I’m Sitting Down Now!

I’m Sitting Down Now!

Whew! I’m sitting down now, at last. It is 7:01 p.m. I’ve been on the go, and on my feet all day long, but for five or six, five to ten minute breaks. I am tired! The good kind of tired, the kind of tired that fills you up with endorphins and calm happy thoughts. I hope there aren’t too many errors in this post, too tired to see them if there are.

The lead up to today’s activities started last week, when Attila harvested a quart of Crab Apples from our new tree in the front yard. He cut the Apples up, and I set them to ferment in a mason jar. In a few months we will have a nice little bit of Apple Cider Vinegar. Early last week as well, since the Nasturtiums in the back yard were blooming so profusely, I decided to pick them, to try making Nasturtium Hot Sauce. I used Apple Cider Vinegar, garden Nasturtium blooms, and a whole garden Jalapeno Pepper. That won’t be ready for some time to come, so I can’t speak to the success of the project.

Inspired by the Nasturtium Hot Sauce, and the fact that the Nasturtiums put out twice as many blooms the very next day after they were harvested, the decision was made to attempt Nasturtium Jelly. I didn’t like the recipes available, so I picked the blooms, cleaned them, put them in a mason jar, added boiling water, then set them to steep overnight. This morning the infusion was strained to remove the blooms, and the jelly was made, jarred, then steam canned. I loved the flavour, which I tasted when licking the spoon!

I arose around 6:30 this morning, and enjoyed a quiet cup of coffee out on the back porch, while Attila slept in. I love the early morning, before the bustle of the day begins.

The jelly making started just before 7:00 a.m. this morning. It was just the beginning of a busy day.

On the weekends Attila harvests his garden, and things get pretty hectic at home.

After finishing the Nasturtium Jelly, the next project of the day was started, Cowboy Candy. Cowboy Candy really is candy, the recipe calls for two cups of apple cider vinegar, and six cup of sugar. This produces four 500 ml jars, which is well over a cup of sugar per jar. Attila loves the stuff, and I like it too. While I was preparing the kitchen to make this, Attila arose, had his morning coffee, then headed out into the garden to harvest four pounds of Jalapeno Peppers. It was game on, and few hours later there were eight 500 ml jars of Cowboy Candy lined up on the counter. All the jars sealed. The snap that the lids make when the jars seal is one of those sounds we love to hear.

Next, preparations began to make Dill Pickles, and Dilly Beans. Again, out Attila went into the garden to fetch the Cucumbers and Scarlet Runner Beans. A few hours later we had three 500 ml jars of Dilly Beans, one 500 ml jar of Dill Pickles, and one 500 ml mixed jar with Cucumbers and Beans. All of those jars sealed. More joy!

Attila was out the door and back in the garden. This time he brought in Serrano Peppers, and Pepperoncini Peppers. We pickled two 500 ml jars of Pickled Pepperoncini Peppers, one 500 ml jar of Pickled Serrano Peppers, and one 250 ml jar of Pickled Serrano Peppers. All of those jars sealed. Even more joy!

As all this was going on, I managed to bake a loaf of bread.

At the end of the day twenty jars of canned goods and one loaf of bread sat cooling on the counter.

I’ve been experimenting with Tattler reusable canning lids. When I first tried them I had an 80% seal failure, and some of the seals that seemed fine actually failed on the shelves after a few weeks. The instructions were carefully followed. So since then I experiment with these lids, on foods that could be eaten immediately, or that would ordinarily be stored in the kitchen cupboard where I could keep an eye on them. Also for now, these lids are used only with high acid foods such as pickles and jams. Pickles and jams keep relatively well at room temperature for a short period of time, so if a seal fails the food has a better chance of remaining edible. High acid canned foods look, smell, or taste off when they are not OK, and there is no danger of botulism if they seem OK. I have a much better success rate now, but still not high enough. It seemed to make a big difference when I kept the lids in boiling water on a hot plate beside the canning station. This was a lot of extra work, and it should not be necessary, but it did improve the success rate. Then one day I had an almost full jar that I added water too, which would be canned but refrigerated and consumed within days. Since it seemed undesirable to waste a new lid on that jar, a room temperature Tattler ring and lid were grabbed out of the cupboard and used. The darn thing sealed, and stayed sealed! I tried it again in the next canning session, the darn thing sealed again. Today I used three room temperature Tattler lids on the jelly and pickles, tomorrow will reveal if they sealed. There is no safety issue with using room temperature lids, as long as the lids seal and stay sealed.

We didn’t have time to can tomatoes today! And there are tomatoes everywhere, on top of the refrigerator in bowls, in the cooler in bags, and in the refrigerator in bags. Tomorrow is tomato canning day.

Since I was on my feet all day long, Attila prepared our evening meal. Out he went into the garden again, to fetch a Kohlrabi. I set up the Instant Pot to cook the garden Kohlrabi and Potatoes. Attila set up the air fryer to bake the Coconut Lime Fish. The meal was delicious.

Attila is tackling another project this evening, dehydrating Garden Parsley. It should be ready tomorrow, to crumble and jar.

