It’s the day after Solstice, and the Sun rose this morning, so I guess it’s decided to stick with us for another year. Avid gardeners may start out on modern time, but after a decade or so we find ourselves living the rythm of the agricultural year. Yuletide is for feasting on our stored abundance, and it’s a wonderful time to sit by the fire and scan seed catalogs and attach some details to our hopes for the upcoming year. In a week or two I’ll be posting on my annual reassessment: what worked, what didn’t. But now is not the time for sober consideration. It’s the time to take unabashed pleasure in what worked really well. It’s time to do something that you don’t normally do, something that makes you shiver anew with love and reverence for the natural world, not because it is all good and beautiful, but because it exists and we have the good fortune to see it.
For me, feeling reverent rapture (or anything, really) before sunrise qualifies as something I don’t usually do. It takes real effort for me to function early in the morning, and a glass of fresh juice eases the effort. A juicer puts healthy stuff in your cup quickly, and doesn’t need to be expensive. I bought a reconditioned one and it works fine. Your own stored apples and carrots, or organic ones from the store, make a great seasonal juice. Prickly pear fruits are still perfectly good on the cactuses that we have everywhere, and juicing disposes of the spine problem. One prickly pear fruit, or tuna, will give a dramatic sunrise color to two big glasses of juice. To my palate the fruits don’t have a lot of flavor, but the color is reason enough to use them.
Run four apples, four large carrots, and one prickly pear fruit (two for a deeper red rather than the sunrise shade above) through your juicer. POur the juice into a clear goblet so that the color can be admired. Drink. Dispose of the pulp by burying it in a part of the garden that animals can’t get at- many animals are drawn to fruit sugars, and you don’t want all the horrid little spines in the pulp to torment any animal, wild or tame. For the same reason, handle the pulp with a wooden spoon or thick gloves, not your bare hands.