right now

right now

Jul 20, 2011

What a relaxing Sewing Day!

Yeah, right!

Yesterday morning started off hot, and not just the weather!

Before you say it - I only planted THREE jalapeno plants this year, honest!  Thank you all for reminding me not to go overboard yet again :)

First I finished up the last of the big tomato days with a batch of stewed tomatoes.  This will be the end of the tomato canning for awhile, as it is too hot now for the plants to set fruit very well.

One thing led to another and...

This evolution took 2 days instead of the one I had hoped for, but I have lots of goodies to squirrel away.  I did it all the past 2 days, pressure canning, steam canning as well as refrigerator pickling and oil marinating.  For those that don't know, the pressure canner can be used as a steam canner also, a real multi - purpose piece of equipment.

Ever been so busy preparing real, homegrown, healthy food that you are too busy to "cook dinner"?  I find that's a frequent problem here.  I'm up to my neck in fresh food yet my kid gets this for dinner when I'm faced with the "I'm hungry, when's dinner?" question!

By this afternoon, I had squirreled away 2.5 quarts of stewed tomatoes, 2.5 pints salsa, 2 pints of mixed veggie pickles, 3 pints of pickled pepperoncini, 9 little 4 oz jars of pickled jalapenos, 2.5 pints of marinated roasted sweet peppers, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Because I'm always interested in what goes into other people's jars, I thought you might be interested in mine - or not :)  (the ingredients in my jars such as herbs and spices always change according to what I have though) 

Pickled Jalapenos

These are just a plain water/vinegar liquid, as the spice in there is quite enough!  This time I sliced them into rings since it's easier than scorching and peeling.  Sometimes it's just got to be easy.

Stewed Tomatoes

This batch was a mixture of Brandywine and Hillbilly heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, oregano & garlic.  I actually prefer to stew most of my tomatoes instead of saucing them, since we only rarely eat spaghetti type pasta sauce, but I can always find somewhere to throw in stewed tomatoes - chili, baked chicken, stews, etc.  If I do want sauce I can run a stick blender through it when I'm preparing a recipe, but you can't go backwards :)  Plus, it's easier and faster!

 Pickled Pepperoncini

In the interest of not canning next week when we are having my sister and brother in law visiting, I picked the pepperoncini while still green and tried to empty the plants as much as possible.  These were simple refrigerator pickles.  I make slits in the pepperoncini, soak overnight in the fridge in a vinegar solution with a lid as a weight so the raw peppers will "give up their air" a bit so they won't float in the jar when I pickle them the next day.  When I packed them, I added a vinegar solution, some pepper flakes and mustard seed.

Mixed Vegetable Refrigerator Pickles

Although I mixed veggies since my cukes are not producing very much this year, I also prefer to always have a few other things in there for flavor and "prettiness" as well.  These are a mixture of Japanese Climbing and Parisian Pickling Cucumbers, a few miniature bell peppers, and a few Fish Hot peppers, dill, garlic, mustard seed and red pepper flakes in a vinegar solution with grape leaves on the jar bottoms.  These keep a good long while in the fridge, so it's what I usually do with cukes, as I like them crisp.  I also like hot spicy pickles, so while the variety of peppers added may change the flavor a bit, there will always be hot peppers in my pickles!

Marinated Roasted Sweet Peppers

You can pressure can these, but they tend to get overcooked and mushy, so I did a refrigerator version again.  You can pack them in straight oil, but they will only keep 3-4 days that way, if you pack them in a vinegar/oil mix they will keep several weeks.  This day I roasted some stray Jimmy Nardello Frying peppers, Quadrato diAsti red/green bells and Sigaretta di bergamo sweet red peppers, peeled, then packed into jars with garlic cloves & oregano then filled with a vinegar/olive oil mixture.

Below is what they look like in the oil mixture - these are great for throwing on top most anything, great in pasta, on bratwurst or on sliced crusty bread dipped in some of the flavored oil.

