Crabapple Jelly

We have a row of miniature apples (about the size of cherries) that grow on our block, and I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with them for years. A week ago or so Zack turned me on to the “Saving the Season” canning book/memoir by Kevin West (here’s his blog), and I’ve got a pretty serious canning crush on this guy. So I followed his instructions to make crabapple jelly without store-bought pectin, instead making a pectin stock from the fruit, and it was pretty fun. I’ve had all kinds of jam trouble lately but this jelly set up really nicely (maybe too nicely, it’s pretty darn firm in the fridge.) I love adding herbs to jelly, and he recommended thyme, though in hindsight I wish I would have went with rosemary.





Bean Season

The garden is in pretty rough shape this year, having been ignored for 3 weeks while we travelled and not getting enough water in general. But the beans are soldiering on, so much so that we got to can some pickled beans.


Lazy on the vine — these ones will be ready in a couple days.


Ready to process.


Spicy beans with red chili flakes added.


Talkin’ forgotten vegetable blues

We have a history of neglecting the fruits of our garden, and here is another instance. We grew a bunch of little delicata squashes last year, which were a bit of a pain to use because they were kind of petite. So down into the basement they went. We’re trying to pinch pennies these days, so in scouring the food storage, Alicia found them and decided it was time to make some risotto. They had changed colors from white with green seams to a golden yellow, almost like little pumpkins. Those things were over a year old, and still going strong… talk about staying power.


The last of the canning (hopefully…)

Alicia has been making applesauce like crazy with the bags of apples that we brought home from Wenatchee back in October, and we have probably 20 or 25 quarts so far. I kept saying that I was going to make some apple pie filling since we just used up our last batch, but it’s been busy. Finally last night the Venn diagram of motivation and time overlapped, and I canned 10 quarts of pie filling. It looks like a good batch this time around; I followed this recipe (mostly, and despite the Comic Sans). Blanching the apples after they were peeled and sliced seems like it helped keep the whole production from oxidizing too much, though I had to run the sauce through the blender to de-lump it before pouring it in the cans.

A week or two ago, I also made some apple jelly with rosemary, which is an amazing combination of flavors. Rosemary usually overpowers things, but with the apple, the flavors are perfect together. We received a jar of this jelly from someone a few years ago and loved it, but I can’t figure out who it was. If you’re out there, reveal yourself! At any rate, it is tasty, tasty jelly, and it’s all Hannah wants on her toast for the time being. Just take any apple jelly recipe, and add a sprig of fresh rosemary after filling the jars, right before you put the lid on; the rosemary flavor infuses the whole jar.

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Can it be?

More canning… I really don’t know how this all fits in with everything being so busy these days. We brought back a box of beans from Yakima and pickled them. My grandma made these and I loved them as a kid, both the regular dill ones, and the spicy ones with red pepper flakes in the bottom. My mouth is watering just thinking about them now.

I’ve been doing a little bit of design work for Panacea, an awesome dinner delivery service here in Seattle. I am all for getting paid in food, especially when it’s this tasty. They did house-roasted beef sandwiches earlier this summer, and it came with a really good Tomato Jam, with big slices of ginger in there. I used the leftovers on egg sandwiches, a burger, and shamefully, straight from the spoon. So I took a shot at approximating it with the Tomato Preserves recipe in my trusty Ball Home Preserving bible. It’s close enough and will have to do… until I can get them to pass along the secret recipe.

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