I grew up in the Pacific Northwest of the US. I grew up in grey drizzly falls, cold wet winters, and misty meadow spring times. Summers in the PNW are a magical time. Days that seem to last for weeks full of gorgeous sunshine, emboldened life all around, and crisp cool nights full of hoodies and jeans after the sun goes down.
I’ve been in Texas for more than eight years now. Today is our second or third day of drizzle. Cold (for Texas) and days (instead of minutes, or hours) of rain. I honestly forgot what it was like to live someplace where outdoor activities were restricted by the wet and the soggy. In the PNW, there is no such thing as “too hot.” I loved the 105 degree August days. On the rare occasions where the thermometer in the vineyard would break 110, I would bask in the heat. Literally. Over the last few years, Texas has inculcated my flesh and understanding of “too hot.” I’ve acclimated. Anything under 70 degrees and I wear a hoodie. (Hoodies used to be reserved for anything 25-50 degrees, and coats were only used for particularly hard rains, or extending periods of playing in the snow.) In contrast, jeans and long sleeves in the 70s feels fine. I am not a true Texan, who will still wear jeans and long sleeves comfortably when the mercury has added a third digit to the scale.
Today I found myself in an odd place. I had forgotten what to do when it rained for days. Last night, I baked. Today, we went shopping. (Shopping! I never go shopping.) Hoping the winds blustering about would carry the rains west to the desert, to the peach farmers, to the wild flower fields, and give me a sunny gap of an afternoon. It was not to be.
What to do?
Well, there were those 8-10 pounds of apples we’d been hanging onto for worringly-possibly too long…
DH, months ago, took it upon himself to buy some organic apples (I forget if they were Braeburn, Fuji, or Gala, or a mixture), peel them, and blend them with some blackberries and honey into an applesauce. I was ecstatic. It was delicious. And it was portion-sized out in the freezer such that if I caught it just-so in the thawing process, I had the most delicious fruit slush snack.
About six weeks ago, organic Fuji apples went on sale again. $0.83/pound. We bought as many as we thought we would peel, which ended up to be about 8-10 pounds. And promptly forgot about them. Work ate me, school and work combined to swallow DH whole, and here we are.
Apples – peeled, cored, and roughly chopped. (You don’t have to peel them if you don’t want to. Apple peels tend to upset my stomach, we we compost them.)
Honey – a spoonful per blenderful is all you need.
Blackberries (or other flavoring) – about a handful per blenderful.
Or, if you’re a visual person:
Blend, and pour.
Stack ’em up, and freeze all but the one you want to eat first (in this case, the glass one will stay in the fridge.)
We ran out of blackberries (or so we thought, before we checked the deep freezer) and DH did what he does best – gets a crazy idea, that just might work, that turns out deliciously. In this case? A ‘Rita Ringo Sauce. (Fun fact of the day: Ringo is Japanese for apple.)
Lime juice (from two limes), honey, and apples. After a quick taste test, I wonder if I shouldn’t add a splash of tequila, freeze some in a Popsicle tray, and wait for summer!
And, because I couldn’t help myself…
Texas’s state flower is the Bluebonnet. Something I recently learned, is that blue is the dominant gene for the flower, but not the only one. I actually saw these lovely flowers for sale last spring at the grocery store. Last spring I had yet to install my garden bed, and every pot already had a tenant. Last spring, I passed on bringing these home. This year, I had so many places I could put it, that I succumbed to the desire. I did only buy one pot, currently on my kitchen counter, but may just have to go back and get 2-4 more to round out the native bed I started.
What do you do when rain comes during your garden time?