09 July 2009

Canning Adventures

As of late I have been trying my hand at home canning and it has turned out quite well. I've been reading Linda Ziedrich's The Joy of Jams, Jellies and Other Sweet Preserves and making delicious experiments. I'm a little nervous about canning mainly because the media hypes about about e. Coli and other things from improper canning. But once I'm over that fear (and realise how irrational it is) I'm good to go. I first started by canning/pickling some beets that I got from the farmers market and hadn't gotten around to using them. Unfortunately I don't have any photos of those. However I do have photos of my Rhubarb & Rose Petal Preserves. This came out of the aforementioned book.

Two sundays ago we and our housemates went out for breakfast and walked there. We decided to take the alleys on our way there and we discovered some raspberries hanging over someone's fence -- free! So later that day Joel and I decided to take our bikes out and go on a scavenger hunt for more free berries. Well we found them! We got about two quarts of raspberries and a quart of tart cherries. Here is our bounty!

And the cherries turned into this amazing free cherry pie.

The raspberries turned into jam! Or rather I turned it into jam. Its a bit runny (not long enough cooking time). Joel and I purchased a 16 quart pot with a left over JC Penny wedding gift card and I promptly put it on the stove and started boiling water. Then for my birthday (yesterday!) my parents sent a 21.5 qt pot specifically for canning and some canning utensils -- we'll be ready for the tomatoes! And many days of canning and sweating.

We also got a couple bags of cubed butternut squash from the food church and who knows what to do with cubed butternut squash except for winter dishes? So I turned the squash into jam/butter.

Orson has adjusted to life well here. And is shameless about it. Actually this particular day I had been canning and it was in fact the hottest day this year to date.

And in the meantime when not canning and doing kitchen experiments I made a wonderful summer dress that I am shamelessly proud of.

I was going to wear this fancy summer dress yesterday for my birthday but it ended up being cold. We were intending to go to the Pied Cow for hookah and appetizers but as it turned out not to be so conducive for that sort of celebration. So we ended up going to Phò Green Papaya a Vietnamese restaurant down the street from us. Everyone ended up getting phò, the national dish of Vietnam, which is a broth and noodle soup. It was a lot of fun and really calm, as I like my birthdays to be and I had lots of friends around.

Then today I finally picked beans, peas and basil. We have Tendergreen bush beans and Dragon Langerie (not to be confused with "lingerie" even though it may be a misprint) both are heirlooms and have been cross pollinated. The Tendergreen are starting to get little purple streaks on them --thank you bees. :0)

I think next summer I'm going to forego the beets and just plant rows and rows of bush beans so I can pickle them and eat them as salad beans and sautèed. And mostly because I know I'll eat them all the time. Legumes are definitely my favourite vegetables.

Today we got our seed order from Territorial Seeds in the mail and we'll hopefully be planting those in the near future. I need to learn how to do succession planting better, or at least, get into the routine of it. I succession-planted the beans in two successions but I think there needs to be even more plantings to really get the most bang for your buck (and not let any go to waste) when done that way. Its just hard when you don't have A LOT of space. I'm really excited for all the vegetables we got -- they're all really beautiful (purple broccoli, orange cauliflower, pointed cabbage, purple and orange carrots, etc,) and I'm really looking forward to planting them and harvesting them in winter and spring when I feel the most dismal. "Will this rain never stop? Will we ever see green vegetables again?" It should be good to have that reassurance.

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