Saturday, August 09, 2008

Preserving


tomato
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
There are seven jars of hot pepper jelly cooling on a kitchen towel (the only goddamn kitchen towel. What the hell happens to my dish towels? Do they migrate to other planets? Does my son use them for some weird ass nefarious purpose in the garage? Do the dogs eat them? I have no idea but it's annoying as fuck. I get tired of buying new dish towels; they're all ugly and I hate paying money for bad design.) in the kitchen. I feel all goddess like - not one of the fun goddesses like Aphrodite, granted, but goddessy all the same. Also, this is going to be the hottest hot pepper jelly I've ever made in many years of making hot pepper jelly, because this is the first year that I've had the nerve to completely ignore the part of the recipe that calls for 2 cups of bell peppers and 1/4 cup of hot peppers and instead just used pretty much all hot peppers. Take that, wimpy recipe writer! My hot pepper jelly is going to have cojones! Even as I write this the jars are making satisfying little BINK noises as the lids seal. I always worry that I'm going to kill us all when I start canning stuff - lacking a proper pressure canner, I just wing it with my big stock pot, tongs and hope. So far, no deaths have been attributed but it's still nervewracking since, as we know, I'm not one of those housewifely types whose kitchen oozes sterility. My kitchen more sort of just oozes. But this jelly and the jars were all boiled to within an inch of their lives, so all good, one hopes.

All the peppers I used are also all out of the garden, which is nice. Yeah, bring it on, peak oil! I can grow and preserve my own vegetables! Especially if there are still supermarkets where I can get canning jars, vast quantities of sugar, pectin (whatever it is - don't tell me, I have a sneaking suspicion and I think I'm happier not hearing it confirmed) and apple cider vinegar. And if I can live on hot pepper jelly, which sort of requires cream cheese and bagels as an accompaniment.

I'm inundated right now with hot peppers and basil (I am about to start giving basil away, so if you find yourself in need of basil, let me know. Seriously.) tomatoes and, naturally, zucchini. I also have one small but perfect cantaloupe which has gotten me all excited since the only other melon I've ever grown successfully was the Barbie Watermelon of 2004, a tiny, Barbie sized perfect watermelon which we ate with hilarity and gusto in about 30 seconds of tiny, tiny slices and which has lived on in the family annals as an exemplar of the fact that, as in all things, I am a seriously weird gardener. The cantaloupe is not Barbie sized but neither is it supermarket sized: it's more sort of softball sized. Whatever. I got it off the vine before the groundhogs did, so, hey, victory. It's these small triumphs that are the whole point of gardening.

3 comments:

Edward said...

Don't worry, Pectin comes from vegetables. It's gelatin that comes from the insides of animals that we eat the other parts of.

zoe said...

Hot pepper jelly - I think I'm in love! We don't get those peppers over here so I have to put up with what I can find in the supermarkets. One day, though .... one day :)

Enjoy.

Sujaco said...

I like to read your gardening tales. Your writing is so fresh and smart that it's a real joy to visit with you.