Friday, July 8, 2011

sweet relish (are the cucumbers gone yet?)

By the time we made some half pints of sweet relish, I was about ready to start feeding cucumbers to Maggie or peddling them door to door. We gave some to Amber, who was there and helped us with the canning operations that night.

That would be Amber chopping the peppers. Ooh shiny!

This is another recipe that sits for awhile in salt and water. Cucumber, peppers, onions, salt, and water.

While they soak, you can prepare the brine.

Relish actually cooks in its own brine on the stove before going into hot jars.

On to the top shelf!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

how our garden grows

I thought I'd post a few photos of our garden, especially since I'm particularly proud of the work Mark has done with it and how well it's doing considering we haven't used any fertilizer or pesticide, etc. and we also didn't really have much of an idea of what we were doing.

Can you name the plants?

Mark is growing tomatoes upside down in Lowe's buckets that hang on our back porch. They are showing real promise!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

pickles, part deux

As I mentioned before, we had so many cucumbers that we had to make several varieties. We made long dill slices in quarts and then made more in pints that were circle slices. But the most ambitious were the bread and butter pickles, which stained our island yellow from turmeric and made the kitchen smell like a giant humid cloud of vinegar. These are a favorite of many people, so I'll be excited to try them in August when they're ready. (The jars have to sit 4-6 weeks for the full flavor to soak in.)

First, cucumbers and onions have to soak together in ice and water with some canning salt.

Time out to see how the island was sprawling with canning and pickle paraphernalia.

The brine for bread and butter pickles has many more spices that get mixed into the vinegar.

We got 8 pints from this batch. We then also made more dill pickles in half pints. The shelf is growing!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

cherry jam, or how my fingers turned purple for 4 days

We got some (relatively) local cherries a few weeks ago that I wanted to turn into jam (as our strawberry jam is disappearing fast!). Little did I know it would take an hour to pit them and that my fingers and nails would be purple for days. It was worth it, because it turned out great.

These cherries weren't as juicy as the strawberries we used for jam earlier in June, so they had to macerate for a bit under a giant pile of sugar.

Cat time out. Sometime I'll catch Maggie without a suspicious look on her face.

Actually, we had company over, so I didn't get a photo of the jam while it cooked. But when it was done, it looked something like this.

We got 8 half pint jars out of this batch. The shelf is really starting to fill out!