Garden Notes

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Here’s today’s project.    The food forest attached to the community garden has two beautiful elder shrubs.     I was out at around 8:00 this morning to beat the heat and humidity.   I pulled off 18 heads, and you wouldn’t even know I was there.

Making a sugar syrup was not my idea of the best thing to do on a humid July morning, but I pushed on through, and everything is currently steeping for the next 24 hours.    I’m really looking forward to seeing how it comes out.

Further Adventures in Domesticity


I actually had the whole week off after the Montreal trip off.   (We were supposed to both have it off, until the Great Appendix Caper in February forced the BF to have to give some time back.)     I have been slow in posting because our internet has been on the fritz for most of it.    Not to say this is a huge problem, as I’ve been keeping myself busy with other things, like this peach lavender jam.


I was expecting the amount in the processed jars on the left.   I got double what I was expecting.    Fortunately, it’s delicious.


Further Adventures in Domesticity

I haven’t done any canning in ages – and still haven’t.   But my mother got two quart sized take out containers of sour cherries right before she was going to leave the state, so she left them with me.    I ended using David Lebovitz’s No Recipe Cherry Jam because I didn’t have enough fruit to make a full sized, cannable batch.

This stuff is amazing.    Like I want to buy a house so I have a yard in which I can plant a sour cherry tree because that’s probably the only way I’m going to be able to cook with these in any amount of bulk without spending tons of money, amazing.    The hypothetical orchard just got bigger…

Further Adventures in Domesticity

So what do you do when you have a batch of fairly tasteless apples, and you’d rather move on to the much better batch you bought at the farmer’s market?    Make applesauce!

This is using the recipe from Canning for a New Generation.   Sadly, I did fall prey to my occasional issue where I only get about half of the batch amount it says I should.    I started with six pounds of apples.     This is not six pints of applesauce.

At least it tastes good.

Furthur Adventures in Domescity

I love how those lovely red crab apples created a psychedelic pink juice (which sadly the camera did not do justice too), and then calmed down into a lovely red jelly.    (Which the camera also did not do justice too – it look much more pink in the photo.)

This is the Old Fashioned Crab Apple Jelly from the Ball Complete Book of Canning.    This is the first recipe that had you make the juice as a separate exercise, and I admit, I liked that better.    I feel like I got more out of the mash by leaving it alone to drain.      And splitting it up into a two day exercise was more pleasant.

The one bad thing: does that look like six eight ounce jars?     This is the second time I’ve had a recipe from that book produce way less than it said it would.    Which in some ways, I don’t mind – I do have to store this stuff after all.   But the difference does trouble me.


Due to an ill timed tornado watch on Thursday evening, despite it being a holiday, I got up at my regular work time on the 4th so I could be at Maxwell’s Farm when they open at 8:00.    The above was the fruits (pun intended, hardy har) of my labors.   13 pounds later.     I was home by 10:00.   My hamstrings may never forgive me.   But I digress.

Since I was on call (bad thing about having a Canadian subsidiary), and couldn’t go anywhere (which was ultimately a good thing, since the weather that afternoon turned crappy due to a certain hurricane named Arthur hovering out in the Atlantic), I made jam.     Hulling those dang things took a good chunk of the morning, and that afternoon, I made batch number one: regular strawberry jam, using the same recipe I made with my mother a few summers ago that produced the batch of jam we termed the spackle.    It was delicious, but you could totally have spackled walls with it.    This time, I employed a gel test.    It’s taking its dear sweet time to set (which the last batch did too, so I’m not too worried yet), so let’s hope it comes out with a good consistency.

And from today, Strawberry Balsamic jam, specially requested by my step-father, and still in its 24 hour after processing rest.    Both recipes came from the Ball Complete Book of Preserving book.   The little bits I was able to lick out of the pan are very promising.

Further Adventures in Domesticity

I’ve had quite the preserving week.   The first thing, started during the week because I saw bags of key limes for $1.79 a pop and had to do something with them, is the above key lime pickle.    It’s basically a preserved lemon, but with Indian spices.   It’s percolating away, and should be ready when I get back from my trip at the end of September.

So Saturday, I moved on to storing the bounty of both my garden, and the CSA.   Yep, that’s ten jars of pickled jalapeno slices, which will take the place of ten cans of green chilies.    I will say, this is probably the biggest bang for my buck of any preserving I’ve ever done.   Pickles are so much faster than jam, and I used green chilies in lots of random recipes.

And last, these jars of sunny goodness (still resting), started their lives as local peaches at yesterday’s farmer’s market.    I used the Quick Peach Jam recipe from the Ball Complete Preserving book.    It’s a little more sugar (ok a lot more) than I prefer, but I did have some liquid pectin I needed to use up, and the quicker part of the recipe title did catch me.

This smelled amazing cooking.    And the little bit I had leftover to sample was also amazing.   I think I’m going to be completely selfish, and keep these little beauties for the BF and me.