Blueberry Honey Lemon Tart

Berry season, guys. It’s my happy place. I typically fail at sharing evidence of the berry production on my property because I am too busy shoveling berries into my face. Often times, our berries don’t even make it into something fancy. They’re usually consumed before I make it into the house.

The struggle is real.

Blueberry Bush

These lovely blueberries were bestowed upon us by the Handyman’s coworker and fellow garden enthusiast. Who has so many berries they can give them away in droves??? I need to level up my life.

Bluebs

But I’ll just start with this tart.

I love a recipe so simple that the majority of the ingredients are in the name, don’t you? Bonus points when you don’t even have to go to the store to pick up any ingredients.

Tart Ingredients

I’m a pretty non-fussy baker… Which means I just press out a crust and call it good. I have little desire to expend energy making a perfectly pleated crust. Luckily, that is totally acceptable now, as long as you market it properly. Just add a trendy word or six to the title when you take it to dinner parties for everyone to fawn over. Example: Rustic Organic Blueberry Lemon tart with Local Honey and Artisan Whole Wheat Crust. The longer and more descriptive the name, the more  pretentious  delicious it will taste.

Let me know how that goes for you. Anyway, with no further adieu…

Blueberry Honey Lemon Tart

Blueberry Honey Lemon Tart

Crust (yields 2, freeze one for future, effortless tart making)

  • 2 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 16 TBS (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup ice water; more as needed

Filling

  • 3 (heaping) cups blueberries
  • 2 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 TBS corn starch
  • Dash of salt

Instructions

Crust

  1. Combine the flour and salt in food processor and pulse 2 or 3 times to combine
  2. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal
  3. Add the 1/4 cup ice water and pulse 3 or 4 times.The dough should hold together when squeezed with your fingers but should not be sticky. If it is crumbly, add more water, 1 tsp. at a time, pulsing after each addition.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and shape into two even disks
  5. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days
  6. When ready to use, roll out a disk of dough to approximately 1/8 inch thick to fit a standard 10 1/4-inch round tart pan (also works well in a cheesecake form, or pie pan… seriously, you don’t need to go buy a tart pan)
  7. Press the dough into the pan and refrigerate at least 10 minutes

Filling

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F
  2. In large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, zest, honey, salt and corn starch
  3. Toss blueberries in honey mixture
  4. Poor filling into prepared crust
  5. Bake for 30 minutes, or until crust lightly browned and filling bubbly
  6. Let cool and insert in face
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Top 5 Must-Have Edible Perennials

In the world of all things edible, perennials are worth their weight in gold! They require a little more planning up front, such as additional soil amendments and thoughtful placement, but are some of the most rewarding and easily cared for producers in your garden. They also make for beautiful landscape additions, leaving you more workable garden space.

Although I can often be found ignoring planting zones all together (the dead Mango tree in the compost bin will attest to that), it is important when considering some perennials and may impact variety selection. Pick a variety hardy in your zone to insure success. We linger somewhere between USDA zone 7b and 8a; these are our favorite, most productive perennials.

1. Asparagus

I could write sonnets about my love of Asparagus. They are the first thing to come on in early spring; while you’re still day dreaming of putting your started plants in the dirt, asparagus’ first steams are already reaching for the sky. It produces heavily for several months before bushing out into a beautiful fern that will shade out most weeds – which means even less work for you! Once established, they are also extremely drought tolerant and are very hardy in hot and cold temperatures.

If cared for properly, an asparagus root can be productive for over 15 years. Growing up, my grandma had roots in her garden that were nearly 30 years old and still producing year after year. This earns asparagus the number one must-have perennial spot.

IMG_9237edit

I will be eating you and a few of your friends for dinner

2. Herbs

Fresh herbs make all the difference in cooking, but are so expensive at the grocery store or farmer’s market! It may surprise you to learn how easy they are to grow at home as perennials. Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Mint, Sage and Lavender are all hardy perennials in most growing zones. In zone 8a/7b, where I live, Parsley also grows as a perennial with no extra effort, while dill and cilantro self-seed each year. Herbs do well with confinement to a pot (indoors or out), and are beautiful edible additions to traditional landscaping. The sheer fact that they will pay for themselves a thousand times over earns them the number two spot. However, their evergreen beauty through the winter months, ability to attract pollinators, ease of care and capacity for improving the flavor profile of everything in your kitchen could nudge them into first place if you’re not as obsessed with asparagus as I am.

Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano & Sage

These will make you a master chef. Clockwise from the top: Sage, Oregano Thyme and Rosemary.

3. Berries

Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, Cranberries, Goji berries – all berries! Berries are expensive to buy and often soaked in a chemical soup of pesticides. You can find cultivars of most kinds of berries well suited for almost any growing zone. Although they often take a couple years to start producing heavy yields, I promise they will be worth the wait. Most berries require a little pruning to keep plants healthy and yields high, but it is very little maintenance when you consider how many non-fruit yielding trees and bushes you extend the same effort to each fall.

The strawberries are just starting to set flowers

The strawberries are just starting to set flowers

4. Walking Onions

I was gifted a few precious heirloom walking onion bulblets, and now have an entire bed full! It was certainly one of the best gifts ever. When these onions grow, they look much like green onions or scallions. You can trim the tops off and directly substitute them in any application you would use green onions. You may use the large underground bulb onion that forms at the base and also the small pearl like onions that form at the tip in place of a flower. The plant “walks” itself by sprouting bulblets on the original stalk, which then bends under the weight, setting the small onion bulb “seeds” down, allowing them to root near the parent plant. If you allow the bed to become well established (ie., don’t over harvest the first year, and allow the onion to “walk”), you will never run out of onions. That’s right – forever with onions. It’s a glorious thing.

Walking Onion

Walking Onion

5. Rhubarb

Pies. Does this need further explanation? Rhubarb is extremely difficult to find in the market here. I was told by a local gardener that Rhubarb simply does not grow well in this climate – this is where ignoring growing zones can occasionally come in handy. I was determined to grow rhubarb; committed, against all odds, to force it to grow and get my pie. As it turned out, it was beyond simple and took no extra effort short of picking up a rhubarb crown from the farm and garden shop. I planted it, and it grew. It really is just that simple… Go figure.

Rhubarb dies completely back in the late fall and returns in early spring with bright red steams and huge beautiful leaves, gracing the barren garden with color. And then you harvest the leafstalks a few at a time, compost the leaves and make it into pie. Be sure to keep little hands, mouths and beaks away from the leaves of the plant as they contain oxalic acid, which is considered toxic. Also be careful to not over harvest the first two years as it establishes itself. Never take more than half of the plant’s leafstalks away in any given harvest, so that the plant will have enough foliage to sustain itself.

Future Pie

Future Pie

Bonus: Swiss Chard & Kale

Now, I know that Swiss Chard and Kale are not technically perennials, but did you know they can often behave like one? I have two year old swiss chard and kale plants that will not stop growing. And if they want to grow year round, who am I to stop them? Their preferred growing seasons are fall, winter and early spring, during which will be the best time to sow your seeds. However, they are very hardy plants that often times survive the summer heat. Growth will be minimal during the summer months and I would discourage harvesting during this time to avoid stressing the plant. Production will pick right back up when the temperature becomes a little more bearable. To keep up growth as a perennial, it is important to make sure the plant is not depleting the soil of vital nutrients. You can do this by amending the soil with compost annually or biannually, watering with compost tea every couple of months, or adding other organic fertilizers.

2 year old Swiss Chard

Thanks for breakfast today, Chard!

So there you have it – our favorite perennial fruits and veggies. What is at the top of your must-have edible perennial list?