• Canning,  Cooking

    My Very First Dill Pickles

    The air is so thick with vinegar, my nose and eyes are burning.  There’s dirty dishes everywhere.  A tiny “pop” can be heard every few minutes. It can only mean one thing: it’s pickle time!  Tonight I canned my very first batch of dill pickles ever. 15 shiny jars on the counter. Cucumbers are running rampant in our garden; I picked over 4 pounds today alone.  I want to remember the abundance in mid-February, so I decided to take my luck at the classic cucumber dill pickle. Although I wont reproduce the recipe here,  (I copied it straight from the Ball Blue Bookand I haven’t tried them yet to know…

  • Canning,  Cooking

    Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

    Back in the swing of things after taking Memorial Day weekend away from the computer. A small reward for reaching 50 posts on the blog. Hope everyone enjoyed the warm weather to get their hands dirty and the extra day off to put their feet up. My long weekend included grilling out for friends, catching a game at Target Field, finishing up the garden, and a batch of strawberry rhubarb jam. A year ago canning seemed like a long shot for me. Between botulism and exploding pressure valves, I was convinced that it was WAY too complex for this amateur foodie. After a reading the Ball Blue Bookcover to cover…

  • Books,  Cooking

    Plotting for Preserving

    This morning I took out my Ball Blue Book of Preserving and started my list of projects. Just like gardening enthusiasts grab the seed catalog to plot their crops, I’ve started plotting my summer preserving. It may be excessive or it may be a way to inch spring along a little further, but mostly it’s to ensure that I plant the right goodies or get what I need at the farmers market at its peak. The freshest food takes a bit of foresight. Last year my preserving was exclusively freezer-based. (I canned 5 jars of hot pickled peppers in an experiment and promptly gave them away as a gift). This…