It is hot and humid today! Usually I melt in this kind of weather, it is not comfortable for me. BUT today, with the stiff breeze blowing through the open windows, I cannot resist having them all open. Of course I know that if the temperature in the house does not drop significantly by the time I want to sleep, the air source heat pump will make the house comfortable for the night.
Busy, busy, busy here. Last weekend I picked dandelion blossoms and made six jars of dandelion jelly. I experimented with the lids, using Tattlers but not hearing them as per the manufacturers recommendations. One seal failed, the others seemed intact, so they were stored in the pantry. The unsealed jar went into the refrigerator for immediate use. But that was not the end of the story, four more jars failed within a week. I wasn’t too worried about the contents because they seemed fine, and there was no danger of botulism. Botulism is undetectable, and if this had been a low acid food I would have thrown them out. But my jelly is a high acid food and not prone to botulism, so if it was spoiled I would be able to either smell or see or taste that is was off. My solution to the unsealed jars was again to use a technique that is not recommended by the USDA, or any accountable canning expert, I reprocessed the jars. This time using previously used canning lids, another no no. They all sealed, and are stored in the pantry. I will have a look at them in a week or so to see if they are still sealed. But I expect they will be, metal lids are very forgiving and reliable in their habits.
Since the canning season has begun here at Mist Cottage, I had thought to make a batch of strawberry rhubarb jam during the week last week. Such was not to be. The package of pectin sat out on the counter and mocked me all week long. Today I finally had the opportunity to make the jam. The strawberries were purchased frozen last summer, as we were isolating and did not venture into crowds to pick them at a pick-your-own farm. The garden rhubarb is ready, so it was all systems go. I have three lovely jars of strawberry rhubarb jam cooling on the counter, plus a part jar for us to enjoy right away. New lids were used for this precious jam, new metal lids have always sealed for me, and seal these did.
Enough rhubarb was harvested today to warrant getting out the cutting board to chop it all up, bag it, and put it in the freezer to be enjoyed when the snow flies again.
We are advancing on our quest for a new heating system. It is such a huge investment! We will be paying for this for a very long time to come, but needs must, so onward we go. It has been challenging to choose from all the possible combinations and permutations of heating methods, and to choose companies certified to do the work. We had a house inspection to qualify for the Canadian Greener Homes Grant, which was really interesting. All our renovating has paid off it seems, the house is reasonably efficient. It isn’t as efficient as a brand new house, but eventually it might be. A few leaky spots were identified, they are easy to fix. But the shocking news was that most of the exterior walls have NO insulation, good grief! We aren’t going to tackle the walls now though, the heating system is our focus. I was so busy with all the associated tasks of getting prepared and through the inspection, and doing the consequent research, that I had no time to make my strawberry jam.
Attila is out in the garden planting his starts from our little greenhouses. Me, I am sitting here with you, listening to the whistle of wind gusts, watching the sky darken and lighten as clouds make their way above, and enjoying a wonderful day. I hope you are too!
Updated on Sat, May 21, 12:45 PM
FEELS LIKE 36
Wind 21 SW km/h
Humidity 57 %
Visibility 32 km
Sunrise 5:35 AM
Wind gust 31 km/h
Pressure 101 kPa
Ceiling 9100 m
Sunset 8:34 PM
“There is always more misery among the lower classes than there is humanity in the higher.”
1802 – 1885
I’m glad you’re having a lovely day! All’s good here!
We’re harvesting rhubarb now too. Enjoyed a lovely rhubarb crumble today. I too reuse my canning lids, especially for vacuum sealing jars. Looking forward to an abundant harvest and fun (work!) canning, freezing and dehydrating this year’s produce. I enjoy following your preserving efforts . You inspire me to do more and waste less.
I remember you having problems with those tattler lids before. Hope they don’t end up spoiling (literally) all your hard work.
It must be really hard trying to figure out the best heating, especially when costs of heating are so variable right now.
Hope your weather has stayed comfortable. It seems like the weather services can’t get a handle on our temps here on the Lake Huron coast and most days they’re as much as 5 to 10 degrees higher than what we’re getting.
Joan, thank you, I am so very glad that all is well in your world!
Sandra, the rhubarb crumble sounds delicious! I am thinking about sealing jars, but haven’t bought the attachment yet. I was worried that it would not fit on the vaccum sealer I have because it isn’t a FoodSaver, but someone else with my appliance, a Cabela, said it would work. I decided not to order one on Amazon, but wait until I felt safe going into a local store, so that if it does not work I can easily return it. Preserving food is such satisfying fun/work, a hobby with benefits. Enjoy the bounty of your garden!
Teri, the Tattlers are a challenge, I don’t like them much, but will keep plugging along with my experiments hoping to master their mysteries at some point. I keep reading about people who have total success with them, but I sometimes wonder if those people are somehow biased, and perhaps not entirely truthful. I might have lost some of the dandelion jelly, only time will tell. I need to be experimenting with water, so will be giving that a go next time, lesson learned. Still, I am only out the cost of the sugar, pectin, electricity and my time, at least I didn’t lose any fresh fruit, plenty more dandelions where those came from.
Choosing a heating system is a nightmare. To add to the complexity of the decision is the age of Mist Cottage, the unusual construction techniques used, and the current placement of things like plumbing. This home was built with high quality used materials, and before there were rigorous building codes. She is sound, but unusual.
The weather is up and down and all around this spring! Your lake effect would be quite significant, I wonder if they have weather stations along the coast of the lake. The weather near the great lakes is always a bit different than the inland weather. Niagara was like that, almost 10F colder at the lake, with the temperature steadily rising as you headed inland.
Strawberry Rhubarb pie is one of my favorites. Your jam must be delicious!
Sandy, I love Strawberry Rhubarb pie too! The jam is really good, but the recipe I used doesn’t include enough rhubarb, next time I’ll know. I think I can suffer through eating this batch though 🙂 it is pretty good.