Saturday, July 26, 2008

Canning Jars

I scored a three quarter pint jar for 25 cents today at a yard sale, no kidding! I didn't even know they existed but in reality I could really go with a couple dozen of these babies in the photo above the three quarter pint is the second from the left.

Left to right: Pint jar, three quarter pint, half pint, quarter pint! To make the set really interesting I'd need a quilted glass wide mouth pint jar.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sweet Pickle Relish

Made this years first batch of sweet pickle relish, since it's been about six years since I've made any it took me a bit to remember what I did the last time. When my next batch of cukes are ready for making relish, they are too small yet, I'll strain the cooked relish a bit so there's less liquid in the jars.

Canned Butter

I used the recipe that was in backwoods home magazine, the one written by Jackie Clay, and the butter turned out wonderful! I used unsalted sweetened butter for my first batch, I will add that it only made 9 half pints and I used three pounds of butter, I should have come up with at least 10 half pints.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

In Progress

I need to finish this pair socks so I can make work socks for John, his job now requires that everyone wears black socks, and it's rather hard to find black wool socks, well in our price range anyway.

Gooseberry Jam

Purple Gooseberry Jam anyone??? The bushes we picked had a combination of green and purple berries on them as a result the jam came out a purple color. I failed to get a picture of the jam before ladeling into the jars so you'll have to take my word that the jam came out a lovely purple color!!!

Chicken Pot Pie

Plated up, no parsley for garnish but that's ok the fiestaware is pretty enough on its own don't you think!

The grand reveal! The biscuits were perfectly crisp.

Home Made Biscuits

Made with the left over dough that was made for the chicken pot pie topping.

Chicken Pot Pie

Fresh out of the oven, the sauce was coming up around the edges of the biscuits.

Before the bisquits were added I made the rue added the broth to make the sauce and then added the vegetables and cooked for about 10 minutes, the time it took dh to make the biscuit topping.

I used potatoes instead of boiled eggs in the recipe AND I added chopped onion, a half cups worth.
This seemed to be the right time to try our newly canned chicken and chicken broth. Let me tell you it was INCREDIBLE! Instead of using several dishes to make the pie I used my cast iron dutch oven.

Well it sorta started out that way anyway. I found the recipe this morning at Self-Reliant Yuppies but decided to wait until dh got home from work to start the pie, and I'm glad I did! Lets just say his idea of gourmet is NOT cheddar cheese filled pie crust, and he agreed with me the hard boiled eggs seemed a bit over the top so I used potato instead.

Stolen Roses

I'll have to go take pictures but someone stole my roses! No kidding and in my front yard next to the house no less! In addition to my roses they also swiped the blossoms off of my hosta's, have no clue what they wanted them for but whomever it was was quite precise in their cuttings. I willl be filing a police report this afternoon on this one as dh and I suspect it's the same person that has been stealing my grapevines.

If by chance I find out who it is I have every plan to file tresspassing charges and get a restraining order!

Double Bee Balm

There would appear to be two blossoms one shooting straight up out of the other blossom. I read somewhere that this is due to damage that occurs when in the bud stage. It's still wild looking!

What is it???

I've since found out that this is a japanese beetle and they can eat a lot of plants, so I will make tobacco tea, to spray on my plants, in the morning after it's done raining here.

I found this bug munching merrily away on my grape vines I'm thinking i'll have to get some bug repellent to deter their munching.

First Cucumbers

The first cucumbers of the season. I have my plants growing on cattle panels, which makes it easier for me to find the cukes and remove them from the vine with minimal damage. I'll be making bread and butter pickles with these lovely fruits! And will finish off the season making sweet relish.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Apple Butter

That's my kitchen floor that you are seeing, yep it really is, off to the sides of the table! It's been in this condition for something like 13 years now, long before dh and I got married it's just bare maple and in other places bare plywood making it a royal pain to wash. There's no sponge mopping in this room I use a real mop one of those big commercial ones, as it's the only thing that doesn't fall apart when used on this floor. Also if your thinking of going the bare plywood floor route note that vacuuming it works far better than sweeping for getting it really clean!!! Everytime I mention painting the floor dh says GO AHEAD and then immediately has apperplexi~!

