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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Methyel jam and more canning to come

Well well well... woke up today to the sounds of Mama N throwing a storm. We got some heavy rain, thunder and lightning, and even some hail! Made me glad I pulled that pot onto the porch and planted in the basil- I don't think it could stand any more water right now, lol.
Of course through the day, the rain stopped, the sun came out... And the temps went up. So it was a little like breathing water, heh.

The juicer I picked up over the weekend from Goodwill ended up being a dud. Well, a half dud. The low speed didn't work, and the high speed just overly pulverized soft fruit. So I returned it. Went to Meijer and Target to see what they had, and ended up getting one from Target. Cost 20 bucks more than the Goodwill one, but I like this one better, and I know for sure it will work properly. Stopped at Lowes to look at shelving since I got a gift certificate there, and wow they are over priced. So I picked up two more cartons of half pint canning jars. Ran to Home Depot to check out their shelves, and they are much more reasonably priced- but realized I left that gift card at home, drats.
On the way back to the house I decided to stop at the berry place and see what they had for plums, and got some advice on how to prune my fruit trees. That was a nice bonus. I also got propositioned by a person working there, and that was not nice. But I got to gossip with a gal that works there, and that was pretty cool, she is a really neat gal.
So I picked up a bunch of Methley plums- they are small, dark red, and utterly delicious. Ended up with too many of them for what was required for one batch of jam, but not quite enough for two. Hmmm, guess we will just have to suck it up and eat them, lol.
It had turned so muggy that I debated whether or not to even make jam. But the guy had picked out riper plumper plums so I could get to jamming right away, and I didn't want to waste the effort. 
So I canned up 10 half pint jars of Methyel Plum jam. As usual, I sanitized more jars than the recipe called for- it said a yield of 8 cups, but I sure did fill 10 jars. Even had enough left over that I almost could have filled an 11th jar, I was not anticipating that. So the 3/4 full jar 11 went into the fridge, lol.
After trying out a couple of other folks recipes for the peach spread and cantaloupe syrup that were supposed to be jams, I stuck strictly to the recipe that came with the pectin. My confidence has been shaken.
Of course, by the time I was done canning, the kitchen was sweltering muggy. So I closed up the windows and turned on the basement door box fan- it's almost nice here again :) In another hour or so I will be able to kill the fan and open windows again.

Happy Thursday!!
So first thing when I went to get coffee this morning- my love is always wonderful and makes coffee- I checked my jars of Methley Plum jam... And they all set! Woot, happy dance!! Tomorrow I get to wipe them down and label them.

A note on canning labels. When you buy new, they come with a little sheet of stickers, and I pretty much never use them. I ALWAYS write on the lids with a sharpie marker instead. Why? Because those labels stick real well and are a bitch to scrape back off again, and because you do not reuse the lids anyway, and when I take them off, I know what lids have been used. If I'm making up a special batch of something for gifts, then I will use the stickers.

It was another running around day for me. I realized I had not made one jot of salsa, and seriously needed to remedy that. So my first stop was off the the little Mexican joint- they got the best tacos in town purportedly, but as of yet I still need to take the time to eat some, lol. They also have a lovely little grocer, great for picking up what I need. Some peppers, limes, and cilantro. Then it was off to Home Depot- I remembered to pack my gift cards :) Ended up picking up plastic shelves instead of metal ones cuz I could get 2 plastic for the price of 1 metal. And because they didn't carry extra metal shelves, so there was no point in blowing the extra cash there. Then it was over to the produce place, again, lol. Picked up 20 pounds of tomatoes, some sweet potatoes, and a lovely large pitty pan for roasting, fucking yum-o! The sweet potatoes were huge, so I was only able to shred a couple of them for the dehydrator. I shred them raw and dehydrate at 125 till dry and crispy. What do I use them for? All sorts of added in extra veggie kick to a lot of stews, casseroles, and soups, but the fave around here is sprinkling onto a frozen pizza- I always add stuff to frozen pizzas, and this is a great way to add some veggie bonus! And no, it does not make the pizza all crazy sweet.
Decided to take the back way home, and I'm soooo glad I did. Ended up hitting a rummage sale- they had already sold their pressure canner :( But I picked up 7 cases of canning jars for 28 bucks! In the stores new that would have run me 70 bucks. 4 cases of quarts, 1 case of wide mouth quart, and 2 cases of half pints, woot. Stopped at a little other produce stand and picked up some rather nice little orange sweet peppers. Also hit Waterlviet and picket up another 8 banana peppers for some more jars of pepper rings. 2 bucks for 4 jars of yummy goodness, yay!
I dropped my fifth seed trade in the mailbox today, and decided to check the apples in the orchard on the way back into the house. Looks like our red apples are just about ripe :) Which means some serious apple canning in the near future! That juicer is going to see some serious use right soon.

With all the new jars, I'm seriously considering canning up homemade V-8 juice. We drink a lot of it around here, but it's rather expensive to be guzzling down, and it's usually loaded with salt. So poking around recipes this morning, I discovered someone that takes the leftover solids from making it and they dehydrate it! Instant veggie powder. Hmmm, I think I'm going to try that. Some folks do it with the tomato goo leftover from canning, so I think perhaps that will be tried first with the leftovers from salsa I'm making tomorrow. Can't hurt to try, right?

And just a woah note- so far I've gotten 40 pounds of tomatoes, and will likely get another 40 pounds before canning season is done- I seriously need to plant a shitton of tomatoes next year!

So on my to do list for tomorrow..
Assemble the shelves and get the canned goods loaded onto them
Make and can salsa
Can up pepper rings
Dehydrate up some onions and whatever leftover hot peppers from salsa
Dehydrate the rest of the sweet potatoes- this will be done later, if the onions and peppers are dried

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