Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sunflowers, Goldenrod Infused Oil, And Other Things

The sunflowers have begun to bloom in my garden! They're so tall, somewhere around 9ft. I had to stand over between the zucchini and the bush beans to snap this picture.

My black-white kitty came out to the garden with me to roll in the dirt path and rub on one of my row-marker sticks.

Today I made some goldenrod infused oil. I did it the down and dirty quick way. I've never made infused oil before, but what seems like acres and acres of goldenrod is about to burst into bloom, so if this doesn't work, believe me, there's plenty more where that came from.

How I Made My Goldenrod Infused Oil

I snipped some of the first goldenrod to bloom and took it right home and put it into two cups of extra-virgin olive oil (just the blooms, but I think some people use the leaves too). I had about three stems of goldenrod. The olive oil was in the top part of a double boiler. I filled the oil up with the fresh goldenrod so that there wasn't any room left, but careful that the goldenrod wasn't heaping out of the oil.

I let the oil/goldenrod sit in the double boiler over gently simmering water for a couple of hours. I made sure the water didn't boil away by adding a little more to it every 20 minutes. I was very careful not to let any water get into the oil/goldenrod. After letting the oil cool a bit, I strained it through cheesecloth into a clean jar. Now I'll let it sit undisturbed for a few days so that the cloudiness can settle out. The moisture from the fresh blossoms will supposedly settle to the bottom by then and I'll be able to siphon off the oil into another jar.

Some people only use dried herbs when infusing oil so that it lessens the risk of the oil getting moldy after a time. Also, another way to infuse the oil is to take your time. Place the herbs in the oil, place a lid on the container, and let it sit in the sun for a few weeks. Strain, and voila! You have infused oil. That's how I'm going to do it with my calendula.

We have a very large apple tree in our back yard which was there when we purchased the house. We have never done the necessary things to ensure bug-free apples, so the apples are always too buggy to eat. Sometimes you can find a few that aren't, and they're a treat, crisp, sweet, and with almost a clovey spice to them. When my daughter took horseback riding lessons, she would often take a few to the horses. They ate them up.

We're considering pruning the tree into shape and doing what it takes to help the apples stay bug free in coming years. I'd better get the canning supplies out!

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