Monday, August 8, 2011

Food, canning and writing

Wheeooo! It's been a real busy summer. Working, tending to my family, planning for my bike tour around Lake Michigan, yard work, gardening and yesterday, of all things, gaining a new skill, canning pickles. Canning for the first time sure takes a lot of trust if you ask me. Dozens and dozens of pickles, sliced and speared and seasoning and cooking and washing and boiling dozens of jars of pickles without knowing the result until after they are packed, sealed and cooled for a day. Waiting for the tops to pop was kind of fun. Tops popping mean they are sealed all good and proper for a long life on the food shelves. Then the wait until the next morning so I could get that tell tale taste, be it good and go on the shelves or be it bad and they get dumped in the compost pile and all that effort for naught....................."Fantsatic!" I just love it when everything comes together. Gardening this year has so far brought in a wealth of zuchini for meals now and bread in the winter. Yesterday I pulled some of the beets for tonights dinner too. After a few meals I will be canning some of them too. They are super sweet, dark red and delicious so I'll have to make sure I have a reliable, proven canning recipe. I am at a complete loss as to what to do with the excess egg plant after the many expected mouth watering, fried and parmesian meals. I don't know of any way of preserving that stuff because the flesh has such an odd texture and turns dark immediately upon pealing the beautiful, dark purple skin. In a week or two the tomatoes will be coming in and they will be canned too. Add a few peppers and onions and I have stewed tomatoes for winter time stew or goulash. Add spices, more peppers, more onions, loads of garlic, a little mollasses, hot peppers, mix well and suddenly I have jars and jars of salsa for my homemade potatoe chips, crispy corn wedges or rice cakes. Yeah, this canning stuff has gotten under my skin just a bit hasn't it?

We are all watching our purse strings lately. That's kind of one reason I decided to take up canning this year. I spent $19 on ingredients besides the garden bounty and as a result saved over $100 on food just using extra time and having fun. Now I have another story for the sequal to Joe's Story. That's really what it's all about you know. Writing!...........................Joe

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