Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cannery Row

A friend of ours dropped off a large bag of wild plums one morning a couple weeks ago.... and thus it began. Really, is there a more heavenly way to start your day than with wild plum jelly on toast to go with that morning cup of coffee?! I think not!

Luckily I had enough plums left to make a batch of Plum Cordial, a drink our Victorian grandmothers delicately imbibed in fancy, little crystal glasses. (The main ingredient, other than the fruit, is vodka--so just how many little glasses they had was their business!) You can see the cordial behind the jelly in the picture above--see the plums floating in the largest jar? It's now sitting down in the basement, nature doing it's job. On a dark winter day, when I pour some of this into one of those little crystal glasses, I'll swoon with the smell of plum blossoms in springtime!

I also made, for the first time, some sauerkraut. That may be putting it optimistically....I put some green cabbage into some canning jars and, like the cordial, put them down in the cellar and let nature take its course. (Would hardly recommend the two sharing the same meal though! ha!) Supposedly I have to go down and check it periodically to make sure enough liquid remains, etc. Hopefully there's a good Reuben sandwich in our future!

And then I pretty much went on a tear...if you've ever done canning and jelly making before, you know that when you have all your stuff organized, it's really not all that time consuming to whip up yet another batch of something. You just have to pace yourself and be prepared to have a bit of clutter mounting on the kitchen table. In the photo above, besides the plum jelly, there is sweet/hot pepper jelly and one of my own concoctions: "Apple Pie" jelly. This tells only half the story....add to that several other flavors, some of them experiments I made up: Jalapeno/Mint jelly, Prune jam, Spiced Grape jelly, Plum/Apple jelly, and 2 types of Tomato Jam. And speaking of tomatoes--see that voluptuous 'mater sitting in that bowl? It's just one of dozens, literally dozens, of tomatoes from one tomato plant. (More about that later!)

Ah, summertime in jars!

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