Along the way.

I have lined up another canning class to teach this summer – a pickling class in August for Market Central.  In talking it over with the folks there, we thought it might be fun to do different types of pickles, maybe even some fruit pickles.  Admittedly, I have wanted to try pickling some fruit.  If you have been reading this blog for some time, you might have noticed I tend to pickle pretty much everything in sight.  I am utterly fascinated by the process of pickling and I happen to have a husband who likes pickles, so it’s kinda win-win. I thought it would be best if I actually pickled some fruit before I marched into a class and taught it, so that you know, I might appear as if I know what I’m doing. 

So I called up my friend Melissa and borrowed her copy of “The Joy of Pickling” yet again, with an invitation to come help me figure out how to pickle peaches.

Melissa came over and held my hand on the watermelon rind pickles the first time I did them – I like having her come over and help me when I’m doing something new in the canning realm.  I’m so glad I had her over for the peach pickles, she definitely helped me get myself organized, get down to business and get the job done.   She made sure we followed the recipe exactly, even measuring out the peaches to the weight called for in the recipe.  She also tried to ensure we used the proper equipment, another thing I tend to overlook.

I have learned the hard way that when pickling, you really need to use ‘nonreactive’ pots.  Which means stainless steel. I might have a few hard anodized pots that are slightly scarred from pickling & jamming adventures.  I didn’t think I had any stainless steel pots left until I remembered a huge stock pot that seems to have found it’s way into the sandbox.  It didn’t start out as a sandbox toy, I think it was a piece of camping equipment that was stored in the basement and since the gang of girls that hang out around my house think that pretty much anything in basement is up for grabs, it somehow found it’s way into the sandbox.

I needed an extra large bowl, my big orange plastic one having gone missing (I seem to recall it being borrowed by a certain wee one that lives here for some sort of project.  I’ll have to check the tiki hut to see if it’s there as it’s not in the sandbox.  She’s lately started dragging things down into Brian & Betty’s yards, building forts there too.  It really could be anywhere on the block now that I think about it.  Hmm….)Thankfully, I was able to grab a punchbowl to use as a spare large bowl.  It’s good for your various collections to do double duty I think, and as they are large and glass, they are excellent for pickling.  I keep those out of reach of little hands, which is why they haven’t been moved into another location.

I also realized I have no empty half pint jelly jars on hand.  I have no idea what that’s about. I swore I had a case or two down there.  Thankfully, I did have a few empty cases of pint jars, so we used those.

This morning I felt the call of the thrifts, thinking I might find myself a new stainless steel pot.  The one I rescued from the sandbox holds about 20 gallons or so (okay, not really, but it’s the biggest pot in the house) and honestly, I have nowhere to store it upstairs, which is how it ended up in the basement and then the sandbox. So off I went.

I totally scored today.  I found a new springform pan to replace mine, which has a dent in the bottom thanks to one of the neighborhood kids and their hijinks (it sounds as if my kitchen is regularly raided as a toy box, but really, it’s not.  The springform pan has been like that for a few years now.  I’m slow to replace things, can you tell?) as well as a preforated baguette pan and a Julia Child cookbook, Julia Child & Company, which was apparently the companion book to her show in the late 70’s.   Good scores, all of them.    But those were not my best scores. 

My best scores were a pair of Land’s End pink suede boots and a pair of red cowgirl boots, with room to grow for a certain girl’s foot.  Her face when she saw them was priceless.  She has always refused to wear anything matching with me, but red cowgirl boots?  Watch out world, we’re gonna have matching boots. 
There were also punch bowls galore at every thrift I went to today.  It was hard to resist them, but I did.  I think three is enough, don’t you?  I never did find a new stainless steel pot.  The one I have works for now, it’s just, huge. 
Oh, and the peach pickles?  7 pounds of peaches yielded exactly 4 pint jars.  Not a whole lot.  I got some half pint jars today and did another batch, as there was a bunch of brine left over and I didn’t want to waste it.  They have to sit for at least 24 hours and I don’t feel like opening one of my 4 large jars tonight, so I can’t report on the taste.  Two batches of pickles didn’t make a dent in the half bushel of seconds I picked up out at Henley’s for a song yesterday, so I also canned a half dozen pint jars of plain peaches and whipped up a pie this afternoon, because yesterday’s slightly underripe peaches were today’s about to be overripe peaches when they sit in a box in your un-air conditioned kitchen and it’s 90 something degrees outside.  Also exactly why I felt I needed to can AND run the oven today because honestly, the house didn’t feel like it was 90 something out there today.   I can report my pie crust definitely acted as if it was too hot to be making a pie, but I perservered anyway and made it work.  It’s not pretty, but it’s pie.

3 thoughts on “Along the way.

  1. Lesa says:

    I have three punch bowls too. You just never know when they will be absolutely necessary, like your canning or, say, a temporary home for goldfish.

    My computer's been contrary lately and I've been meaning to ask if you'd like to have the Death in the Garden book? I'll be glad to toss it in an envelope and send it on. Otherwise, it's back to the thrift store. My shelves are too crowded to keep most books. I'll be glad to send it, so let me know?

  2. frecklewonder says:

    those boots are perfection!
    I love me some pickled stuff too – have never heard of pickling FRUIT!?!!!!!! but I likeLOVE pickled beets so I'm guessing I'd likeLOVE some pickled fruit action!

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