Monday, September 27, 2010

Just Can It

It's that time of year again. When I get the itch to nest, preserve, and be a little homebody. Time to can tomatoes. But I've learned a few things since last year, so if you get the itch, keep the following in mind:

- Go with small batches. Last year's 50 pound of tomatoes at once resulted in bad moods all around. This year, I'm doing a series of smaller rounds so I won't want to kill myself in the whole process.

-Buy the right tools. Especially special tongs to lift jars from boiling water. Regular tongs do NOT work, as demonstrated by last year's splilt black thumbnail (an unfortunate accident involving tongs slipping and snapping on me).

-Get gloves. This is an extension of the listing above, but seriously, laytex gloves mean I don't have green, drying fingernails, and having some waterproof ones saved me many MANY burns this year.

Now I can actually enjoy the canning process AND the results. Isn't that what it's all about?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Honeybees got it right...

The number of bees in my hive have tripled at this point, so I've added a second super (honey box) and have been feeding them powdered sugar and peppermint syrup (apparently to ward off some mite that kills them). They are, quite simply, thriving. But I would be too if I had such a uniformly organized life.

Think about it: each bee has a purpose. It wakes up, does its thing, then dies. It lives off of one of the purest foods on earth and spends its days in beautiful parts of the world hopping from flower to flower.

There are parts of my life that I would miss, but the simplicity of a bee? Sometimes I think that would be kind of nice.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Monterey Jack!

Since I hadn't had time to make cheese in a while, I devoted this past long weekend to catching up. Day 1, Saturday, was a huge success, resulting in a 2 pound wheel of Monterey Jack which is now waxed and aging, as well as some feta which is actually tasting really delicious. The whey from these cheeses made some of the best ricotta I've ever made- light, soft, and fluffy!

Day 2, however, was almost a complete failure. I managed to screw up goat cheese, one of the easiest to make, as well as my fourth mozzarella attempt. Maybe I was overconfident because it turned out so good last time; either way, this time was less than spectacular and wouldn't even coagulate.

I guess you win some and lose some. So much more to learn. So much more milk to detroy...