Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Finally! I Have Used the Lemons!

We are entering the very short barren period of Chico's farmer's markets, where nothing really interesting grows. Oh there are the basic green onions, little carrots and bags of limpy lettuce, but nothing like it was with citrus season or what it will be with strawberry season. I'm looking forward to strawberry season immensely. I can't wait to make all sorts of things. I'm especially excited to use dry ice to quick freeze whole strawberries. I plan on syrups, jams, jellies and some mixed fruit experiments. Mmmm I can't wait.

This past week I managed to use up all the blood oranges that have been collecting in the fruit bowls. You see, there is this seller at the farmer's market that I always buy from. He had the best mandarins and he always gave me good deals and tossed a few extra in my bag. The problem was, once mandarins were gone, he was selling grapefruit and blood oranges...I was up to my ears in grapefruit so blood oranges it had to be. I don't like blood oranges. They're far too sour for me. They stain my shirts. But I bought them out of loyalty and they have been sitting unloved in the fruit bowls since. But last week I really wanted one more marmalade for my arsenal, so into the pot they went! As usual, I forgot my camera and can't show you the "during" photos but it did turn out pretty and really tasty!

Blood Orange Marmalade
8 cups chopped blood oranges
4 cups sugar
1 chopped lemon
2 cups orange juice
2 packets liquid pectin

Cook oranges, lemon, juice and sugar to boiling then for 15 minutes more. Add pectin and return to boiling. Boil for three minutes then process in a hot water bath for ten minutes.

Later in the week, I finished up the burp cloths for my coworker.

I think they're cute.

Early this week, I FINALLY used those lemons! I bought two more bags of them before they were all out at the farmer's market and even managed to use up the rest of the grapefruit! 
Ha! the zest and pulp settled to the bottom!

I made simple syrup out of both of them. a one:one:one ratio worked well for the lemons, one cup of lemon juice, one cup of sugar, one cup of water and a lot of zest made for a nice syrup that wasn't too cloying or too sour. It will be perfect for sparkling water, making into sorbet, and adding to melon juice for lemonade. The grapefruit syrup, while made a bit thicker with a cup of juice to a half cup of water, should be just as useful.

My plan for the rest of the week is to keep up the momentum, stay positive, and draft some new project ideas. I've got this great fake fur that I'm dying to make into a monster puppet, but we'll have to finish the others first.

Next week's topic: Canning- the Failed Experiments.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Birds Have Left the Eagle's Nest Unharmed

It has been a boring few weeks while I didn't blog. I apologize, but life overtook my ambition for project making for awhile. What I did do, I think I got some photos of so I'll post 'em as I remember 'em.
the goodies minus the cookies
I finally mailed off the goodies for the craft exchangees! I compiled boxes containing a canned good, at least six different kinds of cookies, and a felted soap "stone". Some boxes also contained fabric crane clips that I photographed earlier.
the felted "stones"shaved and sculpted to look like rocks
I boxed everything up at work one night and pretty much covered the living room with bags of this and that

I think they went over well, I did have plans for purses and lunch bags and bike bags and more but my brain was lurching faster than my body was capable of keeping up with and it would have been July before I sent anything off.

I also worked with the grapefruits my cousin gave me. This was a frustrating endeavor.
I brought all my canning gear into work all ready to crank out at least half a dozen pints of grapefruit segments and I start to work. I get through thirteen of the suckers, cutting off the peel, cutting through the membranes and popping out the flesh and what do I get for those thirteen giant grapefruit?
Two measly pints...sigh...
I curse you grapefruit.

For this upcoming week, despite the fact that I'll be very sleep deprived due to work meetings, I have a lot to get done.

Those beautiful lemons need to be taken care of, a lemon jelly is my new thought for them...

I have yet more grapefruit to deal with, and tonight I'm making Blood Orange Marmalade (pictures soon)

I also have to finish the set of burp cloths for my coworker's baby shower next Saturday, they're going to be adorable...for spit-up cloths. Did I make that joke already? Probably.

Anyway, that's what I've been doing, that's what I plan to do and we'll see where that gets me! More pictures next time I promise.