Friday, September 09, 2011

it all started because

  from my other blog Teri H Hoover Photography - 

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 Thank you to my sisters who have shown me what it means to keep looking for love and finding our hearts.
And special thanks to the great people behind 
 SB Canning blog and  SB Canning page on Facebook.

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Vegetable Garden, Blacksburg VA- Sept 5, 2011
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This week has been full of new words like pickling spices, canning salt, and processing time. I speak of my maiden voyage into the canning ... as in fruits and vegetables. It all started because:

1. My husband - Sir Plan A Lot and Lord of the Kitchen is away for three weeks. SP lives for cooking. No wait he lives for snow skiing. He enjoys cooking.  I think. Or maybe he just likes making plans- cooking is planning intensive. Either way he loves to eat... and after 30 years he's given up thinking he will find dinner on the table when he gets home from work. In my defense I am a darn good sous chef. And I am a one woman cleaning machine and domestic organizer. Anyway the husband is away - my opportunity to do something I would not usually do.

2. Wrong plants purchased. Back in May when gardening hopes bloom eternal I bought some little plants. Besides my 6 tomato plants and 6 pepper plants, I grabbed what I though were cantaloupe plants... they were cucumbers- pickling cucumbers no less. They have made a cucumber party in my garden. And I thought the tomatoes were party animals! 
 
3.My sister. I have a sister, well that's not true I have two sisters. Both live 9 hours/534 miles away. We have to be creative to stay in touch. I share "heart finding" with one sister (Our Wild Hearts). And share "provoking each other into being motivated" with the other. Want to get your closet clean? Whine about how you hate what a mess your closet is ...and suddenly there is a challenge to find 3 things in 15 minutes and report back. Anyway there was never an overt "canning challenge" per say ... but my sister has been canning with a vengeance all summer. Duly impressed I told her I don't can. But the seed was planted so to speak.
4. A strapping young man with peaches. Last Wednesday I went to the Blacksburg Farmers Market- where a strapping young man with a knife and a dripping peach asked me if I would like to taste the peaches- If I was 30 years younger that could have been seen as a pick up line- but I digress. The peaches were delicious and I ended up with about 15 peaches. 

The rest of this post is an in depth look at my  canning adventure- surely the longest blog post to date- but I figure it covers a whole week...

So before Wednesday is done I have google peach preserves and press the print button. My first canning recipe from All Recipes.com - First question what the heck is pectin? Googling along I print out a few more bits of info and then I am off to the store to procure canning jars, pectin - three kinds, lids , and a little kit that has what I call "canning forceps"- for removing the jars from the hot water, the best looking blue funnel and a really cool magnetic doohicky (boy spell check is boycotting that word) that is used to get lids out hot water and will be used to pick up pins when I knock them over when I am quilting this winter.
Thursday morning after a calming yoga class I am ready to begin.



Peaches at the ready.
 Peaches in the pot.


Stove with more pots than I have ever used -I love my blue funnel! 
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 By lunch I have some cute little half pints of peach preserve.
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Friday- was spent trying to find out what the heck pickling spices are and procuring more jars. Saturday was I bought more spices than I will ever possibly use and a huge box of canning salt. The afternoon was spent watching the Hokies kick Appalachian States butt while working on photo editing. Sunday I was able to visit with one of the cutest little families in the whole world and work on more photo editing. I even made it to late Sunday church! 
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And on Monday with my kitchen is still in its canning binge state I am ready to take on the cucumbers.  I pull out my sweet relish recipe and have cut off the ends of my first cucumber.
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I am stopped cold. Do you peel the skin??
The recipe leaves me in canning limbo- drat! Google leads me to the BEST canning site ever. (And I would know this with my years of experience...)

SB Canning has a blog with a link to SB Canning page on Facebook.In less than 10 minutes I have become a follower on their blog and "liked" their page and have an answer! (Leave the skin on for the relish I was making). What a strange world we live in-filled with wonderful and helpful people. The relish is the best relish bar none I have ever had- YUMMY in my egg salad sandwich I had for lunch- I said I don't cook- it does not mean I don't eat. 

The rest of the week was a blur of pickles and tomato salsa- 
 
 I would like to say I am thrilled to have my kitchen back to its pre-canning state but am already wondering what they will have at the farmers market on Saturday.  Oh dear. 

First I will have some peach preserves on a bit of ice creme. 
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blessings to all you undertake-
may you be fearless even in the messy parts-
spread love
xo teri
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