• Canning,  Food,  Garden

    Tomato Canning – My Favorite Tips

    As we start getting more tomatoes than we can eat, I sauce them in the food processor and put the sauce in half gallon ice cream containers in the freezer. When we run out of freezer space, it’s time to can! If you’re new to canning tomatoes, here’s the official instructions. This year we also picked up three boxes of canning tomatoes (read: busted and bruised) at the end of the farmers market for $10. I DO NOT: take off seeds and skins. I’m sure they’re full of nutrients, but more importantly, I don’t mind a chunky sauce and un-chunking the sauce is a serious amount of work. I bring…

  • Canning,  Food,  Garden

    Mulberry Picking

    I adore berries! Mulberries, to me, are the most adult-tasting berry. They aren’t super sweet or super tart, but have a really pleasant mellowness to them. Not as bitter as blackberries can be. I like them best in sorbets (with a sweetish wine – port, white wine, or cheap country wine of any sort!) or frozen dropped into my cereal bowl. They are also good in yogurt. I have never canned or baked much with them, because I think you’d have to add so much lemon juice and sugar it wouldn’t have that subtle mulberry taste.   Saturday morning we went to the park behind my house that is teeming…

  • Canning,  Food,  Garden,  Quilts,  Uncategorized

    Cherry Blossoms and Other Berries

    I’m not sure exactly why I love cherry blossoms, since they are responsible for a terrible, horrible, no good sinus infection I got once while coordinating an event in DC. Luckily I had a good team that took over when I went down. Cherry blossoms 1; Dana 0. These flowers are cheesy, but I like them. I keep wanting to think of ways to class them up, but maybe they are fine sweet and simple. And in the realm of berries that don’t try to kill me, I got a goumi bush last fall, which apparently is invasive in much of the US! Very frustrating to learn that, but the…

  • Canning,  Food

    A Jelly Good Time

    Matt and I used the rainy day Saturday to have a day in the kitchen – we haven’t done this in a while. Put on the podcasts and start boiling water. We made an English IPA, some wine from a kit, and dandelion wine from this recipe: I had more dandelion mixture than would fit in my one gallon jug, so I used it to make some dandelion-orange marmalade using oranges we had leftover from our trip down South.   Then I made some Violet Jelly from this recipe. It hasn’t set yet! Fingers crossed…  

  • Canning,  Food

    Black Bean Sweet Potato CHILI

    This weekend my elbow was on the Charleston, WV evening news coverage of a zombie parade. It was pretty amazing. More importantly: Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili 1 can of black beans (because you forgot to soak the dry ones) onion stupid fancy local organic soft neck garlic that takes FOREVER to peel. 3 carrots 1 big ol’ Sweet potato about a pepper worth of sweet peppers frozen in the freezer Cilantro you froze in july A jar of tomato sauce you canned a jar of salsa you canned some veggie stock (Better than Bullion or BUST!) tablespoon of cumin tablespoon of chili powder some squeezes of lime juice a…

  • Canning,  Food

    Ketchup – Or What to Do With Your Green Tomatoes

    So, I’m sitting out behind my house typing this and I hear a rustling behind me. I turn to see which of my cats is spying on me from around the corner and see a groundhog. Chilling out. “Git!” I say, “We’re not friends!” But, it just looks at me. When I got up to get a camera though, it wandered slowly away and is hidden in the hostas now. OK, back to ketchup – I made some. I told my brother that I felt I had crossed a line from canning=thrifty and crafty into canning=total nutjob.  I mean, we spend like $10 a year on ketchup, so what sense…

  • Canning,  Food

    Re-using Canning Jars and Lids

    As you may know, Matt has a super specific and rare eating disorder that involves the constant consumption of Vegenaise, a vegan mayonnaise alternative (we get the kind made from grapeseeds!). We buy it in bulk and go through about a jar a month, and by “we” I mean mostly Matt. While this is mildly disgusting, the plus side is these jars are great for canning because they fit “Regular Mouth” standard canning lids. Which means we can buy new lids for them at the store. The only concern is that they are thinner glass, and a little more prone to cracking. For that reason, it’s important to avoid drastic temperature changes…

  • Canning,  Food

    Peaches! Peaches! What to do with a Million Rotting Peaches!

    So, not too long ago, our kitchen looked like this. I just noticed the sushi wraps in there, and that has nothing to do with our canning XXtravaganzas. But the peaches do! We ended up with about  a bushel of rotting peaches. We went around all the farmers markets, and had missed peak peach time. But the orchards all had plenty of rotten peaches they were thrilled that we were dumb enough to buy! A note on canning – often times canning recipes call for the “freshest fruit at their peak” which always cracks me up! Those are the ones I am going to eat, people! Not boil up and…

  • Canning,  Food

    What to do with Apple Pulp?

    So, as previously mentioned, we made five gallons of apple cider out of a bushel and a half of apples yesterday. Which left us with about 3 gallons of apple pulp (and a filthy stove!). The pulp is delicious and I hate to toss it into the compost. I thought I could cook it down a little, and get a little more juice out of it, and make it into some kind, of, I don’t know, really, what I was thinking. But it’s so dry that it just started to smoke instead of cooking at all.  Oopsy! So I started looking for apple pulp recipes on-line. I found a lot…

  • Beer,  Canning,  Food,  Garden,  Uncategorized

    Apple Time!

    This was really one of our first free weekends since July so we went to an apple orchard. We were going to go to a Paw Paw festival, but eh, it was an hour and a half farther away. We saw they had boxes of “seconds” or “canning” apples for $5 a half bushel. So, we bought four. Then we walked around the orchard for a few hours, not picking any, because our trunk was already full. Are we crazy? What if I told you we’d already bought a half bushel of apples at the farmers market that morning? What if you have no idea what a half bushel is? I…