Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Fireweed Blooms, just for a season...
In the Arctic, we have beautiful wildflowers, Iris, Daisy, and Fireweed are the most common and brilliant here in Kotzebue.
The deep purple of the iris, and bright pink Fireweed just can't be caught in a gallon of paint at Home Depot, no matter how many times I take photo's of them and bring them in! My walls will remain stark white until then.
Our flowers mark the first signs of spring. We still have snow in a few places, but our flowers will bloom just to make a point to mother nature, that they WILL survive.
I want to be a flower. I want to make garbage and old run down buildings look beautiful. We can look at the wreckage that is a burned down house, walls black with char, insulation and floor beams open to the elements, and think to ourselves, "That is beautiful," thank in large part to the thousand Fireweed that grow around it.
We can complain about the muck and swamp that house and breed the million mosquitoes we encounter each year and sigh, "wow...just look at those Iris!" Forget cow manure, mosquito larvae is the way to go in terms of fertilizer.
The nine full months of ugly that we endure each year is fully paid back by the beauty that is the Tundra, wildflowers, lichen and the sort. Our town is in full bloom right as I write this post, and it is absolutely gorgeous.
Aside from photographing the beauty, there are plenty of other things to do to remember the beauty throughout the winter. Flower Crowns for girls, free fresh flower bouquets for weddings, fresh flowers on your table every day for dinner, and the best one yet, Fireweed Jelly.
Yup, that's what I said. We make jelly out of the fireweed blossoms each year, and IT. IS. GOOD!
Maddie and her friend enjoyed making a large mess in my otherwise immaculate kitchen (pshyah right!) and I fully enjoyed taking pictures and cleaning their mess afterwards (and licking the pot, spoon and scoop!).
Here is a simple recipe for those of you who have fireweed: (and we're going to try to make some out of other edible Alaskan Flowers too, once we find some!)
8 C Fireweed Blossoms
1/4 C fresh squeezed Lemon or Lime juice
4 1/2 C Water
2 pk Powdered Pectin (Like Sure-Jell)
5 C Sugar
Pick Blossoms off the stem, separate leaves, and wash blossoms. Add to a pot, add citrus juice and water (we find that Lime works best), Boil for 10 full minutes, stirring occasionally. The color will slowly fade from the blossoms, that's what you want! Strain the "juice" into pot (the juice is what you'll use to make the jelly) and add pectin. Bring to full boil, and add sugar one cup at a time, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute after all sugar is dissolved. Turn off heat, place into clean jelly jars. Let sit overnight on a cooling rack. You'll hear the lids "pop" and seal throughout the night. If there are any that don't seal, simply store in refridgerator. Enjoy!
Here's to a great fall in the Arctic.