After the past month, I found myself almost out of jars!  Bad for the bank account, but good for the pantry.  After pretty much ignoring my children for the past 2 days that I disappeared into the kitchen, I came out and announced that I was taking them for a lovely drive out in the 105 degree heat for...

Check out the size of that jar!  I've been wanting a few of those half-gallon jars for awhile :)

Hey, at least I stopped and bought them an ice cream on the way home!

After dinner tonight, I cleaned up all of my messes and informed the kids that I wanted to play a game with them.  After 48 hours of being left to their own devices, I think they were shocked!  :)

Problem is, they are both setting up a different game!  I'll be busy for awhile.

and oh, yeah, I baked 2 pretty crappy loaves of bread - I took 2 weeks off of my bread baking adventure, and it shows :(


  1. Hey! Me, me, me! I'll take one of your crappy loaves of homemade bread! After running out of homemade stashed in the freezer and having to subsist on store-bought, I'm positive your bread would be wonderful!

    Oh, your variety of peppers look so delicious and pretty all jarred up! I'd gladly do a taste-testing on them, too!

    Hope you win when playing with the boys tonight!

  2. What was wrong with your bread? I though it looked darn good.

    Love all those canned peppers, you are on your way to one stellar pantry!

  3. I've said it many times, but it must be said again. You ARE amazing! Good move on your part to just spend some time playing with the boys now. You've all earned some play time! :)
    Your jars look beautiful, and I'm sure you won't be running low on good flavors for some time! The bread looks beautiful too! I've been so busy lately, I must agree with Mama Pea. I'd WAY rather eat what you made then what we've been eating!

  4. I have never heard of crappy homemade bread. It just doesnt exist. I will be curious to see what you use those 1/2 gallon jars for. The canning police will be out to get you if you can in them;)

  5. Boy,you've been a bit busy! I know what you mean when it comes to having all this fresh food and no time to cook dinner. We have had BLT's, tomato sandwiches and chicken salad sandwiches the past two nights.

    You just reminded me that I need to start a loaf of no knead bread!

    Try to stay cool!

  6. Ribbit, I don't think my boys would agree LOL! They don't get my obsession!
    Mama Pea, ohmygosh I forgot how Monopoly takes FOREVER! And the boys have all these made up rules - and Finn has "new rules" for checkers and says "Grandpa taught me" LOL
    Kelly, the bread was too doughy inside, but the crust was good :)
    Patty, I feel bad about the boys, and I realized looking at the dogs tonight I don't even remember petting them for the last 2 days LOL. But it will be nice to have all this stuff behind me when our family comes for a visit.
    Jane, LOL no canning in them! I needed one for my sourdough starter in the fridge because the glass jar I have is too big and square, and I wanted 2 more for chickpeas since I need lots of those on hand, so now I have 3 left to dream something up with!
    Robin, it's crazy, but it will be really nice to pop open jars of summer when it's cold out... hopefully I will be able to cook something decent for them tomorrow :)

  7. Lots of work now, but plenty of good food for later. I'm sure the boys miss you (and the dogs too!), but I bet they understand. Now , no cheating on the games! You're a good mom!!

  8. Oh my goodness that all looks so good even the bread! I want some of those jars too. I've never seen them that big. They'd be great for soups.
    After making strawberry jam with my sister I figured out the hard part is the washing and cutting up of the fruit or veggies and the clean up afterwards. If only we could find someone to do those two parts the rest would be simple.

  9. DAMN! You Rock girlfriend!

  10. Wow Erin, you've been busy. I have not canned anything yet this year and I'm kind of bummed about it. On the other hand, I've been baking bread almost on a daily basis since my sister and bil are here.

  11. You are too amazing! And in all that heat. I love the half-gallon canning jars, as I use them for milk storage, dry food storage, you name it. Checkers and Monopoly - two of my favorite games.

  12. I see you cut back on peppers again this year ;o) Not sure that you only planted 3. I think you are hiding them in your underwear drawer. 1/2 gallon jars rock for storing stuff away!