Funny thing about my recent homemade bread, it is rising as it should now. I don’t know what the issue was for the last four or five months, but my regular recipe for bread was producing dense loaves. They have been tasty enough, so we enjoyed them. I’ve used the same recipe for years, that hasn’t changed. At first I thought it was due to the wheat berries I was milling, they seemed to have a higher proportion of bran than previous bags of berries. The recipe was tweaked, there were small improvements, but the bread was still denser than it had been. I wondered if it was due to the house being air conditioned during the incessant heat and humidity we experienced all summer long. I think not though, because suddenly, three loaves ago, the bread rose to expected heights, and was light rather than dense. The last three loaves have been perfect! One was baked with the air conditioner on, the other two were baked when the windows were open, with same lovely results. The first well risen loaf was baked with the high bran wheat berries, the subsequent loaves were baked with flour milled from a newer bag of wheat berries. The results were the same for all three loaves. So it doesn’t seem to have been the high bran wheat berries, or the air conditioning, that caused the increased density in the loaves. It is a mystery! Oh well, I am happy the loaves have returned to their normal volume.

The weather was lovely yesterday and today, not too hot, and not too cold, sunny with some clouds, breezy without gusts.

Attila brought me flowers from his garden, the last of the Heliopsis, and two giant Marigolds. I keep them in front of me when I am working on the computer, so cheerful.

Worldly

Weather

Updated on Sat, Sep 18, 8:25 PM
15 °C
FEELS LIKE 15
A few clouds
Wind 6 N km/h
Humidity 73 %
Visibility 20 km
Sunrise 6:51 AM
Wind gust 9 km/h
Pressure 101.9 kPa
Ceiling 9100 m
Sunset 7:11 PM

Quote

“Blessed are they who heal you of self-despisings. Of all services which can be done to man, I know of none more precious.”
William Hale White

I read the following with great interest. Ah yes, a retiring disposition, I think that might describe me as well, I think.

“William Hale White, known by his pseudonym Mark Rutherford, was a British writer and civil servant. His obituary in The Times stated that the “employment of a pseudonym, and sometimes of two, was sufficient to prove a retiring disposition, and Mr. Hale White was little before the world in person.”Wikipedia

10 Comments

  1. Oh Maggie – I am tired just reading this yet I admire you because you obviously enjoy what you do. I know you ‘do it’ because of circumstances but would you if you didn’t have to?
    I’ve known about edible flowers for a long time yet have never associated jams/jellies/pickles with them. You learn something new each day

  2. Hello Cathy! I do love all the activities I describe here, truly I do. I was a Home Economics teacher as a young woman, with three years University training in food chemistry and nutrition. I think that I would be doing this, or something very similar, under any circumstances where I had free choice.
    In 2018 I made Dandelion Jelly, and loved it. I still have some in the pantry, so I haven’t made it again. That was my first foray into jam/jelly making with edible flowers. The Nasturtium Jelly is my second project. In the more distant past I used to pick wild berries and fruits to make jams and jellies, and loved those. I particularly like Rose Hip Jelly, but Granny’s Rose didn’t produce any rose hips this year, so no Jelly. Jelly is so very easy to make with most edible flowers – collect, clean, add boiling water, infuse, strain, prepare jelly, then water bath or steam can for 10 minutes.
    Stay safe dear friend!

  3. Joan, the Nasturtium Jelly is sweet, and kind of peppery. If I had wanted to, I could have chopped up a hot pepper and added it to the bloom infusion, that would give it a real kick. Jams and Jellies are made with sugar, it is required to interact with the pectin/acid to jell the mixture. There is a type of pectin that will jell by interacting with calcium, so jams and jellies can be made with less sugar. The thing about low sugar jams and jellies is that once they are opened they will spoil significantly more quickly than those made with more sugar. I have yet to experiment with the calcium jelling pectin, but that is coming in the future, when I have used up all the regular pectin in my canning cupboard. I plan on making 250 ml jars of the lower sugar jams and jellies, so that they won’t go bad on me, as it takes me quite a while to eat my way through a jar of jam.

    🙂 I am repsonding in the tomorrow you refer to. Already this morning I have cleaned all the rings from yesterday’s canning, washed all the jars in soapy water and rinsed, dried, and labelled all the jars. We are canning tomotoes today, so it will be busy, but perhaps not quite so busy as yesterday, so I’ll take longer breaks. The push of food preservation during harvest season is my marathon, and I am so grateful that I can push myself this much at my age, without injury or pain. Such a feeling of accomplishment.
    Stay safe dear friend!

  4. I’ve recently had a similar experience, where my batch of bread didn’t rise well and was dense and heavy. It tasted fine, but its size was disappointing. I never did figure out the reason it turned out so differently than every other batch I’d made with the exact same recipe, same flour, same yeast, same everything except … I had shaped the loaves, put them into pans, and driven them a mile down the road to rise at our former little house and bake there, because it was so hot that day that we didn’t want to use the oven in the house here at Golden Grain Farm. I didn’t think that short drive when the loaves had not even begun to rise would have had that result. But maybe it did. -Kate

  5. Wow Kate, the effect of a short drive on the loaves of bread is really interesting. I wonder what it might have been, perhaps vibration, air flow in the vehicle, different air flow in the other house, microclimatic differences at the different locations? Mysterious! Bread baking is a dance.
    Stay safe dear friend!

  6. Teri, we voted early, all done! When we went in there were no other voters, and the staff were all wearing masks. I chatted with the young woman on the phones who checked us in, and she was telling me her child is immunocompromised, that would be so hard!

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