Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricaine Jam and Pickles...

We survived the storm, maintained power the whole time, the usual water in the basement, but actually not as bad as it's been at other times.

I'm working from home today, this photo of the Raritan Valley Line courtesy of  The Bridgewater Patch will show why

RVL Flooding

So Saturday we made some jam and Sunday we made pickles...

I'm not really sure how this turned out, it tasted ok, and it definitely set, which is a nice change of pace from the usual runny jam I end up with. I think i may have slightly burned it, but it didn't taste or smell burned. I also couldn't find purple basil, I have no idea where to get something like that.

Recipe yielded about 2 pints of jam

recipe attempted was this one...

Peach Habanero Basil Jam

The habanero peppers at the shop-rite are always green, I'm not certain if green or yellow or orange is hotter, Wegman's always seems to have a nicer selection of habanero peppers, but worse selection of jalapeno's, but for this recipe we had light green ones.

The pepper smell was overpowering in the house, so i took them out about a half hour into the cooking. 

Still some pretty big pieces of fruit in there. 

Jackie provided some constructive criticism during the process...
I think it may have over set, but that could just be based on the jar i half filled and put in the fridge. I was worried it was too spicy on Saturday, but after it sat for a day, it was toned down a bit. It came out pretty good, I may try the recipe again in the future to see if we can get better results. I think I'm done experimenting with spicy jams for the time being, I'm going to try some more normal sounding stuff for a while. I think maybe I'm too inexperienced to be trying these grand experiments all the time. The peaches came from the nice folks at Melick's Town Farm at their Bridgewater farm stand.

The pickles I think came out great.... though our house smells like pickles still. I mean... we'll see how they taste after they season a bit, but they look 10 times better than the last batch, and those had generally favorable reviews.

We picked up cucumbers at a local farm stand off route 202, not sure the name. The next time we drive past I'll make a note and update the post. They were pretty good though, and that makes a huge difference. The last time we made pickles, the cucumbers were store bought and sat in the fridge a couple of days, they were getting a bit soft.

Thanks to my Mother in Law, we have a nice mandolin slicer that got way better results than the kitchen aid slicer attachment we used last time. That thing cut them way to thin, and sort of shredded the cucumbers at times, with the mandolin we got nice consistent thicker slices, they really look great and I'm hoping the end result is crispier than what we had last time. That's a tough result apparently with the hot water canner, but we'll see when we open them. One thing I can't figure is why the heck they sell these half gallon canning jars? They don't fit in the hot water bath, and apparently your not supposed to use them for much. I'm hoping they don't spoil, we tried the best we could, but we had so many cucumbers, that i underestimated the number of jars needed. I had extra quart jars, but thought I should try the half gallon jars, only realizing after i stuck it back in the pot that it was too big.

Fresh cucumbers

Soaking the cucumbers

The cucumber water... this reminds me of the beginning of the movie "The Dark Crystal"
Jen and UrSu making dill pickles 

I'm betraying my supreme nerdiness again....

So we had a busy weekend of storm prep, food prep, and having fun with Jackie and Rocky. I still have a pile of peaches that we're maybe going to make into a pie tonight.

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