Ravishing Garden Butter: a cure for the winter blues

Mise en place

Our Ravishing Garden Butter is hands down my favorite recipe that sprung up from our Bainbridge Island garden this year. Once our chefs whip in the edible flower petals, fresh chives and sea salt, all bets (and low-fat diets) are most certainly off. Its bold & enchanting colors are only matched by its delicate earthy & slightly salty flavor. And it’s pretty much the best thing that’ll ever happen to a precious little Macrina potato roll.  

Earlier this year, when we were still in lockdown and I was getting antsy, we decided to create several raised beds so I could grow edible flowers and herbs for the Radish kitchen. We chose a part of our yard that doesn’t get nearly enough attention but gets lots of sun.  My first season was a huge success (largely due to my handy husband installing an intricate irrigation system) and our chefs got to play with a huge variety of fresh garnishes to adorn their hors d’oeuvre platters and plated dinners.

However, although it’s technically still fall for a couple more weeks, my beautiful new garden has gone all Grey Gardens on me. As I sludged through the garden this morning to assess the damage from this latest cold snap, my pride of victory over the slugs, deer and aphids came to an abrupt halt.

Our first summer in bloom

I realized that the ominous images of rot and decay don’t get much airtime on HGTV shows. Any remaining nasturtiums and marigolds have become liquid mush on a wilted stem. And my luscious pineapple sage has been overshadowed by sad vines of rotting cherry tomatoes (a sad testament to my lack of enthusiasm for picking them in the dark). Note to self: do not get overly exuberant about planting tomatoes next spring unless you plan on dramatically adjusting your work schedule to accommodate hours of harvesting those little jewels. 

The limited daylight seems especially oppressive this year. Maybe it’s the pandemic doldrums creeping back in after getting a brief taste of “almost-normal” this summer, just to be stuck inside again thanks to our dark, cold and damp Seattle weather.

It has also turned my happy, bright raised beds into a guilt-monster which lurks just outside my door and constantly nags at me that ‘there is always more to be done.” Being almost pathologically well-acquainted with this feeling of “never being done,” I still have high hopes for getting back out there when spring arrives. As my garden continues its winter journey into a muddy mess, I will have to muster the energy to go trim those rotting tomatoes.

“Before”
“After”

But I’m also already sketching out my next season in my head for what we’ll be planting, all while reflecting on the memories of those magnificent marigolds nestling a wild salmon entree and the glorious calendula & chive blossoms that so generously let me pick their tender petals for our crowd-pleasing Ravishing Garden Butter.

With the first season and my garden still under my nails, I now have a better idea of what works and what doesn’t. And I’ve definitely learned that I’m no basil farmer. Despite my excitement to dedicate an entire bed to one of my favorite herbs, I netted less than a pint of pesto to show for my efforts.

Our next project is to build a fence around the garden so the herd of local deer and I don’t have to schedule a smackdown next summer. As adorable as they are, I find them less than adorable when they munch an entire bed of edible flowers slated for a wedding that weekend. They even had the nerve to leave a large pile of scat in front of my flower bed as if to leave me a thank you note that they truly enjoyed their snack. 

But when the deer didn’t get to them first, those calendula and marigolds sure did love me back.  And that’s enough for me to feel like this entire gardening endeavor was a huge success. 

Now I’m off to muster the energy to bundle up and get back out there to finish what I started. (And thank goodness we still have some of that delicious butter in the freezer!)

For now, I hope you enjoy these images from our summer’s bounty (and a pretty scary “after” photo) along with our recipe for Ravishing Garden Butter to brighten this dark & chilly time of year.

Cheers~  Lisbet

Ravishing Garden Butter

Servings

32

servings
Prep time

5

minutes
Cooking timeminutes
Calories

102

kcal

This yummy accompaniment to your favorite bread is colorful and easy to make. And even easier when you keep it on hand in your freezer, patiently waiting to be called upon. It will hold in your freezer for up to six months and is a lovely reminder of sunnier days to come.

Ingredients

  • 1# butter

  • 1/2 cup edible flower pedals (the more colors, the better)

  • 1 tsp kosher salt (optional)

  • 1/4 c finely chopped chives (or any of your favorite herbs)

Instructions

  • Allow butter to come to room temperature. Place all ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Using a spoon, combine the ingredients until incorporated evenly. Reserve the butter you’ll be using right away.
  • Roll any remaining butter into a log shape using parchment paper, pressing the parchment paper to eliminate any air pockets. Tie ends, label and freeze for up to 3-4 months. When you are ready to use, remove from freezer, unwrap and with a sharp knife, cut as much as you’ll need. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.
    You can rewrap & freeze the remaining butter until needed.

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