Welcome to the Playroom at 14 Peonystreet!

This blog started in the "playroom". That's what DH calls artwork- playing. Wish I could live in the "playroom" forever.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Madly Canning, Pickling, and Drinking Iced Coffee

Let the canning begin!   Well, it’s already begun and has been going on for a month now, since the green beans and cucumbers have ripened.
It began with these, the crock dills, now in the refridgerator.  Oh My, Oh My- are they good!  Simple to make, and another crock in the works right now.
 The second crock needs to go into jars into the fridgerator today.  We are having so many cucumbers, that we had to get a second refriderator– which is coming soon, so it is none too late!
There have been oodles and oodles of the green beans, so we have not wasted any, and have canned them all.  These will soon be done in the garden, I think we’ve gotten the best of them now.
No so for the cucumbers– they are going to explode again, soon, and MUST be picked every day, or at least every other day to keep them from getting too big.  I love these cucumbers for pickling, and three got big, by being missed accidently from picking, so two went into the relish, and one got made into refridgerator cucumber salad.  Oh My- these are so crunchy!
And we’re not done yet!
There’s going to be tomatoes, and corn to can and freeze.
I think we’ll do some jalapeno’s today too- I can them whole.
And there’s going to be watermelons- two types, and some rogue cantaloupe.
Then we’ll plant some turnip greens and some pumpkins for fall.
Canning is work, takes me lots of iced coffee.  My favorite and simplest “recipe” is to use Starbucks VIA, which comes 6 packets in a box, and at approximately $1.00 a packet, I think it’s a bargain.  I mix 16 oz water along with the packet of coffee, which is lightly sweetened, then add about ½ cup or 4 oz of 2% milk.  It’s great.  Now, if I want to make my own, I use my Mr. Coffee Latte Machine, which has a frother in the pot.

 I use about 6 oz. Of 2% milk in the bottom of the pot, along with 2 packets of Truvia, and 1 teaspoon regular white sugar.  Sometimes I add ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract.   Then in the top, goes 6 tablespoons of coffee, and 8 ounces of water.   The pot makes a nice foam.  I’ve found that skim milk makes the most foam.  I can’t tell the difference in the foam you get at the coffeeshop and this foam– so I love it!    To make this hot coffee into iced, I simply let it cool off a bit, then add crushed ice.
My dear mother canned every summer while growing her family, and I think she got weary of it after years of doing it.  That’s how I’m beginning to feel about these cucumbers.  Nobody else seems to want them.
We have an abundant garden this year, and so much to look forward to- namely the cantaloupe that is a rogue seed, but its growing great.  We’ve shaped the vine in a horseshoe shape around the tomatoes.   We made a string trellis this year for the tomato patch, and it’s working– the tomatoes are off the ground and you can actually walk between the rows.
 There’s these pretty Crimson Sweet watermelons, and a new one for us this year, the Jubilee watermelon.  These are so pretty!  It’s been perfect weather for everything, including the corn, which will be ready soon.  I’ve heard you can add a few drops of BT to the tops of the corn to ward off earworms.   I don’t have any now, but wish I did, as they usually will have worms.
 I like canning, but it makes for chaos in the kitchen.  Washing pots over and over again, and utensils and jars and jar bands.   The kitchen never gets clear of all this paraphernalia until all the vegetables are in.   With such a long growing season here, that’s not anytime soon.   No wonder my mother was dying for a vacation from all this every summer!
Here's a tip for some nice music to listen to while doing your bean cutting or kitchen work:  The group name is "First Aid Kit" and they are two Swedish sisters. I really like this album "Stay Gold".   They have a country western flair- and I like it!
 Here's a word about Walmart's Mainstays brand of canning lids and the Ball brand:  I like the Ball brand better, as I had a problem with two lids bending and not sealing properly of the Mainstays.
 Mainstays is on the left, Ball on the right.  I think you can see the Ball brand is  little better quality.
The Garden
The pantry is getting more full by the minute.  And I’m getting tired off all the cucumbers.  Want to get back to sewing– very soon- but that’s not going to happen......Oh well, the respite from sewing may inspire new projects– who knows?
Happy Canning to you as well....!


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