love in a jar.

I spent a couple of days at my parents’ house this week celebrating my dad’s birthday and canning peaches with my mom. We canned 37 jars (quarts and some 1.5 pint jars), and my mom let me have 18 to hoard savor here at the lake house. (We ate the contents of one of the jars with breakfast on Friday morning.)

Because we don’t have class on Labor Day (which hasn’t always been the case), I was able to hop in the car on Wednesday afternoon and be there in time for dinner! Boh and I returned on Friday for an afternoon meeting, and because I don’t have to get all of my grading and prep done for Monday, I still have time to enjoy the sunshine AND get both dissertation and teaching work done before Wednesday. Or at least that’s my hope.

Happy Labor Day weekend, everyone! (And stay tuned for more knitting!)

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peaches + bourbon = weekend.

I subbed bourbon for the rum in Kaela’s Pirate Peaches, and boy, am I excited to enjoy these. My entire kitchen (okay, apartment) smells slightly of sweetness and spirits. (Yep, present tense. Batch number 2 is simmering away on the stove, prompted by the fact that a tiny piece of peach prevented one of my jars from sealing properly. Rather than re-process a single jar, I dumped the contents back into the pot with another pile of peaches that were macerating in the fridge, along with the partial jar of leftovers that I didn’t process yesterday [to get me back up to 3 lbs of peaches], added more sugar, more booze, and the appropriate amounts of lemon juice and zest, and I am once again enjoying the aroma of peaches simmering in bourbon.) This time, I’m going to try to get the peaches a bit softer than they were yesterday, and I may even break out the immersion blender to make more of a sauce. I ran into trouble yesterday with the ratio of end-of-season peaches (which I think are harder than peak juicy peaches) to booze/syrup, which is why I had some leftovers.

Also, I have no idea what kind of peaches I picked up at the orchard, but I can tell you that they are not freestone. (Ask me how I know that.) Also, the skins did not slip off as I expected they would, which made for some serious peach wrangling…good thing the bourbon makes it worth it. Another lesson from this project? Simmer peaches with the lid (mostly) on. There may have been a slightly sticky residue coating much of the kitchen floor this morning…

See? I also did some spinning. I am mostly through the second bobbin of my reflection SCF bfl, and am looking forward to plying this soon. Happy weekend!

green and partly dilly.

First up: dilly beans. Now I’ve got at least 10 pints on the shelf, which should be enough to both enjoy at home and share. (I actually ran out of pint jars yesterday, and had to pick up another tray on my way home from the farm!) Dilly beans are always more time intensive than I think — mostly because I never trim my beans to exactly the right length, and I always have to re-trim as I’m packing the jars. These are totally worth the hassle, though, and I’m psyched to taste these after they spend a few weeks mellowing and pickling.

I also made Kaela’s Chile Verde Base — this stuff is delicious, and so simple: tomatillos, garlic, hot peppers, and cilantro. Basically, you partially roast the first two, and throw all the ingredients in a food processor. I’m going to make another batch of this later. Storing this in the freezer to use as a base for soups and sauces prompted me to clean out the freezer. (Stock from 2008? Green chiles from the Southwest that I did too good of a job hoarding? I’m looking at you.) Now there’s room for lots more chile verde base! Oh, and berries. I might have frozen what we picked on Saturday as incentive to do a good job picking yesterday…

I had plenty of dill remaining from the beans, so I tied the longer stems into a bunch and hung them near the window to dry. I absolutely love the idea of home-dried herbs, and I am excited to use these in my cooking this fall and winter.

Just when I finally had the week’s produce under control, farm day came around again. The boy and I spent the afternoon picking blackberries, raspberries, more cherry tomatoes, more paste tomatoes, flowers, hot peppers, tomatillos, and a whole tote bag full of chard. I’m planning to blanch and freeze this later today. And make more salsa or chile verde base with all the tomatillos.

Also, I might have accidentally visited the orchard yesterday. (Hey, it was on the way home from taking friend K. to have her stitches out!) We might both have accidentally walked away with 8 quarts of peaches. (For 8 bucks.) Oh, and a few apples. Despite being the last peaches of the season (and labeled as “culls”), these are gorgeous. I’m going to cut one up and tuck it into my bowl of granola in a moment…and then I’m going to dedicate another fifteen minutes or so to daydreaming about what these should become. Jam? Butter? Peaches in some kind of (boozey) syrup? More on that soon.

For those of you who come hear for the fiber (and not the food), never fear. I’ll have knitterly things back in the rotation soon. I’ve got another week (or so?) of farmy abundance to process, but once the first frost arrives, I’ll be able to happily gaze at my shelves of winter preparation and get back to my knitting and spinning!

peaches.

I headed to my parents’ house this morning to spend my Labor Day weekend Saturday canning peaches with my mom. Twenty-nine jars (and several hours) later, we’re done. And very excited to reward ourselves with some home-canned peaches in light syrup for breakfast tomorrow. Happy long weekend, everyone!