Hello there my bloggity friends!!
So yes, right off the bat let me apologize for my minor hiatus... I have found a new obsession to occupy my time with. I have been home canning all the fruits and veggies that I can get my little paws on!!! (Since I have had to explain this several times to people, I will explain it here as well... "canning" refers to the process of preserving fruits and vegetables in the home environment. "Canning" is a little misleading because you are actually technically "jarring" fruit or veggies and/or pickling them, then using either a water bath "canner" which is a large pot with a rack inside or a pressure canner which is kind of like a pressure cooker to remove the air from the jars making them shelf stable for usually 1-2 years. Think of your grandma's pantry. Lots of jars of peaches and probably homemade applesauce or pickles.) So yeah! I'm the mutha flippin' domestic goddess up in this hizzie! Let me tell you how this happened...
At the beginning of the month I thought to myself "I wanna can some peaches this year." So I went to the store, bought some sugar and a case of mason jars and borrowed a large stock pot from my friend Kristian (who, by this favor single handedly facilitated this new additiction, and who I thank PROFUSELY for that!). Unfortunately (well, fortunately in the long run) the peaches at the grocery store were a little expensive and hard as rocks since they weren't in season yet. It only took that split second for me to decide that I would buy as much produce for canning as I could from the local farmer's market. (I like the SLC Downtown Farmer's market... some people don't dig the crowd and hubub, I tend to like it. There is a tuesday afternoon market that's not nearly as busy as its Saturday morning counterpart if you want to support the Downtown market but don't like the crowds.) HOWEVER... as it was Wednesday, I am extremely impatient, and they WERE on sale, I bought three bags of black cherries (6 pounds total) and took them home to can.
Of course, I'm not sure why I chose cherries, other than I like them and they were on sale. First, what do you do with them after they are preserved? Second, I have never eaten home canned cherries (and still have not actually) so I had no clue what they would taste like. But mostly, what the hell am I gonna do about all those pits?! I was stressing about having to go out and buy a cherry pitter when I found this awesome youtube video about how to bend a fork into a DIY cherry pitter!! Of course, I did have to do 6 POUNDS OF CHERRIES BY HAND!!! Rar!!! It was sticky and took a couple of hours but eventually I did it. I sanitized my jars (that was before I knew that with high acid food like fruit and acidic veggies you don't actually have to sanitize if you process longer than 15 minutes, as long as the jars are clean) made my sugar syrup (I did then, and continue to use an extra light syrup. I don't like a lot of sugar anyway, plus the fruit I have been getting is all local, in season, and beautifully sweet on its own) and then I did what I deem as my first canning mistake. Well I wouldn't really call it a mistake... I hot packed the cherries, meaning I put the fresh fruit in the boiling syrup for 5 minutes before adding it to the jars and processing them in the hot water. Its a method that some people use but it does degrade the color and fresh fruit flavor of the food. I'm sure they will still be good. But everything else I have raw packed, meaning just put the raw fruit in the jars, added the syrup, and then processed.
AND BOY HAVE I BEEN CANNING!!!
Apricots, dill pickles, refrigerator pickles, apple butter, peaches, pears, pickled beets, pear sauce (like applesauce but with pears. SO GOOD!), and not only canning fruit, but I've been jamming my little heart out too! I haven't crossed the threshold into real jellies and shelf stable jams yet but I have been making oodles of freezer jam; apricot, raspberry, peach, and even a peach raspberry sugar free jam!
I still have a few projects I want to do this year before the summer is over... mainly pickled green beans and maybe zucchini pickles (did you know you can make pickles out of more than just cucumbers?!), I'd love to do something with blueberries, and I keep watching the Ranier cherries at the store to see if they go on sale... they are SO tasty! I can imagine them in little jars on my counter like little jewels in light golden syrup! But I am anxious for fall for all the apples! I intend to make countless jars of apple butter, applesauce, apple pies, and for pumpkins... I hope I can find a recipe for homemade pumpkin pie filling and can it up for next year!
Other than all the canning I've been up to, I've also joined a DnD game (Dungeons and Dragons for the... wait... like anybody who reads this won't know what that is...) with some of my favorite peoples in the world (Yes, Indy, I'm talking about you, your man, muffin, and Sarah! P.S. Indy has a blog called "Adventures in Roller Skating", which you all should read.) I am having such a blast!! Last night we fought a white dragon and I literally almost died! I was down to -9 HP! I only had ONE POINT left!!! Thank goodness our airship has goblins on it who brew healing potions. I would have been sad if my brand new character died! Between gaming, canning, roller derby, and.... WAIT!!!! ROLLER DERBY!!!
Okay, the Red Rockettes are having our FIRST EVER real bout on September 8th at the Warehouse (1410 S 700 W in Salt Lake City) at 8pm!! Like us on Facebook! I am SOOOO excited but at the same time, so freakin scared! I have managed to avoid skating with the "big girls" for a long time. We have had picnic scrimmages that are open invite to any derby girl, but I don't do them because I don't feel like I'm a good enough to skater to skate with them. But on the 8th we are facing Happy Valley Derby Dames, the Utah County team, in a REAL LIVE bout! I hope I do good and don't get killeded!! I am going to be practicing a lot more lately as I have recently been inspired to put more effort into staying fit and improving my skill level, and I'm sure that after this bout I'm going to continue to be inspired if ya know what I mean... ;)
Last of all, here is some stuff I've been into that you might wanna be into. I am OBSESSED with Dr. Who... and the newest episode was last night and it was SO GOOD!! You can watch the latest incarnation of Dr. Who on Netflix streaming. New episodes are Saturdays on BBC America. I also recommend Torchwood, which is a spinoff and also very good. The new season of that is on Starz. Also if you happen to be into the whole canning thing or want to get started, I recommend the following blogs, Food In Jars, The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking, and Punk Domestics. Last of all, I am trying to start a podcast with geeky girls talking about geeky stuff. Games, tv, movies, comic books, stuff like that. If anyone is interested comment here or on my facebook and I'll get in touch with you. (Speakin a podcasts, check out my hubby's won't you? The Punk N Pie Fraudcast. Its hilarious and stuff.)
So I figure... life is a little like canning... you take stuff when its at its best, and then you save it up and on a cold day, you pop open a jar and enjoy. I can't wait to still have summer peaches in the freezing January cold. :)