This is why I whine all the time – OK, partly why

I am literally the lamest food blogger – EVER. I talk and whine about all sorts of stuff, but never really give you anything good to work with. At the very least, I ought to offer up proof that I have been actually doing some of the things I bitch about.

Canning was probably the single biggest topic that I whined about recently. It went on for months, just as did my insecent whining. Curious. Anyway, I figured the least I could do was give you a run down of what I actually made and share a couple of recipes here and there.

To top off my lameness however, I haven’t even gotten around to trying some of these things yet. Sad, but true. I think that I may work on a “jam dinner” or something that will allow me to showcase some of my work. I can’t think of a better way to say TA-DA!

I told a school-yard mom friend of mine today that I fear my mother’s Mormon roots were starting to show through. I am certain that I was brainwashed at some point, based on the sheer volume of canned goods I possess. We never discussed Mormonism until I was an adult, but BOY, you would totally think I was all “Big Love” or something.

As I have mentioned before, we are the proud owners of 2 Damson plums, 1 Asian pear, 4 pear varietals, and 7 apple varietals, an Interlaken grape, a Concord grape, a raspberry “tangle” (that is the only description for it), 2 blueberry bushes and wild blackberries that line our property. We have some yummy strawberries, but they never make it in the house, thanks to the children grazing in the yard. I must admit that I feel almost relieved when one of these many trees comes down with scab or something. I feel off the hook for finding a use for all the fruit that it otherwise would have produced.

Again, if I wasn’t such a lame blogger I would have a plethora of recipes and photographs to share. But I don’t. It is what it is. Throw in a juice fast and a psuedo-diet (i.e. I am not allowed to bake for a while) and the whole cooking/blogging thing goes sideways.

I am hoping that now that the kids are back in school and the trees aren’t literally throwing fruit at me as I walk through the yard (picture Wizard of Oz), I can start to tackle blogging again in a more regimented way. Perhaps I will have something good to share. Who knows?

Laundry List of What I have Canned in 2012

  • Blackberry-Chipotle Jam
  • Blackberry-Tarragon Jam
  • “Black” my signature jam from Blackberries and Black Cherries
  • Blackberry Cheese – this is basically like quince paste
  • Blackberry Pie Filling – I gave away 3 of the 4 jars and the last one broke open, so I will never know how this turned out
  • Halved Peaches in light syrup
  • Peach Butter
  • Peach Jam (see note below)
  • Grape Leaves
  • Fig Jam
  • Chinese Plum Sauce
  • Greengage Plum Jelly
  • Red (Damson) Plum Jelly
  • Strawberry-Basil Jam
  • Pineapple Jam – this is SO awesome on icecream!
  • Creamsicle Jam (Cantelope) – this basically tastes like a creamsicle, especially when served over vanilla ice cream
  • “Orange Marmalade 95” – this was the first batch of 2012. I made it to celebrate my grandmother in-law’s 95th birthday
  • White Grape Jelly
  • Rainier Cherry and Pink Peppercorn Jam
  • Apricot Jam – I should have made more of this, as I literally ate 3 jars with a spoon. I heart apricot jam!
  • Grandma’s Apple Chutney
  • Dill Pickle Relish
  • Mustard-Black Pepper Pickles
  • Cooper’s Pickles – this is a recipe that is the defacto at my house. My son, Cooper, eats at least one jar of pickles a week. More if I would let him. I made the equivalent of 65 pint jars this year. Coop, you are welcome!
  • Heirloom Tomato Salsa
  • Heirloom Tomato Catchup
  • Green Tomato Relish – this is a vinegar relish
  • Tomato Jelly

I also made some things that were outside the norm this year. I have always been into making my own syrups for soda, so this year we used some of the by-products to make these:

  • Plum syrup from making sugar plums – that is worth another post in and of itself!
  • Blackberry syrup
  • Concord grape syrup

    When the sodas got to be a little pedestrian for me, and yet the fruit was still coming on strong, I went the fortified route.

  • Country Bounce – made from rum and plums
  • Sloe Gin – made from gin and plums

    *Sorry about this list of photos. The site’s slideshow function doesn’t appear to be working right now.

    I also made a batch of chili with my sister’s pressure canner. I always thought that if we had some sort of real, catastrophic emergency where we had to eat from our stores, we were likely to be found in a diabetic coma, as most of the pantry is jelly. Anway, MAN, I did not like using that thing. Took far too long to put up only 6 jars and I had to babysit it the whole time. I would have to be really committed to do it again. So, you can see where that is going.

    OK, so the peach jam. I decided to do a canning weekend with the wife of one of my husband’s former coworkers (wow, that was the most convoluted way of saying acquaintance), as we are both “professed foodies.” Sadly, I figured out VERY quickly that we were not compatible in the kitchen. I tend to be anal – you know, the type that uses measuring cups and clean dishes. Unfortunately, we had purchased far more produce than we could put up while I was there, so she agreed to finish off the peaches, while I took home the plums to finish off myself with the plan to meet again in a couple weeks to split the booty. A few weeks later she delivered the peach jam. When she took it out of the box, I had no idea what it was. It was so dark and I couldn’t think of what it could possibly be. I literally had to ask what it was, as I couldn’t fathom what she had made. Turns out she simply pitted the peaches, dumped them into a pot with an unspecified amount of sugar and boiled it down, skins and all. No lemon or fruit fresh. There were clearly 2 separate batches, as about half of the jars were slightly lighter in color and waterier. I thought that I might be able to at least salvage that batch and tried to cook it down into peach butter, but about 5 minutes in, I realized it was burning on the bottom so I scrapped the whole thing. I still have the batch that is as brown as apple butter that I think I can use as a substitue in cakes, etc. We’ll see.

    The next installment will have 2-3 recipes. At least that is the plan. If you see something from the list that you want to see, let me know and I will share it then.

  • 7 thoughts on “This is why I whine all the time – OK, partly why

    1. It sounds like product if 1/2 the jar is not good and the other half good for Jennifers problem. But since it has been many years since I canned anything. LOL

    2. I can attest to the great yummy chili, the apricot jam the rhubarb jam,the apple butter, tobasco sauce, lets see what else have I taken home to eat. I am set for the winter. Peach butter yum. The photos are beautiful.

    3. Ok, Steph, my food prep role model, I need your awesome skills to help me identify a problem: I made pickles for the first time ever, the first jar I opened was awesome, the 2nd, I had to scrap b/c the pickles were all soggly and mushy and 3rd jar is 1/2 and 1/2 of awesome and mush. Where did I go wrong?

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