Fennel Pollen Collector

grocery bag and twist-tie drying rack / pollen collection

We’ve reached the part of the summer where my kitchen is encrusted with rickety twist-tie apparatuses. This is the first time I’ve done fennel pollen; I have little bundles of flowers suspended on long twist-ties inside a couple of paper grocery bags that are just sitting on the floor. We’ll see. I’m very fortunate that my cat doesn’t like to hide in bags or boxes (like a fire safety inspector, she requires at least two exits), otherwise this would definitely never work.

Other herbs are hanging in bundles from the shelves (lemon balm, mugwort) or spread out on pie tins (dandelion roots dug up while pulling the spring garden to make way for fall crops).

A few other things, not quite exciting enough for their own blog entries:

  • It was a warm spring, so all the berries are early. Last night I made my first batch of purple jam – blackberries, oregon grapes, salal, a handful of early elderberries.
  • Lemon balm / borage tuna salad is super great. Borage is commonly said to taste like cucumber, and I’m learning to be wary of that particular comparison, because there are a lot of things that taste sort of like cucumber in very different ways. I think borage tastes more like the sea – you know, if the sea were going to be a land plant. Maybe it’s nonadienal?
  • Thimbleberry freezer jam! You know you have good friends when they go thimbleberry-picking with you on the 4th of July, and give you some of what they pick instead of stuffing it all into their faces. I hope this jam holds its flavor better than the jars that I canned last year.
  • Thimbleberry liqueur! I poured some vodka over the seeds & pulp left in the food mill after making the jam.

Finally: I’m finding that my seasonal preference for grilling and frying, rather than stewing, and definitely NOT for making hearty soups or drinking mugs of broth as a snack like I do when it’s chilly… makes it hard to use up enough kitchen-scrap stock to keep my freezer in balance. I still cook whole grains in stock instead of water but that’s about it. What are your favorite ways to use broth in the summer?


  1. erica wrote:

    Gregg just made a nice crock pot recipe that called for stock–steak Diane, but we did it with venison and fresh porcini. Mmmm

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