Before we left on vacation earlier this month, I twice picked down my burgeoning basil plants, freezing the flavorful leaves in cigar-like rolls to use later. In the middle of winter, I can slice off some to throw in a pot of marinara sauce or even make fresh pesto.
But since then, I have noticed that some pest has been eating holes in the leaves, devouring not only the basil, but also the clematis and a few other flowers in our yard. Darn earwigs!
Yes, I have determined that those nasty little bugs are likely to blame for the damage. So I dug out the info for trapping the buggers that has previously been printed in the Globe during an earlier earwig infestation, and I figured others out there might have the same problem.
I recently read that one way to get rid of earwigs involves recycling an issue of the Daily Globe: Lightly roll up a some wet newspaper and secure it with a rubber band. Place the rolled up newspaper near where the earwigs have been spotted. Since they like damp, dark places, they will climb inside the newspaper, and the next morning you can just throw it out, earwigs and all. I haven’t tried that yet, but managed to get quite a number of the critters (there must have been close to 100 in one of the larger containers!) with this setup: Use a recycled plastic container (margarine, yogurt, cottage cheese) with a removable lid. Inside the container, pour a layer of corn syrup followed by a layer of oil and then a few dashes of soy sauce. Cut or poke several small holes in the lid of the container and seal it up. Dig a shallow hole so that the container is just about flush with the ground. (I pile landscaping mulch up around it.) Attracted by the smell of the soy sauce, the earwigs crawl inside, but can’t get out once coated with the syrup and oil.
That’s my preferred “recipe” for dealing with earwigs. Now on to a recipe of the more delectable kind.
One of my good friends, Kris “Tooje” Tutje, recently discovered that she has a mulberry tree in her backyard. She enlisted the help of two other friends — Paula Stock to pick the berries and Myra Palmer to turn them into something delicious. So Myra made up a batch of jam, using what she touts as the easiest jam recipe ever.
Luckily, I was involved only in the jam-sampling part of this endeavor. I had never tasted mulberry jam before (or a mulberry, for that matter), but can report that it was delicious. The original recipe calls for blueberries, so if you don’t have access to a mulberry tree, blueberries will suffice.
4 cups fresh mulberries (or blueberries)
2 cups sugar
One 3-ounce package lemon gelatin
In a large saucepan, slightly crush 2 cups mulberries. Add remaining berries and sugar and mix well. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat; stir in gelatin until dissolved.
Pour hot jam into sterilized jars or containers. Cover and cool. Refrigerate. Makes 4 half-pints.