Spring has definitely arrived here in the Okanagan. Yesterday, there was snow in the forecast for higher elevations and we can still see snow on the hills around us but, here at the valley bottom, the forecasted temperatures call for 17ºC today and up to 25ºC in the next week. Once again, we’ll be going from winter to summer!
We’re throwing doors and windows open when we can to bring in some of that fresh air. Outside, things are growing and will be flowering soon. In the front garden, the lovage is already about 10″ tall, the poppies are even taller and the irises are following right along. The lilacs along the driveway are about to burst into leaf and flower and the garden needs tending. This year, we will be putting in a few things; the garden won’t be as large as it has been in previous years, that’s for sure, but we do want to put in a few things… peas, beans, a few tomatoes, some potatoes… things like that. I’d also like to set up a bit of a “tea garden” with a few plants I can use to make my own tea blends (i.e. chamomile, mint, and whatever else I can think of).
In the interim, more fermentation has been happening inside. My kombucha and water kefir are both humming along now. I’ve changed my process slightly with the last couple of batches. Instead of a first and second ferment, I’ve added a step; after the first fermentation, I’m adding a flavouring ferment. The first fermentation is put into a mason jar large enough to accommodate the entire batch (a half gallon jar) and flavoured with whatever I want to flavour it with (i.e. blueberries and mango or blueberries and lavender, which I’ve done so far). I cover it and allow it to sit for a day or two before straining out the fruit and bottling the drink for its final fermentation. As much as I like the fruit, I really don’t like having pieces of fruit floating in my drink. I find I get better carbonation and the flavours mellow out better.
This week, I also started a couple more ferments. I have another jar of sauerkraut fermenting on my sideboard and a jar of Beet, Cabbage, and Onion kvass in the spare room. Both were started yesterday and are already burbling away, doing what they do. On my kitchen counter, the jar of Cranberry Relish is ready to sample; I’ll be picking up some nice crackers and goat cheese to go along with it.
My sourdough starter continues to thrive and the bread I’m making is certainly appreciated around here. Yesterday, I made a loaf of Sourdough Raisin and Cinnamon Swirl bread; between the two of us, we’re down to half a loaf already. It has been declared a “Keeper”. It won’t be long before I make another loaf; I’ll have to pick up some Gouda cheese. One of my favourite snacks is raisin toast with Gouda cheese; they go together so well!
I’ll probably be making another couple of loaves of Sourdough Sandwich bread this weekend; we both like it for our lunches.
Now, I’m going to get outside and enjoy the sunshine; it feels like it’s been a long time coming.