The Words with Friends Gods have smiled upon me

Ha ha!  Take that husband(s)!

Also this,

Poke are you paying attention?
Easy recipe.

Potato Leek Corn Chowder
4 mid sized potatoes
2 mid sized leeks
2 ears of corn worth of kernels
1 carrot
7-8 cups water
1 t celery seeds
2 t salt
1 t pepper
1 t thyme (dried)
cheddar cheese (optional)

Dice your potatoes, carrots and leeks.  In a large pot, saute leeks, and carrots for 1-2 min on med heat.  Add potatoes, thyme and celery seeds, saute 5 more minutes.  Add water.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for 10-15 min.  Check potatoes for doneness.  Add corn, simmer 5 more min.  Little bit by little bit blend in a blender.  If you do too much at a time, the lid will pop off your blender and food will fly everywhere.  Not awesome.  Serve with a bit of cracked pepper, cheddar cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.



Jam you!!!!!

The Kraken Plum

Peach Bourbon

Ma Doudou Pear

Grape Clove

Raspberry Blackberry

Here is a reminder of what we started with.
Too much fruit, as you may recall.

The thing with canning is that it used to be an all day party time event.  Women would all get together, bring a bunch of harvested fruit and can away til the wee hours.  Or they would spend 10 years birthing 6 or 7 female children and then use them as child labor (I think that may have been my mom's plan for a while).  Both ways are super fun.  Party with your friends...or party with your kids.  Or party with both while the menfolk are out killing things.  Anyhow, this bounty up top, too much for two people to do on a Friday eve.

Canning can be done in small batches, which is what my next two canning adventures were.

Eight pints of berries made about five 8oz jars of jam.

Some canning points:
Canning preserves food two ways.  Creating a vacuum seal that keeps airborne pathogens out.  Creating a state of acidity that keeps bacteria from growing.

Sugar in jams is used mostly for body.  A lot of the recipes you find in books have tons of sugar in them because we have a terrible sweet tooth in this country.  Hence Adult Onset Diabetes changing it's name to Type II Diabetes (no longer just for adults!).  That said, you can usually cut the sugar in a recipe to taste.  Just note that you may end up with a soupier jam.

One thing you cannot adjust in a recipe is acid.  Some fruits are very low acid.  Therefore acid needs to be added to them. Lemon or lime juice is the easiest way to do this.  It doesn't really affect flavor, so don't freak out.  If you want it to affect the flavor, you may want to add some zest to your batch.

Pectin is naturally occurring in fruits.  It is usually most concentrated near the skin and in just ripe fruit.  Pectin levels drop as fruit peaks and becomes overripe.  I did not have any luck with adding pectin to my jelly.  You don't need to add pectin to jams.  You almost always need to add pectin to achieve a jelly state.

My third batch of jam was pears.  They were underripe and created more of a conserve than a jam.  I added a little banana vanilla rum to them.  Delicious.

The pears made around three 16oz jars and eight 8 oz jars.


How do you make Veggie stock?

Oh!  Here's how.

Cut your veggies and put them in a stockpot.

Sautee for a few minutes with some olive oil.  You don't need to chop your veggies very finely, because they are going to boil for........................................................ever.

Add 5 quarts of water.

Add some peppercorns (about 1/4t), a couple bay leaves and a little soy sauce.  Soy sauce is totes optional.  Actually all of it is totes optional.  That is why it is so awesome and easy.

Bring to a boil.  Once boiling, turn down and simmer for about an hour or two or three.  I usually do two hours.  I feel like it gives you more flavor.

After a few hours, it will look like this:
Taste and add salt if need be.  Then transfer to a cheesecloth, nut milk bag or mesh sieve.  I use a nut milk bag.
I like to squeeze all the extra juice out of my veggies.  I feel like it adds to the end product.  You don't have to do this.  You can just strain it and be done.

When you are done straining or squeezing the life out of your veggies... compost that shit.

Refrigerate or freeze the broth.  Will last for a week or two in the fridge and a month to 3 months in the freezer.


My stock was a simple mirepoix, but you don't have to limit yourself to the holy trinity.   You can put almost any veggies you have in your stock.  If you are nervous you have veggies that are about to go bad stock is a great way to use them.  Broccoli stems, Carrot greens, tomatoes...use them in the stock!

Also, like jam, stock is really easy to do in small batches.  Perfect for getting rid of extra food stuffs.


I picked a peck!

Two actually.  Which I think equals a half bushel.
Remember last time we were here together?  I told you that all that fruit I bought at the farmers market for jam making was waaaaaaayyyy too much fruit.  How short is my attention span?  What am I going to do with all this?  I need ideas!

It was a beautiful day for apple picking, Em came along to help (you know, my sister with a blog... http://crowleyinthecity.blogspot.com/).  We ate a ton of apples and apple cider donuts, drank lots of cider and my friend Deirdre found a 4 leaf clover!


Jam I'm good

I decided that this year I would learn to put up food.  This decision is a year in the making.  I tend to move a bit slowly on new things because I usually have 70 gazillion other things going on in my life at that exact time.

I bought a book on canning and preserving last year.  Read through it and put that book on a shelf.

Then this year, I took a class on canning.  Baby steps.

The class, (pause for effect) was a bit of a waste.  I certainly could have learned all of it on youtube.  And had already learned most of it in my book.  And it was a bit pricey.

The important thing is that I am learning to try and trying to learn.  Let that sink in for a while.

My goal was to can tomatoes.  I have been using so much store bought canned tomato this year.  I thought to myself, "how much tastier would my own canned tomatoes taste!"  Plus, I am kind of thrilled by the fact that people used to live without processed food of any kind.  They had to live off the land.  (Hence the CSA). They had to put hard work into living.  Holy crap that's amazing!  So, I kind of like the idea of having a larder in my basement (which right now is a Bank of America) where I keep all sorts of preserved foods for the lean winter months.

No tomatoes have been canned and my larder is not at this juncture a "thing".  I did manage to put up some jam with a friend.  Here are some pics and some things I learned.
First Lesson.  This is a lot of fucking fruit.  Do not think that you will can this much fruit in one day.  We only got through the grapes, peaches and plums.  And we were literally canning for 8 hours straight.

2nd lesson: Concord grapes are sweet and need lemon juice added to them to balance the sugar you will be added.  We did two sets of grapes.  Our first batch without pectin, our second batch with.  Bizarrely, the batch without pectin set and the batch with pectin did not.  Which means I have grape syrup that needs a purpose.

Our grapes we did with cloves.  Grapes + cloves = delicious.

Lesson number 3: Plums pair very well with rum, peaches with bourbon.  The Peach/Bourbon is by far the best thing ever made by a human being and can be enjoyed on ice cream and yogurt or a spoon.

This was most of our yield:

Lesson number 4: DO NOT!!!!!!!!  And I am serious here, do not try to use regular tongs to can. 

You will burn yourself, on your arm, your chest and your eyeball.  Serisouly.  This little lady can no longer be the shoulder model she has always wanted to be because of improper tong use.
They make special tongs, just for canning. 
You can buy them for $11.  It is well worth it.  Amazon will deliver them straight to your door.  Get some.

As my dad would say, Prior Proper Planning would have Prevented this. 

More on the canning misadventures at a later date.  And perhaps I will actually teach you how to can.

New York

New York
I came home to you!