Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Let's Play Catch-Up!

It's been a trip and a fall since I was last blogging. I am happy to get back to it, and will attempt to update more often. However, life is moving a little slower and the manic weekends are far less frequent, which is actually a better thing as the other side of that swinging pendulum is far less pretty and productive.

Regardless, I didn't get around to my intended and anticipated blog of all the bounties of fall. I didn't even explain what I did with the quince! How dare I!

I did take pictures though...

So I don't remember the recipe but I chopped up the quince (they are really hard to peel, by the by), and added a package of cranberries and...added a fair amount of sugar? Wow I have the memory of tree bark. Whatever. It turned out tart and thick but not too thick, not quite the canned jelly that I'm used to, but of course that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Later that...month? I went up to Apple Hill with my cousins and hauled back over 400 lbs. of apples between us all, I brought home over 75 lbs myself.  I saved one box for juicing (which I meant to can, but really just ended up drinking most and freezing a little bit...I drank a LOT).  I made applesauce and apple pie filling with the rest. I used a mixture of Mutsu and...some other green kind...ARG! I can't remember anything! Anyway, the peeler I borrowed from my aunt made short work of the apples.
Look at all the pretty peels...

I didn't use any recipe for the applesauce, I just added a little brown sugar to each pot once the apples were softened in water and ground a ton of cinnamon and nutmeg and a little ginger and cloves into the mix. Like the year before, the sauce is very thick...pretty much the same density of the pumpkin I (shock!) canned last year...but I don't hear the same warnings about thick applesauce like I do with the pumpkin.
That is thick consistency.

Too dense to poke the air bubbles out.
I also made apple pie filling, using a cornstarch based recipe, which I will not do again. This was year two of cornstarch recipes, but I will be special ordering Clear Jel in advance for next season. Cornstarch melts well when heated, but looks disgusting and broken jelly-like in the jar.

Later that fall my aunt brought me a box of pears and I finally got to it while my folks were visiting. I made a lot of pear sauce by just slicing up the pears (no peeling) and doing basically the same thing as with the apples. It is gritty and fairly thin, but good.

My mom was a peach and peeled tons of pears so I could can slices in ginger syrup. I HATE peeling pears.
That was the last of 2011's canning!
This, plus about 40 more sauces around the corner.
My storage is not nearly as pretty as the year before.
2010 missing a lot of applesauce
But I only used the bookcase for that picture, and then shoved them into my bedroom closet which is where they live because it's dark and it doesn't change temperature as much as the rest of the house (which is good news for canning jars that like cellar-like conditions...which I don't have).

Reflections on the year, canning-wise, are that I honed my tastes...and missed several seasons. I experimented a lot in 2010 I, making lots of jams and jellies and shoving just about everything I came across into a jar. I ended up giving troves away, too much I'm afraid...I have found stores of old cans tucked away in people's cupboards that indicate I overshared. I also screwed up a lot. None of the pickles I made turned out, I didn't enjoy the apricots like I thought I would, the loquats didn't set, neither did the cherries, and the watermelon lemonade was the most disgusting thing I've ever made.
This year didn't yield free cherries, apricots, or loquats, and I allowed many seasons go by without taking advantage properly i.e. kiwis went bad, strawberry season slipped by with only a few things made.  Shining moments of the year? All the corn I put up, the concord grape jelly, the grapefruit syrup are all very good but I think the baked beans turned out to be the breakout hit of the year. They are a good texture,  have a great sauce, and may have just replaced Bush's Vegetarian Beans in my bean pot recipe.

I have a post coming up about the mandarins I canned just recently, but I wanted to get this one up to prove to myself I still have the capabilities to maintain this blog.

So here ya go!

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