enjoy!

 
At January 13, 2008 at 7:19 PM , Blogger sarah said...

Today I made a killer cobbler with last summer's frozen strawberries and the last of this season's apples. I love how you can toss together 6 cups of almost any fruit with a little sugar and spice and have a great dessrt - with leftovers for breakfast!

 
At January 13, 2008 at 7:27 PM , Blogger Ellen said...

Sounds like a great breakfast, save some for me.

 
At January 14, 2008 at 5:14 PM , Blogger Oliver said...

I'll be willing to bet the silverberry would be GREAT on vanilla ice cream. And the fruit concoctions might work well as a substitute for maple syrup on hot cereal. Or as a treat right out of the jar!

 
At January 14, 2008 at 5:36 PM , Blogger Ellen said...

Exactly right! We tried the peach/amelanchier on vanilla yogurt last night. Ice cream would be even more indulgent. Do you forage?

 

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