Monday, October 24, 2005

What a weekend

The photo of collard greens is apropos of nothing, but I didn't want to post yet another photo of canned goods!

I was busy this weekend. I canned two jars of pickled jalapeƱos, putting two red peppers in each jar for aesthetic effect. I also found enough nearly-ripe pears on the ground to make the year's first batch of pear-citrus marmalade. Nature has her schedule; I looked back on my Manor Menu blog and found that each year I tend to start putting up batches of it around October 24.

Here's how it's done:

5 lbs. pears
1 1/4 lemons
1 1/4 oranges
3 3/4 lbs. sugar
Wash the pears, peel them, then cut them in half and remove the cores. Cut the ends off the lemons and oranges and quarter them.
Put the pears, lemons, and oranges through a food grinder (use the coarse blade).
Put ground fruit in a pot and stir in the sugar thoroughly while bringing to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring frequently. Continue cooking until shiny and almost transparent.
Ladle into sterilized jars and process. Makes about eight 8-oz. jelly jars.

This time, for reasons unknown to me, the recipe made 10 jelly jars. That wouldn't be so strange except that the marmalade also set better than it has in the past, which I assume means there was less water in it. How on earth? Oh well. Maybe I just measured badly in the past. All I know is that this batch is delicious and damn near perfect.

Other accomplishments over the weekend:

• I started knitting myself a new scarf (I am a terrible knitter; all I can do is stockinette stitch back and forth, and I'm not even 100 percent sure I'm doing that right, so I make lovely fluffy scarves and that's it)

• The s.o. and I built a raised bed for the perennial garlic and onions

• I organized my office files

• I baked two baguettes from a recipe I hadn't tried before (pretty basic except it includes a little bit of oat bran), and they turned out great

• I finished the first coat of drywall mud on the new closet extension, and barely escaped with my skull intact after knocking a heavy mud trough off the ladder and onto my head

I have big plans for tomorrow, but I don't want to say what they are until after it's all done. Two words: FIELD TRIP!