foodasmedicine

Medlars - the art of bletting

IMG_0431.jpg

Medlars are a unique fruit - under loved by some but revered by others - this tasty custard apple-like tree has become a new love for me. Unique and under appreciated foods tend to find their way into my life actually ;). 

This most recent harvest back in early December was from Portland Community College Rock Creek - where I'll be attending the winter sessions on Environmental Landscape Management

Screen Shot 2017-12-21 at 2.32.46 PM.png

Cultivated in southern Europe - in parts of Bulgaria and modern day Turkey, the Medlar is harvested around the same time as the persimmon and, instead of being deliciously edible right off the tree, Medlars need to go through a process of ripening called bletting

Screen Shot 2017-12-21 at 2.31.13 PM.png

Bletting is similar to letting fruit ripen - like a banana or an avocado - and with Medlar, the longer ya wait, the better they get. Simply harvest the fruit when dark and firm (first picture above) and store in a typical cool, dark place. You know they're done when soft and developing a rich dark skin. I preferred cooking them up with butter...lots of butter, maple syrup and some nutmeg. 

img_1768.jpg

Goat Butchering

IMG_0719.JPG

This past weekend I had the pleasure of joining my dear friend Adam, from GeerCrest Farm, in one of their many seasonal goat harvests.

In Hawaiian, I'm told, a kumu is a teacher - Adam is my (and others) kumu; A patient, wise and goofy brother who, when he was younger, was a devout vegetarian. Through a wild incident of accidentally killing a rabbit with an oversized cucumber, Adam embarked on a path of reconnecting to his omnivorous side. Through a meat processing center, being a farmer, and working as a massage therapist, Adam has now gained a termendous amount of experience (and reverence) for raising and harvesting his own meat. 

The kill was well tended and fast - Adam with a quick draw of the knife around the neck after the goat (hazel) had succumbed to his pressure of being on the ground. We hung her by the Achilles heel, removed the hooves, and skinned her gorgeous hide. Once removed, Adam walked us through a gorgeous anatomy lesson from mussel to organ and from fascia to bones - step by step, meticulously paying tribute and honoring every single inch of hazel's body. 

 

For those of us who've not spent a significant amount of time around harvesting our own meat, these experiences can be life changing - it was for me - and although butchering has been part of my past, you can learn something new every time. More info on goat butchering here.

IMG_0724.JPG