Showing posts from March, 2012

Canning Watermelon Rind Pickles?

Last year while farm dreaming (dream no more, I start my farm internship next week!) I loaded a picture of my great-grandma's tractor laden with cantaloupe and watermelon, then later made jokes about watermelon obsession in my family line and posted a picture of her abundant harvest of squash, watermelon and pumpkins. I'm reminding you of this because I've finally uploaded the pictures of Michael's watermelon rind pickles. I didn't make these sweet beauties but I did eat the flesh of the two, 7 lb watermelons. The best I can assume is that I consumed 10 pounds of fruit in about 3 days and it worked in my favor because he doesn't care for it. I can't wait for watermelon season to come again...
In the meantime I'll get my sweet satisfaction this way! I love how the little bit of red flesh adds a splash of bright color to the otherwise yellow/green-tinged fruit pickle. They are festive and taste like candy, practically no sour bite at all. 
We started by bu…

Canning Piccalilli (mustard pickles)

The other day when I was pondering the Bread and Butter Pickles my grandma makes, I mentioned that the Piccalilli I made last season was giving those sweet-sour pickles a run for their #1 spot. I also realized that there are a few canning batches that never made it onto the blog because I'd misplaced by camera for a few months (found it hidden from myself in the dresser).Oops!
Piccalilli! I'd never heard of such a thing but after reading the recipe I realized this was very similar to the mustard pickles my Grandma made throughout my childhood. Her pickles included my favorite snack, tart little pearl onions and tiny chunks of cauliflower. Yum.

Flipping through my favorite canning book like I often do when planning my pantry, The River Cottage Preserves Handbookchimed in with a delicious recipe and a pretty picture of Romanesco. Michael and I both agreed early in the season that this would make it on our list so we purchased a load of vegetables at the peak of season here in th…

Grandma's Bread and Butter Pickles, my favorite.

This morning a friend was looking to recreate a type of sweet pickle she tried while traveling in Texas. She described it as "pretty basic, thinly sliced cucumber, sweet onions, red and green bell peppers (mandolin thin). They tasted like a pretty basic pickling recipe, sweeter over salty or spicy." I immediately thought of my mom's bread and butter pickles, but my mom was at work and didn’t have the recipe so I called my 80 year old grandma who originally gave her the recipe. It was really nice. Both she and my grandpa answered the phone from different rooms and the three of us talked for a while. Awesome!

Here's their recipe:

~6 pounds of cucumbers thinly sliced (should be 4 quarts sliced)
~1.5 c sliced onions
~2 large cloves of garlic, sliced
~1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced

In a large container (the more spread out the pickles can be, the better. My mom uses wide/deep rectangular plastic tub or even a clean sink), sprinkle 1/3 c pickling salt an…

Kenobi Kitty needs a new home.

Dear Friends,

I'm sad to say that I'm trying to find one of my very best friends a new home. I'm sure when you read the title of this post you all began clamoring for my kitty's love... or at least that's my dream. How could you not love and want this feline friend? A 4 year old, neutered, microchipped male, he's a great cat.

I'm moving to a farm where 2 cats and 1 dog already reside and taking Kenobi with me isn't feasible. He's a good friend that needs a good home and I'm really hoping somebody I know can be that person. I'm going to miss him a lot... he's been my best companion.

Here's what I want you to know about him. The good first.
Kitty is very affectionate and wants to be loved. He likes sitting next to me on the couch while I knit or watch netflix movies, sleeps in the nook of my arm (or between my legs, or on top of my belly, or next to my face... you get the point), and often follows me around the apartment. He likes a g…

My first canned good gone bad. Spoilage scare!

I've done a fair bit of home canning and all of my foods have been and stayed good until eaten; in fact, I've never even had a problem with a jar not sealing during the initial processing time. I consider myself lucky! But last weekend when my family came to visit and I excitedly showed them my year's work, a terrible, terrible sight looked back at me.

The jar on the left immediately caught my eye because those pickled nectarines were looking very brown and discolored, even inside the cupboard. My mom tapped the lids to check the seal and the jar with the darkest colored fruit didn't sound like the others. To my horror, I simply lifted the lid right off the jar with my fingers-- no can opener needed. Spoilage. It smelled really sweet, in the way a piece of fruit past its prime does.

Now that the freak-out has passed I'm not afraid of botulism because this was a high-acid food. A sugary, acidic fruit that was pickled in vinegar isn't a recipe conducive to botulis…

Tova: a weekend sewing project.

I don't remember how I connected to Wiksten in the first place but designer extraordinaire Jenny Gordy has released two patterns, my favorite being Tova-- I see many varieties of this shirt in my future. Excitingly, just two days ago she announced on her blog that sewing patterns are now for sale in a downloadable format! It will save you money (cost is a jaw-dropping 1/3 of professionally printed price) and while I swear the printed version is one of the most beautiful/durable patterns you'll ever handle, I'll probably download the tank and see if I can manage with that format.

Let's start with a picture of the finished product and then move through a couple of modifications and lessons learned.

To begin I cut the actual pattern pieces from the large sheet of paper then laid the pattern onto my fabric. The yardage required from the pattern is 2.5 yards for the shirt (3.5 for dress) in 42-45" width. And so I knew I'd have a problem... because I had just a smidg…