Oh, look! It’s a new gadget! And pickles-to-be!

It’s bad enough to have those folks over at the eGullet.org food forum encouraging my purchases of kitchen related gadgetry and cookbooks and such (not to mention specialty ingredients…). Now the damn produce at the grocery store has commenced enabling me to make purchases of culinary widgetry I did not know I needed.

Witness these. These pretty little lids are, in fact, fermenting lids; they’re designed to let you brine your veggies in the jar until the lactic acid sours them to your taste, all the while allowing built-up carbon dioxide to escape while keeping impurities and such out. Once your veggies are fermented to suit, you change out for a regular lid, clap the jar in the fridge to stop the fermentation process, or water-bath can it to make it shelf stable.

And it was the damn cucumbers that made me do it.

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If it’s cranberry salad, and it’s not Christmas, it must be Thanksgiving.

Let’s get one thing straight, right off the bat. Four and a half pounds of cranberries is not excessive for the Thanksgiving holiday.

I don’t think.

Yes, friends and folks, I have been through, in the past week, six 12-ounce packages of the tart little red berries that just scream out “Thanksgiving!” I mean, can’t you hear them? (If you can’t, it’s because yours are probably in the can reposing in the fridge, awaiting tomorrow’s turkey and dressing. The real live berries scream, I promise you.”

How it was, was, like this. I was in at Aldi a couple of weeks ago and they had cranberries for 99 cents for a 12-oz package. I knew that to be a good price, and I like to use cranberries to cook pork with, so I bought a package, on the vague plan I’d do something porky with them. Nothing porky ever got done.

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Pear preserves. Breakfast love.

It’s mid-October, though the temperature until today had hovered in the 90s, and is supposed to get back there Saturday, dammit.

Fall is late. Which probably means it’ll snow nine feet this winter.

Which is OK, because living adjacent to an assisted living facility means (a) I rarely lose power, and (b) if and when I do, I’m on a priority circuit to get it restored, and (b) I’ve got a gracious plenty of stuff canned and in the freezer. Hell, I even buy toilet paper and laundry detergent and shampoo at Sams, and order coffee six pounds at a time, so long as I’m not far past a shopping trip, we ain’t gonna run out of groceries and necessities here at Chez Brockwell, no, we ain’t.

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Waste not, want not

August 10, 2017

Tomato sauce, made from skins and cores most people would have thrown away.

And other things your mama told you. Like the starving children in China, and “Your face will freeze like that.”

Anyway. I am experimenting on just how much one can get out of two 30-pound boxes of tomatoes. To update the previous post, the final tally was:

  • 11 quarts of tomatoes
  • 17 pints of tomatoes
  • 5 quarts and two pints of tomato juice
  • and 16 half-pints of tomato sauce made from the skins and cores
  • Plus the 4 half-pints of roasted tomato-garlic sauce that was from the gallon or so of cherry tomatoes I had, and did all at the same time.

Well, I’m almost finished. I’m trying one more experiment. More on that later.

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To-by-God-matoes!

August 9, 2017

Final tally: 11 quarts, 17 pints. Five quarts, two pint of juice. Four pints roasted tomato garlic sauce. Plain sauce coming today.

Note: This was written last night, as I was processing the last of the tomatoes through the water bath. I finished up about 10:30 p.m., but for the sauce I’ll make today from skins and cores. And I didn’t download the pix until today.

I commenced canning tomatoes somewhere around 11 a.m. today. It is 10:22 p.m., and I’m not done.

But I’m close.

So far, in the “done” column, I have 17 pints and 8 quarts of tomatoes, cooling on a bath towel on my counter. In the water bath I have seven more quart of tomatoes, because I ran out of pint jars. Still to process, I have six quarts and two pints of tomato juice, and four pints of roasted cherry tomato garlic sauce.

We will have no scurvy up in here this winter, I am here to tell you. And we will have all the spaghetti sauce and stewed tomatoes and vegetable beef soup and chili we want, because, you know what? We’ve damn-sho got home-canned tomatoes with which to make them all.

I feel pretty satisfied. Tired as all hell, but satisfied. I’d feel more satisfied if I could get this damn canner to boil more quickly and I could process this batch and the one waiting behind it. One of these days, I will have a REAL stove. One on which I can set TWO water bath canners, if I am so inclined. One which will put out some real heat.

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Muffins and biscuits. More muffins in the oven at that point.

With apologies to Jane and Michael Stern, of “Road Food” fame, and damn, do I miss hearing them every Saturday morning on WKNO in Memphis now that I’m an Arkansas public radio listener, and hey, KUAR/KASU peeps, can y’all do something about putting Splendid Table on the air here so a sista can hear it?

I am headed out on a road trip tomorrow, going to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, AR, where I used to live, and spending a few days in that part of the world with a girlfriend and her niece and adopted niece. (I understand all about those “adopted” kinfolk, having several.) I need a break, albeit I have had a fair amount of road time lately, but this comes at a good time, as I have hit a semi-slack period at work, though it promises to pick up by the latter part of August.

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Six pints of pickle relish ought to be plenty, at least until I taste it.

Assault of the cucumbers continues unabated, so I made an attempt to work my way through some of them today.

I thought I’d given this latest harvest, some 10 pounds of cucumbers, away, but in the haste and hustle to get us and all the needed accoutrements out to AGC 2’s birthday party last night (A fine time was had by all; icing was smeared liberally, much juice was consumed, and gift bags were ripped asunder with glee), I failed to put them outside for my friend to pick up. So I’ve still got these:

The garden that keeps on giving.

As well as about twice that many that I picked today. I’ve decided I’m going to try to make the classic half-sours, a fermented pickle, with the rest, and maybe a quick batch of cucumber salad. And then I’ll start trying to give them away again, because, y’know what? The zucchini are about to start up.

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