Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Morning

This morning it was a real treat to be outside.

Molly found a turtle...

And we found blueberries.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Bird Dog

Molly is now 9 months old.
She loves birds.
.
video

She also loves her KONG.
Maybe she thinks it's a rolling bird.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Summer Squash Pickles

It's that time of year. The blossoms on our squash plants gave way to BIG, FATTY fruit and tender, smaller fruit - both perfect for packing into jars. Squash Pickles are a favorite addition to any sandwich. Most recently, Noah added a few to a BLT-A (yes...the A is for one of my favorites - avocado). He said that the pickles made for a most perfect taste combination.

We owe every bit of *thanks* to Noah's mom, Linda, for getting us hooked. She passed along her canning blue book (a must if you're interested in preserving your garden harvests) which holds the coveted recipe. In case you don't have your very own blue book the recipe will be the highlight of my very first blog.

Summer Squash Pickles

This recipe makes about 4 pints of pickles...

  • 2 pounds summer squash, sliced into 1/4" rounds
  • 1 1/3 cups sliced onions
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (responsible for that magic yellow)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup vinegar

Combine squash and onions, set aside. Combine remaining ingredients in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil. Add squash and onions; boil 10 minutes.

Pack hot squash and liquid into hot jars (As the pickles are doing their thing, I fill one side of my sink with really hot water and add the jars to it. I also put the cap pieces in hot water until I use them. Basically, you just don't want to put hot pickles in a cold jar.), leaving 1/4" headspace. Remove air bubbles, and wipe around the rim and sides of the jars. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

a few suggestions for eating squash pickles:

  • who thought a tomato sandwich could get any better? after slathering your bread with mayo (Duke's, of course), plop on your tomato and add a few squash pickles. delish!
  • same goes for grilled cheese - even better with a few of these babies.
  • as i mentioned earlier...Noah's new discovery - BLT-A with some added yellow.
  • our friend Zach just goes right into the jar and downs them one-by-one.
  • really, any sandwich can be perfected with the addition of squash pickles. maybe sandwhich will beg me for some jars.

So you want to know how to use a boiling water canner? Here's your very own step-by-step guide:

Before or during the pickling process, fill a large pot with water. The pot must be deep enough to cover the jars with 1 to 2 inches of water while the water is boiling rapidly. If you buy an actual "boiling water canner" it should come with a rack to set the jars in. I personally don't really like using the rack, BUT without a rack, you really have to have a jar lifter. **Sidenote: The first time I canned, I tried doing it without a rack and without a jar lifter. Bad idea. I had to be pretty creative to get the jars out of the boiling water - my fingers are just now forgiving me. This is a jar lifter. You should be able to find one at your local hardware store, kitchen store or online.

Once the water comes to a rolling boil, add the jars and let them sit for the amount of time indicated in the recipe. I normally add a few minutes just to make sure they've gone long enough. Pull the jars out of the water and let them sit. If everything's right, you should start hearing your jar lids pop just a few minutes after they've been out of the water. After a half-hour or so, check to make sure the jars have sealed by pressing the center "button" on the jar lid. If it still pops, it's not sealed. You'll want to throw unsealed jars in the fridge and use them first.

Only use this process for high acid foods (fruits, jams, tomatoes with added acid (like lemon juice), relishes, chutneys, vinegars and pickles!). Low acid foods need more heat to kill bacteria and can only be canned with a pressure canner.

Good luck with your canning! Let me know how it goes!