At our old house in San Diego, we had a pomegranate tree that we loved. Of course, when we moved here, we lost out on our annual supply of pomegranates, though Josh does plan on planting a pomegranate tree here when he has a chance to clear an area for fruit trees (apple trees! There should be enough freeze hours here).
Josh’s job takes him to a lot of houses and last week, he came home with four grocery bags full of pomegranates! What a treasure! One of his clients had a 50-year-old pomegranate tree in her yard. The fruit was splitting on the tree and Josh mentioned he liked to make pomegranate jelly. The client said he could take all of the fruit that hadn’t split because she doesn’t use them anymore.
So Josh came home with a bunch of ripe pomegranates that we needed to seed right away.
It took us about an hour and a half and we made a big mess, but we ended up with a huge bowl of pomegranate arils!
Our plans for this bowl of pomegranate arils? As many jars of pomegranate jelly as Josh can make! Because they go really quick with our family.
Coming off the success of the Lemon and Sugar Free Lemon Sorbets I made a week ago, I have been thinking of other fruits to make sorbet with. Sorbet is so easy that it can be made quickly with little prep time.
After having family over for dinner we had some leftover watermelon. I knew I had to use it for sorbet.
I had never juiced watermelon before. It seemed to me the easiest way would be to chop it into pieces, and then toss it in a blender. This watermelon didn’t have many seeds, but I did remove them before putting in the blender. I wouldn’t want seed bits to get into my sorbet.
I ran the blender on the “liquefy” setting until I thought all the chunks were broken up. To be safe, I ran the juice through a strainer, however, that was basically unnecessary. There was very little solids left over and they would probably have been fine in the sorbet.
I had around 2.5 cups of juice, so I adjusted my recipe accordingly. This is a forgiving recipe to make so it can be adjusted easily to make more or less.
As with the other sorbets I have made, I first made the simple syrup. Place the water and sugar in a small pot. Over medium heat, boil until the sugar dissolves. How long this takes depends on how much you are making. Once the sugar is fully incorporated into the water, remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool.
After the simple syrup finished cooling, I mixed the watermelon juice into the syrup. I put the juice mixture into the refrigerator to get cold. This is something I did to help ice cream freeze better, but I don’t think it is really necessary with the sorbet. I just do it out of habit.
Then the juice mixture goes into an ice cream maker, and is churned according to manufacture directions. It will end up a bit loose and soft even when fully churned.
Place the churned sorbet into a freezer until fully frozen.
This is a really sweet sorbet. Watermelon is rather sweet on its own, and the addition of all the sugar adds to the sweetness. If you have a raging sweet tooth like I do, then you will like this one.
Our little garden is growing really well right now. This is a great time in San Diego County for plants. The sun shines for well over 12 hours a day, and the temperatures are generally mild. We did have some fairly extreme temperature jumps this week. Last Wednesday our high was only 67 degrees, but by Sunday it was about 95 degrees. I had to make sure I kept the soil from drying out and allowing my seedlings to die.
I also had a problem with something digging in my garden beds. I have some sort of beetle grub that lives in the soil. The grub seems benign, but occasionally there will be holes dug all over the garden beds when some animal decides grubs are on the menu. At least I think that is what is going on. When I find dug up spots, I just attempt to put the dirt back in place and resettle the plants. Generally, the plants do OK, but I do miss out on seeds sprouting when they are disturbed.
Our lemon tree is growing and putting out many lemons. Three years ago the lemons looked diseased and were inedible, now there are more lemons then we can keep up with.
I think we might actually get blood oranges for the first time. The fruit seems to have set and is growing larger right now.
The key lime tree I bought at Costco has blooms all over it. I planted it near the end of the summer last year, and got a few limes off of blooms that were on it when I bought it. I think we will get a lot of limes this year.
My Anna Apple tree is blooming again. I was surprised to see more flowers on the tree. It is the first year I have this tree, so I have no idea what to expect from it.
The almonds continue to look good. They really don’t look like almonds at all though. The part we eat is safely protected inside of its large fuzzy shell for now.
I really hope this plant is an artichoke and not some lesser cousin. I think the seeds blew in from my neighbors yard, but I haven’t been able to ask them yet.
This garden bed has a large cauliflower plant in it that I think is finally going to give us something to eat. There are also green beans, carrots, Desi Squash, Patty Pan Squash, Long Beans, Pok Choy, and Swiss Chard. I had some Kale plants, but lost them when that part of the bed got dug up. I might have a couple pepper plants going, the seedlings look like peppers, but I planted the peppers so long ago that I am not sure.
The large plants you see in the bed are New England Sugar Pie Pumpkins. We grew this type last year and got 19 pumpkins out this small area. There are also 3 kinds of peppers in the background, and green beans in the foreground.
The brown plants in the back of this bed are my garlic. They look bad, but seem to be growing well. There are also three types of flowers, mustard greens, kohlrabi, and some kind of cauliflower.
This is my long bed. It has a number of things planted in it. Unfortunately, this one got dug up pretty badly twice. I probably lost the carrots I planted in here and some of the green and wax beans.
My 7 year old’s garden bed is growing like mad. Some of his corn plants have corn on the stalks already. Earlier this week I harvested two of his beets to make room for the other beets. One of his cauliflowers was eaten by caterpillars so I replaced it with two chard plants that I bought. His other cauliflower is getting chewed up by caterpillars too, even though I try to look for bugs to kill on it every day.
My thirteen year old’s garden bed is also growing well. His corn is also starting to have fruit on it. His cilantro didn’t like the mid 90s temperatures from the weekend and looks like it wants to bolt. Cilantro is very heat sensitive, which I find interesting because it seems only be eaten in places where it is warm. His Black King Pansies have started to bloom a little.
Here are some pictures of a tomato plant since that is what my mom and my wife really want me to grow.
There isn’t much growing right now that we can eat, since I didn’t do well in the transition from winter to spring. There are a few things that I was able to pick.
This afternoon we had a decent sized California Kingsnake on our driveway. I wasn’t able to get much pictures or video of it since it quickly slithered into our ivy. There are a number of gopher holes near the snake, so I really hope the snake slaughters some gophers.
I hope that everyone that read through all this enjoyed the pictures, and I hope your planting endeavors are doing well.
May is a crazy month for us. Three of our children were born in May so there is always a lot going on.
I guess that is why I missed the last two weeks with the Wednesday pictures. I also had a gopher and pill bugs eat some of my plants, so I had less to show anyway.
Today I only have pictures of the three apples on my Anna Apple tree. I am really surprised by this tree. I just planted it this fall, and it is the only apple tree around. I didn’t expect any fruit at all any time soon, so having three apples is amazing.
The next group of pictures are not garden related, but they did keep me from taking garden pictures. I spent much of the last two evenings building model rockets with the kids. We are driving 1.5 hours to the desert on Saturday to launch rockets and fly remote control helicopters. If all goes well we will have some videos of the rockets to talk about later.