It rained all day. Just what we needed, really, because it's been so dry it was beginning to be worrying. The rain settled in the plants that I transplanted in the flowerbeds last night. You know the ones--they seed themselves in the cracks of the sidewalks and other unlikely places and then sit there waiting for you or me to come along and save their little lives. So a perennial salvia, coreopsis, and a few others are now safe in their new homes. (And that plant I dug up on the roadside and brought home is called Dutchman's Breeches--it is also snug in its new place. I found its name accidentally today online and immediately recognized its leaves.)
Last week on the way home I spotted a beautiful sight--a big patch of pokeweed growing just off the road on the site where a house trailer once was located. I meant to stop and pick some but every evening on the way home from work I'd forget until I was too far past the patch to go back.
It was raining and cold on my way home and I remembered! My shoes got muddy, my pants got streaked with mud, but I have two quart bags of poke in the freezer. A person needs to be careful when preparing poke and I'm not going to give instructions here. It can be poisonous of not properly prepared. If you want to learn to cook poke, consult a reliable wild foods cookbook. There is some good advice on cooking poke on this website.
I had another project on hold and it was a good night to finish it too. Remember the redbud jelly I wanted to make? Time ran out on me the weekend we collected the flowers. I completed the steeping process, then strained and froze the resulting liquid. Now I had time to make the jelly.
I had a little more than two cups of the deep purple liquid from the flowers. After looking online for a recipe, I made mine this way: I added two tablespoons of lemon juice to the purple liquid along with one box of pectin. Then I brought the resulting mix to a boil, added 2 1/2 cups of sugar and brought to a full rolling boil for about 2 minutes. I removed the jelly from the stove and stirred and skimmed the whitish foam off the top for about 5 minutes. Then I poured the jelly into jars, and that it was done.
The jelly is beautiful! How does it taste? Very good actually. I believe it would taste even better made immediately into jelly after steeping the blossoms, but this jelly has a superb sweet-sour tang similar to red currant jelly. I think I will be making more of it next year because it's very good.