I am not a mushroom expert. There are only a few species that I know and like well enough to harvest and consume. Morels are at the top of the list. Like a lot of edibles, they have a season and now is it. I have been thinking about taking a walk in some of the habitat I know they like to see if I could find enough for a meal but I’ve been pretty busy and my foaraging partner is out of town. Well, last night Bruce came up from the bee enclose with one in his hand and asked if it was a morel They are very disticntive, looking like deformed brains on a stick (bet that discription makes you want to run right out a get a few for dinner). I scooted down to bee enclure to find a FABULOUS patch, right in my own backyard. There are plenty for dinner for 5. I plan to make a butter/wine/cream sauce for them and serve them over some fresh pasta. Add aspargus and it’s a meal fit for royalty.

The morels would have been plenty for one day but I had one other nice surprise. It’s dandelion season and, as my foraging partner is also my winemaking partner, I wanted to find something else to do with them. I have had the blossoms as a fritter but I leave fritter making to an expert. I decided to come up with a jelly recipe. A little searching uncovered several. I did some mixing and matching and the result is the best jelly I ever had. It’s a beautiful, clear, true yellow. I had a bit on a spoon with some peanut butter and it elevates the most simple of foods to the sublime. I want to try some with chocolate cake. I can also imagine it with some pepper flakes and cream cheese. The best use might just be slathered with melted butter on a scone.

There was nothing to it. The hardes part was pulling off enough petals to fill a one quart measure. Maggie and I did that together and the conversation made for a pleasant 1/2 hour. I then boiled the petals in 2 quarts of water for about 10 minutes. I strained the mixture twice through a layer of cheese clost and let it cool for a bit before adding the juice of a lemon. I added a box of pectin (way out of date I might add but it worked just fine), brought three cups of dandelion broth to a boil, added 5 cups of sugar and boiled that for another minute and a half, skimmed it, ladled it into 1/2 pint jars and water bathed it for 10 minutes. I may not have needed to do the water bath but I will be selling some of this and I need to be sure the seals will hold. I had 2 cups of dandelion broth left over so I added a cup of orange juice to make three cups and made a second batch of jelly. Next time I might add some dried pepper to the jelly to make a pepper jelly to serve with cheese.

My fruit trees are in blossom. It’s early and I’m just hoping that we don’t get hit by a late frost. It looks like we might get an actual fruit harvest if the weather holds but it’s New England and a late frost is always a possiblity.

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