Eat Your Yard! has information on 35 edible plants that offer the best of both landscape and culinary uses. Edible plants provide spring blossoms, colorful fruit and flowers, lush greenery, fall foliage, and beautiful structure, but they also offer fruits, nuts, and seeds that you can eat, cook, and preserve.
Author Nan K. Chase shares her first-hand experience with gardening, which lends the reader landscaping ideas as well as special culinary uses for fruit trees, including the crabapple and quince, nut trees, such as the chestnut and almond, and covering herbs and vines like the bay, grape, lavender, mint, and thyme. She instructs how to harvest pawpaw, persimmon, and other wildflowers for your meal as well as figs, kumquats, olives and other favorites.
Mixing the ordinary with the exotic, most of the plants, trees, and shrubs featured in Eat Your Yard! can grow almost anywhere. With recipes ranging from savory cherry sauce and pickled grape leaves to pomegranate molasses and roasted duck with dried-fruit chutney, Eat Your Yard! is much more than just a landscaping guide.
Includes tips and ideas on:
Nan K. Chase writes about architecture and landscape design. Her work has also appeared in the New York Times, Smithsonian, Fine Gardening, Architectural Record, and Southern Living. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina, where she is a contributing editor of WNC Magazine.
Use this jelly in yogurt with nuts for breakfast or as a glaze for roasted game or poultry.
- Pick a sweet-tart variety of crabapple as it approaches peak ripeness, but include some underripe crabapples for more pectin.
- Yield depends on the amount of crabapples picked. Two extra-large mixing bowls of fruit, about 15 to 18 pounds, yields 12 to 16 half-pints.
- Rinse the crabapples in batches, leaving plenty of stems. Halve the fruit, place in a heavy enameled pot, and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook until fruit is soft and the liquid is lightly colored, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and strain through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a clean bowl. Do not squeeze or press the pulp, as this clouds the jelly. Let the final batches sit overnight so all the juice can drip through.
- The next day, wash and scald canning jars, new lids, bands, and utensils, including a wide-mouth funnel. Measure the juice, up to 8 cups per batch. Bring juice to a rapid boil in a large enameled pot for 5 minutes, removing any froth that forms; at the same time prepare a water bath in a separate kettle for sealing the jars.
- Add 3/4 to 1 cup of sugar for each cup of juice. Dissolve sugar in the boiling juice, and continue to boil until the mixture reaches the jelling point. Test for this by pouring a small quantity of the mixture off the side of a wide cooking spoon; when it slows and forms a sheet rather than individual drops, the jelly is ready, usually about 15 minutes.
- Pour carefully into jars, leaving 1/4 to 1/2 inch headroom, gently cover with lids and bands, and seal in a boiling hot water bath for 20 minutes.