As I did some weeding among the irises, I mulled over the many memories they have for me.
When I was 10 or 11 my grandmother would have me help her in the garden. One of the jobs she wanted done was trimming the irises when they were finished blooming. She had me cut the leaves into a fan shape.
When I was a student in college, one glorious spring day I volunteered to weed iris beds that lined the sidewalks on campus. “You can leave the violets,” said the professor’s assistant. Fortunately I knew which ones they were. In the fall there was a call for students to rake leaves. It is a joyous thing to be out in the crisp New England autumn air, gathering up the jewels of colour fallen from the trees. The professor remembered me and the next thing I knew, I was hired to work in the greenhouse and in the campus gardens, the best job I ever had. It was not the best paying one but it was such a pleasure to work with growing things. I learned a lot that I use every day, composting, propagation, etc. The irises were in full bloom on graduation day.
My father-in-law was a great cultivator of irises and gave me many of the ones growing in our garden today. A friend from our choir whose wife died gave me some of his collection, in pots left from the funeral flowers, each with a label. The labels have disappeared somehow but the memories of all these people are present in these beautiful flowers.
Here is a photo that has nothing to do with irises; I just want to share the joy I had today when I saw that these chia seeds have sprouted.
Ever the gastronomically curious, I wanted to try using chia seeds. It took me awhile to find some but it did happen.
Inspired by a video by Mimi Kirk I made the following preparation:
½ cup almonds—soaked for about 8 hours, then drained
Chopped, blended, etc. adding water to make 2 cups liquid (an almond milk).
Puréed 3 dates and 1 fresh apricot using just enough of the liquid to do so, then mixed all together.
Added ¼ tsp. cinnamon, ¼ tsp. ginger, a pinch of salt, ⅓ cup chia seeds.
I stirred well several times and then put the preparation in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day:
What do you think? It is definitely no longer a liquid. And now for the taste test:
It was fresh, mild. I could taste the cinnamon somewhat, but not much else. My husband said these seeds must be “extincteurs de goût”. The opposite of mono-sodium glutamate I guess. I see a need for creativity, to find ways of using their properties of gelling a liquid without cooking. It could be a savoury liquid as well as a sweet one.
I am also curious about growing them. The plant flowers since these are its seeds. It is “salvia hispanica”. Salvia is sage. Stay tuned for more adventures.