Monday, August 23, 2010

I Am In Canning Paradise

We have a lot going this week in the canning kitchen. Over the weekend we canned tomato juice-21 quarts, salsa-10 pints, chokecherry/peach jelly-10 half pints and the Cowboy Candy that I blogged about before. This week we have more of all of the above to can as well as pears, more peaches (hopefully),

and Tennessee Sweet Potato Squash (that's it above, they're huge) and Pie Pumpkin. I'm canning both the squash and pumpkin in a sugar syrup, the pumpkin will have cinnamon and nutmeg added, then you can open a can and voila'! pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, steamed pumpkin pudding, pumpkin bread, the list is almost endless. I will can some pumpkin plain because we like it in Winter Vegetable Chowder (that has parsnips, carrots, beets, squashes and pumpkin). I'd like to can beef tips this week, but I might not get to that. I love canning but the sewing suffers when I'm busy putting things in jars and the canning suffers when I'm sewing a lot. Such is life. There isn't enough "me" to go around some days. :-) I put an advertisement in our local newspaper to purchase canning jars and over the past few weeks I have acquired about 600 more jars, there are jars *everywhere*! We have hundreds of jars filled already and plans to fill most of the rest. Life is busy, work is good, I am happy.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Cowboy Candy

On the canning docket today was Cowboy Candy, a yummy blend of hot peppers in a bread and butter pickling sauce. It's good on hotdogs, burgers, scrambled eggs or poured over cream cheese as a cracker dip. I am a complete wimp about hot peppers but I do like this!

Cowboy Candy
12 cups of pepper rings: bell, jalapeno, sweet banana, chili, any peppers that you like or if your name is Reber or Shumway then add lots of habanero or cherry bomb. :-D
4 cups of onions of onions
2 1/4 cup vinegar
1 1/2 cup or water
6-8 cups of sugar (8 cups if you like it sweet)
2 TBS of mustard seed
2 tsp of turmeric
2 tsp celery seed

-Wash and cut peppers & onions into thin slices and put in a large pot with the water and vinegar...bring to a boil
-Reduce heat & simmer until tender, about 10 minutes
-Add remaining ingredients
-Bring back to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for another 10 minutes
-Pack clean, hot, sterilized jars and lids leaving 1 inch headspace, adjust lids.
-Water bath can for 20 minutes
Yields about 7 pints

Monday, August 16, 2010

There's No Time Like the Past

Katie was away this weekend to the Hale Farm Civil War Reenactment. When we went to pick her up we had Bob Szabo take a wet plate image of Katie and Asa. I'm pleased with how it turned out, Asa wasn't unhappy he was actually smiling and kicking his legs so he's a bit blurred. I think it looks "real", do you? The image of Katie and Asa looks like it could be Aleks and I 20 years ago, how eerie is that?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

1860's Knitted Baby Vest

I have been working, for about a month now, on a knitted baby vest. I know that knitted vests were common in the Civil War era and it seemed like a wonderfully warm addition to Asa's winter wardrobe. Previous to beginning this project I could: cast on, knit and purl so I had many new skills to learn if I wanted to knit this vest. I learned how to increase and decrease, make buttonholes, crochet an edging and attach two knitted pieces together. And finally, today, the vest in finished!!!
And, wonder of wonders, it doesn't fit. Wow, oh good. I was hoping to have spent all that time for nothing. :-) Actually, it isn't quite that disastrous. You see, for the belt I tried knitting on circular knitting needles (something I had never done before) and the stitches looked wonky. I don't know, maybe there's a trick to making your knitting look neat on them? Anyway, I chucked the circulars and did the belt on regular needles, doing rows of 12 stitches. However, that made the buttonhole sit vertically instead of horizontally like the others. The belt is a bit snug (I didn't block the belt, by the way) and it makes the button pop out of the hole. I suppose the next step is to remove the belt and knit a new, larger one and then crochet new edging for it and re-attach, but I'm not really up for that right now so I guess I'll put it away and sew for a while. :-/