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Monday, August 28, 2006

A weekend in review

Some days it feels as though my entire life is about canning. It can take time to remind me that there is more to homesteading then just food preservation, it's just that time of year. I have to shrug it off, and remind myself this. Brush the flour and fall spices off my dusty jeans and move forward.

Here is where I fall back. I canned a bit this weekend.
Yes, that is a Christmas throw, I am way off on my holidays.

I have discovered that I truly enjoy canning. I can make the simplest to the most eccentric recipes, can them, and store them away. No longer is that instant eating everything in 10 minutes and then listening to complaints. {When you spend your whole life eating just one person's cooking, where to you get the comparisons to complain about?}

First up I made 3 pints of Apple Pie Filling. It's not harvest time for apples here, they were on sale at the local store. Apple pie filling is very simple, and it tastes better the longer it sits.

Next was pizza sauce. I always make this, every year. My boys would eat pizza everyday, if allowed to do so. Once again I spent an exuberant amount of time, scalding, coring and peeling tomatoes. I need a SqueezO.

Dinner time! I adore country/rustic foods. I can cook just about everything, but it is the simple, every ingredient easily identifiable, menus that bring out the more creative and joyous side of myself. You get dirtier, and more frantic about timing. Simple ingredients yes, but timing is crucial to making large family meals. Corn bread made in stone ware, first, then set out, covered with a dish towel to cool only the slightest bit as you fry up large pieces of chicken breast, peel and cut up homegrown potatoes, to only mash and season later. Opening a can of homemade hominy, and starting the white gravy. Ending up with a garden salad, served with iced tea. Homemade cookies and fresh coffee round out the meal. But to get everything done in the hour you have, takes kicking everyone out of the kitchen, and timing. I also find the country meals take longer to eat, my family and friends {company} take their time savoring the foods. Everything is rich, creamy and savory. Sweets don't balance it out until the end. Alas! I had left over Country {white} gravy. Instead of storing it in the refrigerator to only be forgotten about, I decided to can it for a day I am short on time. If so inclined, I can add breakfast sausage to it later, for some old fashion biscuits and gravy.

The last canning job of the day was apricot filling for cobbler. We picked up several pounds from a local farm. I know this recipe by heart, it is one of my favorites. Yet as many times as I have made cobbler, I never noticed how much the fruit shrinks. I made 3 quarts of filling, pushing the apricots down, stuffing them, yet still leaving the required 1-inch head space in the jars. After the canning and cooling process, the fruit shrunk down to half their size. Luckily I know that I have enough canned for three apricot cobblers.


I was looking through an internet store called Farley Heath Designs. I love the handmade fabric cards. {My brother wants me to by his wedding invites through them, which I will be doing} I clicked on the link "gifts". Oh my! I can not crochet or any of that stuff. I saw these wrist warmers and knew I must own them.

I received them Saturday. They are a very thick wool. Never owned anything as thick. Of course my husband calls them hand socks, and yes they kind of are that. But I just love them, and can't wait until it gets cold enough to wear them.

So if you need cards or gifts because you are as untalented as I am, check out Farley Heath. Tell them Phelan sent you. {no I don't get anything for you saying it, nor do I get anything but a promise of a future hug for posting this.}

Farley Heath Designs - Handmade greeting cards and gifts.

This is a volunteer Jack O' Lantern pumpkin.
Last year we carved our pumpkins on our front deck, some of the seeds didn't make it into the oven. Instead they ended up in my flower garden. All the books I have read on growing pumpkin say that they like full sun. Unfortunately all the pumpkins I grew in full sun, burnt up. I have nothing left. But this guy is in partial sun. Gets more shade then sun, and is doing tremendously. It has 2 pumpkins the size of volley balls already, many vary in sizes as they are still growing, and even more flowers. My husband has made the statement that next year we grow our vines in the shade.


Cheryl said...

You've been busy! You must have thousands of canning jars to be able to can at will. My collection is growing (I just got a bunch from my grandmother), but I just used up the last of my small ones making two batches of jam.
Love the fingerless gloves! I see that Farley Heath also has a "Mr. Bean" teddy bear - my kids would think that was hilarious!

Phelan said...

I put an ad in the local paper for unwanted canning jars, hit my mother up and garage sale. Cheapest and easist way to get those jars.

Andrew said...

Just to let you know Phelan I've goten my blog up and running. I was hoping to get your email or something cuase I'm in a little blogging crisis here. ( if you want to put it that way ) Your support is greatly appriated.

Jessie said...

You are one busy gal! Do you care if I add your link on my blog?

YokoSpungeon said...

They look a treat on you. If you ever lose one, I will happily knit you a replacement hand sock! :)

Thanks for introducing my little company to all your blog readers, you are extremely kind.

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