Monday, July 19, 2010

Jamming, a glut of vegetables, and death to caterpillars

Hooray for jam! I think we had a little over six pounds of berries left when we finally got around to making it. I did a 3/4 ratio of sugar to fruit, cooked it to 105C (about 220F, I think), added a little fresh lemon juice to help with the gelling process, and voila! My stockpot at the back of the stove doubled as a pressure cooker, to help seal the jars once filled. Because we had so many strawberries, we needed two pans to make it all in one go.

And we ran out of jars before we ran out of jam. I'm a bit hit and miss when it comes to saving jars (like mayonnaise or salsa jars) for future use. I ended up having more jars than lids--figures. So the last bit went into a plastic take-away container, and it's the one we're eating first. Yummy.

I think I may have been a little over-ambitious with the cabbage this year. We picked our first head, and it's lasted four meals. So far. There's enough left for another meal. And I'm feeling like I should have planted more carrots. Just started digging them up, and they go so quickly! Beets, too. I ran out of beet seeds, but still have carrot seeds. I could plant more if I do it immediately. And now I'm wishing I planted onion seeds, for spring onions. I have some volunteer garlic (I planted some like three years ago, and its descendants are still there), which makes for lovely "spring garlic:" the stalks are as tasty as the bulbs.

And remember last year's caterpillar invasion? This year's butterflies are laying the preliminary groundwork for a similar attack. I had better nip this threat in the bud, though I feel so bad killing them--butterflies are our friends. However, they spend a lot more time as destructive caterpillars than helpful butterflies, so I must stay strong.

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