These garlic blossoms and some extra sweet sugar snap peas adorned Turkey Hill Farm's table at the Lake Ella Grower's Market on Wednesday. Both went into a stir-fry along with some radishes and radish tops. Tough outer sheaths removed and cooked until barely tender, the garlic blossoms' texture reminded me of fiddlehead ferns.
A few weeks ago, I bought some garlic bulbs from a grower at the market who gave me a couple of sprouted garlic toes and instructions for planting them. He explained that the flowers should be removed when they appear next year: "You're not growing flowers, you're growing garlic." SO, if you grow your own garlic, be sure to eat this lovely, delicious little by-product.
Loquats are also in season. They're hanging in heavy bunches from trees in back yards all over Tallahassee. You aren't likely to find them in any grocery stores -- they oxidize very quickly and are highly perishable.
They're also a fiddle to eat -- homely skins and chambered large, toxic seeds leave a small layer of delectable, sweet-tart flesh. The flesh is pulpy with a flavor resembling citrus, peach, and plum.
I had the good fortune of being able to harvest loquats from a neighbor's tree. Google turned up recipes for loquat jelly, wine, fruit syrup, sorbet, fruit sauce, and ice-cream. I even saw a recipe for a "detoxifying" honey-suckle and loquat soup (be careful, though -- honeysuckle is actually poisonous). I made some loquat syrup by blanching, peeling, and seeding the loquats before cooking the juice and pulp down with sugar and lemon juice.
You might do well to simply pick a bowlful of loquats and give them a quick wash before floating them in a large bowl of ice-water. Find your favorite outdoors spot and settle down for some sweet nibbling and day-dreaming.
Blackberries are coming! Thanks for the tips on where to find them. A walk along a roadside verge, footpath, or woodland clearing easily yields a small handful now but not enough for a pie, unless you're really determined! Sarahkeith picked a large bowlful at the Miccosukee Greenway, for her guests at last weekend's Slow Food Tallahassee potluck.
In-season Alchemy: Pair the loquats with the blackberries for a visually striking seasonal treat. Through my experimentation, I stumbled upon a trio of in-season local flavors so heavenly that I feel compelled to jealously guard them. As a compromise, I'll hoard my methods and give you the main ingredients to play with: loquats, blackberries, and honey.
Sweet-Grass Dairy Market Day: April 28th -- this Saturday. Culinary heaven and a terrific family outing. Buy some chevre (or any of their cheeses, for that matter) to enjoy with local honey, loquats, and blackberries!