Too busy for pickles???

15 Jul

The girls clown, Eliza photobombs

No, just too busy to post about it. Last Saturday we crossed the Johnstown Flood Museum off the bucket list.  The flood museum was everything I expected it to be and we also enjoyed the Wagner-Ritter house down the street. Johnstown was like the town that time forgot though. The number of storefronts and signs that looked untouched for 40 years was epic.  If you wanted to film a movie about the 1960s, this would be the place!  Even the Johnstown Giant Eagle hadn’t been updated. It’s almost as if the big wigs thought painting the sign would make it look too out of place!

On the way home we stopped at Schramms and though there was no giant Dill, there was plenty of other local produce available for preserving.

As you can see I made more pickle pickles and more dilly beans. But I also veered into uncharted territory to produce pickled kholerabi and pickled blue berries.  I’ll save the kholerabi for another time, but the Blueberries, zomg, you HAVE to try these!

You start by tying up some cloves and some allspice berries in cheese cloth and bringing it to a boil with red wine vinegar.  Toss in your blueberries and simmer to heat through then let stand 8 hours.

The Blueberries are drained and the juice added to sugar and boiled down to thicken.  Place the berries into jars whole and the hot syrup poured over them.  They are sealed and processed and you have whole pickled blueberries.

The author stated that she serves them instead of cranberries with turkey and I can see that. The cloves, allspice and vinegar mean that these berries would certainly pair well with a savory application.  I think they would also go nicely with cheese, but then again, what wouldn’t?  I tasted the syrup and it was heavenly;  that tart sweet duality in any food is such a delight. These might also be nice with a dollop of pepper to bring a little heat, but then again, they were pretty perfect as made.

We are going blueberry picking this weekend and I may in fact pickle whatever we bring home. This is way better than jam in my opinion, and I haven’t quite managed to get my jam making skills under control…

…To wit: I made nectarine jam and some of the jars were fine but others looked like this:

What happened??

Too little pectin? Not enough lemon juice? Too much sugar? Not enough sugar???  The problem stems from my bulk pectin order in that I am sort of flying blind on how much to use. I think it was too little but I’m not sure how to fix this problem. Any expert jam makers out there with advice, I’d love to hear it. I view failed experiments as learning experiences…except where food is concerned. I can’t help but be bitterly disappointed.  🙂

Ugh. Well the Peach Chutney turned out wonderful (except I forgot the peppers so it has NO heat at all) so maybe I’ll stick to chutneys. I’m not much of a jam girl anyway.

So many other wonderful food experiences to tell you about, too little time.  I DO want to post a picture of these brilliant beauties:

Vodka Lemon Jello Shots


These were made by the roommate of Alix Levy, so perhaps that beautiful food charm does spread.  Though it hasn’t done me a bit of good…

These are, as the caption suggests, lemon vodka jello shots served in a lemon rind.  I KNOW, RIGHT???

Also, just because it’s pretty:


4 Responses to “Too busy for pickles???”

  1. Emily Brungo July 15, 2011 at 7:53 pm #

    The Johnstown Giant Eagle just made my day. Do you know how they made the lemon shots?
    You are going to go broke on Mason jars. I am going to go broke on vintage cookbooks.

  2. Jennifer England July 15, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

    I believe its a regular lemon vodka jello shot poured into a hollowed out lemon and then once its set cut into wedges. Also, and if I am actually introducing you to this site I’d be surprised but really excited, check out

  3. laura July 17, 2011 at 6:47 am #

    hmmm is the jam completely separated? I don’t know what would cause that, it’s really an odd one. It looks like the fruit floated up but the bottom is clear, very weird.

    • Jennifer England July 22, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

      So I was perusing canning books at the library and I found one that referred to something called fruit float. That’s what we have here. For some reason sometimes your jam separates (I’m sure the reason is something I did wrong and can fix, but she didn’t really specify what it was). According to this author though, its not a problem, you just stir the jar when you open it. So I guess that’s what I’ll do. It still feels like a failure, but I don’t have a problem with eating failure as long as it tastes good and is safe!

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