Lodi Apples make the BEST apple sauce and apple butter!!! Ok maybe some people don't like their sauce as tart as I do but lucky for me DH does! Dh says the apple butter shown here tastes like his apple sauce, hey what can I say I followed the recipe in the Ball Blue Book!

Lodi Apples

We picked 11 boxes of Lodi Apples at a friends house in the country on Saturday (Hi Nancy) with our neighbors. We split the apples AND I'm so glad we did! We barely made it through one a half boxes of apples last night, we made apple butter, we started early afternoon and ended after 10 pm! The brown spots on the apples were caused by hail.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Got Chicken???

Corn Meal

I thought I'd experiment with grinding pop corn with my grain grinder (NOTE I'm definately will want to purchase a professional grain grinder for this endeavor) we ground yellow pop corn which needed to be ground twice and black popcorn which ended up being blue when all was said and done!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Black Raspberry Jam - Done

I tried a new method tonight instead of using the instructions to make jam, the ones that come in the pectin box, I used the BBB's strawberry jam recipe. AND the jam actually set up!!! So I'm quite happy right now especially after my last two batches of jam "failed" to set up, they'll make excellent sauce but I was aiming for jam not sauce.

Atlas Jars

I have a slug of these Atlas Strong Shouldered Jars and most of them have a mark like this on the bottom, I'm not sure if it's a hairline crack or a watermark. I'd really like to use these but am not sure about the integrity of these jars.

Rutabaga Dinner - Done

Presto Pressure Cooker

My stove is in serious need of cleaning but won't happen for a few more weeks, it's just a wreck during canning season.

Rutabaga Dinner - In Progress

Rhutabaga Dinner - this is out of my husband's old old (1940's) presto cookbook and I'm going on memory here.

Two pork steaks, six potatoes, and two large rutabaga's

Layer chopped (one inch pieces) peeled baking potatoes on the bottomof the cooker

Add layer of peeled chopped (one inch pieces) rutabaga's on top ofpotatoes Salt and Pepper at this point.

Add pork steaks (cut into thirds) Salt and pepper meat

Add an inch of water

Cover and bring to pressure then pressure cook for 20 - 25 minutes.

Remove heat source and let cool down naturally. Serve with worthchestershire sauce (mispelled I know)

I think the pressure cooker is set permamently to 10 pounds.

Note you know your doing it right because it smells like wet dog about half way through the cooking process.


Mom's old mirromatic was pressed into service so we could get 'er done before midnight. I'm not sure why John chose to include two unlidded jars of water with the two quarts of chicken broth.

Black Raspberry Jam - In Progress

In progress my jam making efforts were interrupted last night due to excessive chicken broth canning - some things always take longer than you think they will. So the berries sit in the fridge covered in sugar.

I found it rather interesting the ball blue book has several recipes for Strawberry Jam - the recommended recipe for Black Raspberry Jam is the Strawberry Jam but which one??? I went with the one on page 81 of my book which means not cooking the berries prior to processing them, the flavor is really strong.

Chicken Update

We survived our first experience pressure canning - chicken of all things! I've done lots of BWB, boiling water baths in my adult life, and pressure cooking food, but never pressure canning food in jars. 40 pounds of chicken hind quarters yeilds approximately 14 pints and a half of chicken in broth, 14 quarts of broth, and about 5 pounds of chicken fat.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Pint and a Half Canning Jars

Seriously I"m not kidding pints and a half! I have eleven of them in the pressure canner right now! My mother had hundreds of them and if I make it back to Illinois, if the price of gas goes down enough so I can make the trip, then I'll be brining them back with me.

Here's the probelm though, every canning books gives times for pints and quarts, but not pints and a half (which lie in between a pint and a quart). I have a headache!

All American 930 Lid

This one has a stop cock instead of a weight gauge, not sure what the difference is and how one would figure the pressure.

Standard pressure gauge atop the lid.

Top of the All American 930 Pressure Canner, it holds 14 quarts.