Jammin' and Swimmin'

Saturday, June 27, 2009

This morning my friend Salina came over to learn how to make jam. We spent 3 hours making 2 batches of strawberry jam and some raspberry chocolate sauce. It was the first time she and I had been able to just hang out together and it was a lot of fun. We gossiped and told stories the whole time, it made the fact that it was really hot today quite bearable. Then given that it was so hot, we decided to head over to Woodland and jump in my parent's pool. We took the dogs with us and tossed Buddy & Woody in so they could cool off. They ran around the backyard while we had fun in the pool. All in all it was a busy and fun day. Now I'm all sleepy and just want to go snuggle in my bed to dream about tomorrow and the fun I'm going to have at Emiley's canning bar-b-que sauce while Kelsey and Sierra play in the backyard!

Yes, it's been a while...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Yes, it has been a while since there has been any updates, but there hasn't been too much going on. Recently, I've been on a canning frenzy. I suppose it's the fact that it's early Summer and there are all sorts of yummy fruits that just call my name. It could also be the awesome canning book I got for my birthday that has these great recipes in it that I just can't resist. Last Saturday when the man and I were out doing our weekly bit of shopping we found great berries at the 99cent store, so I piled in my cart a bunch of raspberries, blackberries and strawberries. Of course my first thought is "Triple Berry Jam!"

So, getting out my new canning pot and supplies, I got ready to do my first batch of jam in my new kitchen. Now, last year when I did my jams, I did them in a tiny kitchen with about 2 square feet of workspace and had to add a small table next to the stove to fill the jars. The table had a penchant for collapsing, so that made it even more interesting. Needless to say, I was quite excited to get going and work in my bigger and better kitchen. I not only have one whole side of the kitchen that has a great amount of counter space, but I also have a good work area next to the stove for the actual canning process.



Following my directions and crushing my berries, I was on my way! The berries were cooking, the jars were getting sterilized and I was ready to go!

I followed the recipe and instructions from my book and placed my jars in the pot to process for 10 minutes. After that they were pulled out and set to rest and seal, and I was off to my next conquest. The beauty that I got was this:



I learned that with this cookbook the estimated amount of jars is not always correct as you can see with the semi-filled quart jar. That's the one that got put in the fridge for immediate use, not that I was complaining while I was eating that yummy jam on some of Tate's home made bread!

Now that I had the jam done and under my belt, it was time to tackle something different and new. I was thinking Christmas gifts for the office. So I found a Thai Sweet & Hot dipping sauce. It sounded awesome, and super easy to make. Off to the store I went for more sugar and vinegar. I re-established my love for my stick blender and all of its attachments when the recipe called for a 1/2 cup of chopped garlic. Who really wants to sit there and chop all that garlic? Um, not I. So in the little chopper it goes, a few pulses and out comes all this beautiful chopped garlic. Done and done! 20 minutes later, my dipping sauce is cooked and out of the canner sitting beside my lovely jam. I'm hooked!

Oh, the ideas I have now. I want to do more, more, more!! The recipes are endless! I find recipes for red wine jelly and berry wine jelly, so, yup - got those done one night after work. One more recipe that I found was for a raspberry chocolate sauce that sounds absolutely divine. Saturday morning I wake up early and take myself off to the store in search of raspberries. I paid the price for them at Trader Joe's but I'm a maniac at this point and just don't care. I NEED to make this sauce. It's haunting me in my dreams. I can just imagine all the things I'm going to do with it. I scurry home and get to crushing berries and 40 minutes later after everything is done, I have 9 lovely 1/2 pints sitting on my counter cooling.

Now you're probably asking yourself, there isn't anything more she can possibly do is there? Well yes there is, my friend!! What about jalapeƱo jelly? That's a great Christmas gift. Or, the cranberry pineapple sauce I made for Thanksgiving? Wouldn't that be scrumptious all done and in a jar, so come Thanksgiving I can just pop it out of it's jar and call it done? Don't forget about the tomatoes that will be ripe soon. Jars and jars of lovely ripe tomatoes ready for soups sauces and more! How about salsas from the tomatoes? Fresh salsa in the winter months already made and yummy. Or the endless amounts of fruits available right now. Why am I sitting here typing when I can be off canning!!!

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