( Freezer Meals, Prepared Meals, and Staples )
I think about food almost constantly on any normal day, but I think my list-making is developing in to some form of "nesting."
I've done a good job of lowering our food bill by making cheaper meals and making them in bigger batches, but the cost of fruit is still way too high. I've never had any success growing strawberries (they have either rotted due to too much moisture, been devoured by "potato" bugs, or I have let them dry out too much between waterings), but growing blueberries sounds a lot easier and we get so much sun in our front yard that I think I'll order two or three blueberry bushes when I get home, then have Carl stick them in the ground by our front window and the office windows; I know I need at least two for cross-pollination, but they don't need to be of the same variety, so I think I'll get all different types, which should create some fun (or possibly terrible, but that's part of the fun) hybrids over time.
I want to plant some citrus trees, too, but Carl's right when he says we'll never get to harvest them ourselves if we don't fence in the entire front yard, so we'll probably do just that. I know I want at least a Meyer lemon tree, a tangerine tree, and a grapefruit tree; I prefer tangerines to oranges because they're easier to peel. I'm considering trying to grow a fig tree from cuttings of my mother's big fig tree, which was grown from cuttings of one of her grandmother's fig trees, but the only place to plant it would be on the side of the house, right on the street. That probably won't be a problem, because when they eventually do produce figs, this variety makes more than any one family can possibly eat; in fact when I get home, I'll probably have plenty of figs to harvest and freeze from my mom's tree, because it's just about the right moment of summer!
I have the perfect spot in our backyard to plant banana trees: right between the small drive way and the pool patio. They would be completely surrounded by cement on all sides, so they won't be able to spread all over our yard, turning it in to a jungle. I won't plant any shell ginger or bamboo in the ground, however, no matter how thick the concrete may be, because I've seen how both those plants grow in our subtropical climate and there's just no stopping them: my mom's shell ginger was never even planted, she just leaned it up against a patio railing and it took root right on top of the cement, never to be moved again; now it's taller than a one story house and at least eight feet wide and five feet deep, despite freezes, hurricanes, and our best attempts at murdering it.
I'll never grow apples, the climate just isn't right for them, but I know I can get easy citrus, figs, and bananas. I'd like to grow pecans, too, but I don't have nearly enough space for two full grown pecan trees on our little lot. I bet I could also grow a mango tree somewhere around our pool, so I'll have to start trying to sprout mango seeds whenever I buy an especially tasty fruit.
I've gotten several of Bedstemor's elder tree (hyldeblomst in Danish) recipes since I've been here and I'll be excited to try them out when I get home. There should still be plenty of blossoms on the trees all over our neighborhood when I get back, so I can make the elder flower tea right away. I also got a couple recipes for the berries, although Bedstemor has never tried those herself: one is for an elder berry drink of some sort and the other is an apple and elder berry marmalade; the apples are no doubt included because elder berries are so awful-tasting on their own (yes, I was one of those children who would just eat berries off of any old bush).