Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Plums, Tomatoes, and Apples, Oh My!

This is old news now, which you're really not supposed to post on a blog. Being current and up-to-date is important, but I worked so hard on canning a couple weeks ago that I couldn't not post this. After all, besides working, preserving food has occupied a good bit of my time in September. Here are some photos about my recent adventures in this food-intense time of year. 
Apples ready to be washed, chopped and cooked down into wonderful applesauce. These are red and green Gravensteins from Hansen's Farm on Green Bluff.

The water bath canner is steaming and the apples are cooking!

My wrists were literally sore that Saturday evening from all the chopping and coring I did. We are talking about 34 pounds of apples here!

That same day, I made tomato jam with eight pounds of Sun Gold tomatoes from my parents' house in Portland. I got the recipe here. Tomato jam is a little weird sounding, but it's actually delicious with toast, crackers, and, I've heard, with chicken. I'm excited to experiment with it.

Here's what I canned in two days' time: 10 jars of tomato jam, 8 jars of plum preserves (like in Anne of Green Gables), and 14 quarts of applesauce. Before you think I'm crazy for all the jam I'm making (and still need to make), I'll just say two words: Christmas presents.

I also got this flat of tomatoes from a lovely couple in my Sunday School class. I now have six quarts of lovely tomatoes in my freezer for winter soups and casseroles.
I've had a pretty good culinary run lately, too. After eating this veggie lasagna for a whole week, I took a break from cooking and ate many grilled cheese sandwiches. On Friday (9/21), I was suddenly inspired to make a pizza. I made half a recipe of whole wheat pizza dough and spread olive oil sauteed with rosemary and shallots on the crust as the sauce. I topped that with mozzarella cheese, sauteed zucchini, crumbled bacon, and three eggs. I stuck it in the oven for 20 minutes. Yum!
On Sunday, I cooked down the bones of a Costco rotesserie chicken. While it was cooking, I went to my garden at Dottie's house to cut some flowers and ended up having tea with Dottie for an hour and a half, meaning that the chicken was on the stove for three hours. So my stock was very concentrated and flavorful. With it, I made a Morroccan Chicken Cous Cous soup. It called for zucchini and a sweet potato. I didn't have a sweet potato, so I substituted Green Bluff carrots and Delicata squash. Delicious!

A final note: In my Sunday School class, we're studying a book called A Year of Plenty, which was written by a local Presbyterian pastor named Craig Goodwin. He writes about his family of four's adventures with eating and buying local for a year. We had a great discussion about chapter one on Sunday, and I plan to post every week about the topics that come up in our Sunday School discussions. I invite you to add your voice to the conversation in the comments.   
Thanks for reading! Hope your week is off to a great start!

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