Sunday, September 13, 2009

of cans and dreams

When I ever-so-eagerly planted my first organic container garden late this spring, I dreamt of unimaginable bounty, having to pass off bags filled with zucchini to unsuspecting neighbors and casually walking to my porch to harvest an armful of herbs for a bouquet garni, Ina Garten style. Fast forward three months later and um, not so much. Sure, there were a few zucchinis (and I mean that in the literal sense of "few," as in two), a couple of cucumbers (cough, three), enough basil for 2 cups of pesto and maybe even 30 or so grape tomatoes. Lest I forget, there were even several salads' worth of arugula, swiss chard and kale. But the bounty I'd imagined that would require me to put up for the winter? Not even close. Nonetheless, my obsession with the gentle domestic art of canning never waned and when I realized that there really was no more to be had from my garden, I took matters into my own hands and bought some ingredients for homemade jam.

Though the peaches I bought were not as fragrant or juicy as I'd hoped (how I envy you, K-Brow!), they were acceptably soft and un-mealy. I had frozen a batch of organic strawberries bought during a Safeway rampage this summer (hello? a pound of organic strawberries for $2?! I may have bought 12 pounds. Maybe.) and decided to mix them with the peaches. I made just a small batch- the yield was probably no more than 3 cups- but I didn't want to be stuck with more than 3 cups of salmonella jam if I didn't follow the canning directions correctly. The process was pretty straightforward (though I'm sure I missed many of the subtle nuances that experienced canners are familiar with) and in the end, we got a pretty tasty jar of jam!

Having survived the experience without any bouts of botulism, I'm excited to try my hand at other prospects, namely marmalade and other citrus blends.

On the knitting front, I'm in the middle of a Think Pink KAL begun with K-Brow and Acornbud before K-Brow's departure to Georgia. Ariann (Bonne Marie Burns) is on the needles in Screaming Fuschia SWTC Karaoke and about 30% or so complete.

I'm enjoying the rhythm of this knit, though I get too easily impatient with the length of the rows. I have to remind myself that it seems to grow slowly because the back and front are knit at the same time. This yarn is delicious to work with, though I suspect the finished product may be entirely too warm to wear, save for the coldest of days here. Nonetheless, it's an entirely enjoyable knit, cozy and comforting; not altogether a bad gig at all.


Acornbud said...

Yay! Here's to balance! and screaming pink:)

Karen said...

Early each spring, I always imagine my huge garden and the loads of vegetables I will harvest from it. But late June, it always turns out I've only turned over half as much of a plot as I wanted to, only got around to buying a few plants, and have neglected the watering and weeding. *sigh*

But hurray for the vegetables and basil you did get. And your jam looks so yummy!!! You are a domestic goddess.

PS: I know I still owe you an email back. It's coming . . . I swear! See, some things never change!!

k-brow said...

I'm so impressed with your canning. i always say I'd like to can, but use the excuse of not having a garden to get out of it. As always, you raise the bar for me just a little bit.

Nice to see Pink Ariann, and to see that she is the same color (obnoxious) as my own, even though we're using different yarns. I am loving the knit, but have a feeling you're gonna beat me in this KAL - I'm only one buttonhole done, and on the 2nd set of increases.