Wrap up post

2 Aug

Don’t worry, I’m not wrapping up as in “this is the end.” I’m wrapping up before I go on vacation for ten glorious days.  So, odds and ends…

I got a nice new camera. No more crappy droid pictures.

I made Blueberry Butter in the slow cooker yesterday. It was soooo easy!  You prepare your fruit, which with blueberries its a simple matter of putting them in the blender, then put your fruit puree in the slow cooker and go to work, go to sleep, read a book or otherwise kill a flexible amount of time somewhere between 5 and 24 hours.

  The beauty is the flexibility of this method. Seriously you can cut the timing short, or leave it in longer until you are ready to finish it.  Another canning blog (!!!) said she left it in for 24 hours!! That seems long, but I guess it worked.  I made a few other changes to the recipe above  to suit my taste as well:

  • I used 10 cups of blueberry puree
  • reduced the sugar to 1 1/2 cups
  • added an extra teaspoon of cinnamon

I love blueberries!  I can’t wait to pop this open come fall and winter and slather it on some scones.  Or eat it from the jar with a spoon…whatever.

Pickled Watermelon Rind

This, you may be surprised to learn, isn’t some crazy concoction I found in my search for pickled weirdness. This is an old family favorite.  I grew up on this.  My parents served it with curry in place of chutney (yes, I know, I did actually grow up eating curry in the 1970s.  Probably the only family in Doylestown PA in 1974 that had chicken curry once a month!)  but it probably stems from times of scarcity when you preserved everything you could. I imagine this was a way of turning sugar into an edible treat when corner stores didn’t exist in most of America and penny candy was a rare treat.

So what is it?? Just what it sounds like, watermelon RINDS, pickled.

The process goes like this:

Remove the flesh of the watermelon:

Peel off the dark green outer skin:

And what you have left is a tender fleshy rind which you cut into bite size pieces for easy snacking:

I made it two ways, neither of which recipe I have in my possession right now. But one calls for soaking the rinds in a brine for 12 hours and the other simply boiled them until they become translucent (seriously, its cool! you can see right through them!)  Here is a link to an online recipe of the brining sort.   This is basically how I made them, with the exception that I added lemons and ginger slices:

The dark pickled watermelon, after boiling, were added to a syrup made of brown sugar and left to bubble away for 90 minutes then canned.

If anyone desperately wants either specific recipe that used just let me know and I’ll post it or send it to you.

I can’t wait to take my dad a few jars of these homemade pickled watermelon rind!

Pretty Pickled Beets

Along with the Pickled Green Strawberries for the Grow Pittsburgh Picnic I was also given a bag of simply gorgeous little beets, golden and candy cane striped.

Of course I decided to pickle them.  I couldn’t find a recipe I liked for a quick pickle so I made up my own. I can’t recall the exact proportions of vinegar to water, but for a quick pickle that isn’t critical. I also chose a sweet pickle, with sugar and then chose spices to complement that:

I added flavors to compliment the sweet earthy flavor of beets including lemon zest, cloves, cinnamon, coriander, black pepper and anise seed.  I roasted the beets, packed them into the jar and then poured the brine over it.  They sat for about 24 hours which was long enough. Zesty, sweet and earthy these little gems compliment cheese and crackers, add zip to a salad, provide a counter point to a spicy polish sausage, and go down easy strait out of the jar (trust me!)

There’s more. Much more. My preserving has taken a turn towards obsession. But I don’t have time to share before I head out on vacation.  I’ll be gone 10 days, back the 15th of August. My dog sitter will be enjoying the fruits of my garden in the meantime but a trip through Amish country means I’ll probably do some preserving on vacation…like I said, obsessed.  Until then…

One final note, THIS is the top shelf of my fridge last week…

I don’t know if you can tell, but it is entirely, ENTIRELY, jars, booze, and a bucket of cherries waiting to be preserved.  Happy sigh.


2 Responses to “Wrap up post”

  1. Emily Brungo August 2, 2011 at 4:20 pm #

    You are turning into the Amish. Don’t inadvertently unplug your refrigerator. You should start a mail order business. I would totally order from you. Have fun on vay-cay.

  2. JenEngland August 3, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

    Robby wants to open a corner store and sell all my jars. He keeps giving them away as it is! Would you believe there is jerky in our dehydrator as we speak?? I don’t think one has to dig to deep to uncover the psychological root of my need to suddenly preserve everything this year, lol.

    And yes, I saw your Vegas tale of rotting meat. Ew. Will not follow in your footsteps there!

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