25 August 2010

Jams and Chutneys and kitties

Blueberry jam, Curry Peach Chutney, Peach Jam

I like at the end of the summer when i have a pantry full of preserves.   I have no air conditioning in my house, and the hood above the oven is just a fan.. so canning in the heat of the summer is pretty brutally humid and sweaty.    I am really pleased with everything this year, especially the peach jam... yum!  Pealing peaches though... ugh.

So far in total, I've put up:

6 Qt Jars of Garlic Dill Pickles
8 Pt Jars Curry Peach Chutney
6 Pt Jars Orange Ginger Marmalade
10 1/2Pt Jars Blueberry Jam
12 1/2PtJars Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
8 1/2Pt Jars Peach Jam

I have two more canning sessions to do.. One for Sweet Pickles, hopefully around 6 Qt jars, and another for a 4th type of jam, hopefully maybe apple pear.  I much prefer making jams and chutneys to pickles... only because buying ice and doing the whole 'cucumbers in the sink with ice and salt' is a pain.  I get grossed out by drains, and even though i give the sink a thorough cleaning, it still grosses me out.  I don't know how to do it otherwise so that it drains as the ice melts.  meh. 

Other than that, I've been continuing to weave the shawl on my big loom.  I'm still knitting those socks, which are taking forever, mostly because I go to the gym at lunch now.   I'm still working on the quilt... and .. I've been painting my warhammer 40k army.  space wolves!  Noodle and I are hittin up the fan expo I think on sunday.. and hopefully also hitting up the store where we can get some daiya vegan cheese and dinner at fresh! :)

Chi Chi Chiefers waiting for brekkie kibbs

Chief wanting breakfast

Noodle and I waiting for pizza.  Him with murder, mine sans cheese.

11 August 2010

Orange Ginger Marmalade!

Orange Ginger Marmalade

I've been making jam and pickles for years, and have gotten into a nice groove with those feeling comfortable with any type of pickle, relish or jam recipe. One thing i had never made was marmalade though, so this year I decided to try a batch. I researched a bunch on the interslice, and found some blog postings about many different ways to make marmalade. Chopping up the oranges whole with the pith... grating the skin off, throwing the pith out and digging out the meaty bits, and many other techniques. It was kind of confusing, but i decided to go with just shaving off the orange part of the skins, and dicing it up, carving the pith off and throwing it out (composting it of course), and then chopping up the meaty orange bits. I also decided to use a bunch of orange juice that i juiced instead of the 4 cups of water for a richer orange taste, and I also decided to grate a bunch of ginger to add on suggestion of a blog post i read about marmalade. I decided to use a packaged liquid pectin instead of fooling around with boiling the membranes and seeds.

So all seemed to go according to plan, and i ended up with 5 Pint size jars of marmalade, which is a little big, but i didn't have half pint jars. The next morning i wake up and check the jars and the marmalade was the consistency of water. *sad*. So I read up on re batching and decided I might not have let it simmer or maybe I didn't add enough pectin. However, 2nd session was a fail as well as it didn't set up this time either. Pawlie suggested the pectin might be expired.. and lo and behold... it was. I didn't realize that it stopped working after getting kind of old. So i bought some new pectin, re batched a THIRD time, and it finally set up!!! :) Lesson learned.

I also made some yummy garlic dill pickles and this year decided to add some turmeric to my dill recipe to green them up a bit. Normally I only put turmeric in bread and butter pickles, but I noticed that the store bought ones have it on the ingredient list, and i like the greeny colour store bought dills have. So we'll see how that turns out in a few months. I also added some hot chili pepper flakes to two jars for some spicier pickles!

Dill Pickles

Finally, I attended a fun soap making class at Everdale a while ago, and my first batch turned out so nicely. It's amazingly easy. I can't wait to make my next batch!

First soap batch