Making Soup


It’s hot again today. The flies are making us all crabby and the little trickles of sweat creeping down everyone’s backs feel like more intrusive flies. The goats are all pregnant, lounging in the heat, chewing cud and looking disdain at the sheep.


I’m cooking barszcz on the stove, despite the heat. It needs to be done. I set the beets to ferment almost a week ago. The barszcz (or borscht) recipe I use is an old one with no actual measurements:

Make Kvass.
Make vegetable broth.
Mix the two together. Add garlic, onions, potatoes, carrot. Possibly cabbage.
(My cabbage isn’t ready yet, so this batch of barszcz has no cabbage.)

Add bay, savory, oregano. Cook till all the vegetables are tender. Taste. Adjust.


It’s Lenten barszsz, which means it’s made without animal products or oil. Ideal for mid-week Lenten meals. But it can also serve as a base for more indulgent iterations. Adding beef or goat or rabbit and topping it with a dollop of sour cream is a great way to make Christmas barszcz. Adding mini-pierogi makes a cozy Advent soup. Barszcz with grated cabbage and toasted rye bread is classic comfort for in any season.

I’ll be canning this batch today and setting new beets to ferment. This winter, I’m hoping for rows and rows of barszcz – ready for anything!


Preparation has never been my strong point. I like planning, but the actually doing is always a challenge. This year, we really have been better at preparation: canning, building, growing. The hot days won’t last. We’re soaking up the heat and storing sunlight in our bones for the season to come.


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