My Mercury Must Be in Retrograde

Today was not my day to be in the kitchen, or in the fields.

My plan was to go pick a bushel of blackberries to can some jam, jelly, syrup, and pie filling. I even checked last night to make sure the farm was open today; I’m glad I did because their website said today was the last day of the season.

After my writing Meetup, I got on the road to Vigo County, close to Terre Haute. It isn’t a bad drive and gave me time to think, reflect, and be excited about fresh blackberries.

The universe had other plans because when I got to the driveway of the farm, there was a sign. A sign is often not a good sign when at the end of a driveway. The sign said closed, please come back again, with a number to call for information. Well, I called the number to see why they had closed and would they be open later in the day. I got a machine. After looking at their website again to make sure I hadn’t missed anything, I saw there was another number I could call. That number had a machine at the end too. So I headed home.

My backup plan, developed on the drive home, was to stop at Beasley’s Farm because I remembered they had some blackberries when we went last week for apples. The berries may not have been picked by my own hands, but at least it wouldn’t be a bust for the day.

Wouldn’t you know it, they had exactly three pints left! They did say they were expecting more mid-week, to call back to check (already set an alarm to call back as I really want some blackberries to can). Although they didn’t have enough blackberries, they did have some fresh blueberries. I went ahead and bought five pounds of them; new canning plan is blueberries tomorrow.

When I got home, I wanted to make some zucchini Parmesan chips with my farm fresh zucchini. A friend had mentioned she had made some recently, which sounded delicious. The Food Network in the Kitchen app had just the recipe. I followed the recipe and put the chips in the oven for 25-minutes, the low end of the baking time the recipe said to do. At 15-minutes I checked to make sure things looked fine. They did and hadn’t started to fully crisp up yet. Figured it would take the 10- to 15-minutes more as stated. However, when the timer went off 10-minutes later, they had burned to a crisp. Not a one salvageable.

While the chips were baking, I decided to try the new air fryer’s dehydration setting. We had some apples left from last weekend, and a pear in the fruit bowl we keep on hand. Unfortunately, the apples had started to dry out (fresh don’t always last as long as store bought). As I went to throw the remaining apples away, I found one I had bought at the store, which was still in good shape. This one, along with one that seemed okay from the fresh batch, were sliced and ready to go in the air fryer. There was a pear in the bowl as well, which I also sliced to dehydrate.

Everything went in, timer set to four hours at 130º. At the half-way mark, I rotated the trays to ensure consistency of bake. Four hours later, the timer goes off, I pull out the trays, and bam, another bit of disaster. The store bought apple, being a little more preserved, came out great. The pear and farm apple, disaster. They fell apart, or stuck to the tray enough, to make them unusable.

Couple of lessons for the day. Don’t try to cook or bake on August 8 again. If driving to Timbuktu for fresh produce or fruit, call ahead before leaving. When making zucchini chips, watch them closely after the 15-minute mark. Freshest fruit is best when trying to dehydrate.

After all the disasters of the day, I’m off to take a nap.

Everything seems better after a nap, right!?

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