time flies

24 06 2008

egads! Where does the time go? Well actually… let me tell you.

Let’s see, on Friday I came home to a boat load of rhubarb that my mom and friend had kindly harvested for me. I washed and chopped rhubarb that evening, again on Saturday, and then finally finished on Sunday morning. Most of it went towards the slurpalicious rhubarb juice recipe, with a decent sized portion towards the decadent rhubarb vodka. And I topped off a few of the bags in our freezer with the rest.

Also on Sunday morning, my beloved and I went strawberry picking and brought home six large baskets. We spent the rest of the day washing and freezing the berries… at least the ones that didn’t get diverted into our open mouths. I tell you, it is NOT possible to resist a plump red strawberry that has been sitting in the sun.

Then, last night I spent the evening preparing more spinach for the freezer – 10 POUNDS OF IT! Yeah, that took awhile. When I finally finished, my husband said, “So what’s next? Is that it until tomatoes are in season?” I didn’t have the heart to tell him about the pickles, chutneys, and jams to come in just a few weeks.

So forgive me blogosphere, I have been absent. But I AM thinking of you.


rhubarb giveaways

12 06 2008

I ran into a friend a few weeks ago and I mentioned to him that I was putting rhubarb in our garden this year. After years of stealing rhubarb from my parents, I was finally going to have my very own! Wasn’t that exciting news, I thought.

He laughed and said, “The problem with rhubarb is that before you know it, you’ve got enough to feed the whole neighbourhood. And you find that you can’t even give away the stuff!”

“WHAT?!?” screamed a voice inside my head.

“Is he talking about the same rhubarb that we know and cherish?” another voice asked.

“Surely, no!” piped in a third.

But the doubts were beginning to set in, and I rushed away quickly to hide my confusion. How could someone be so cavalier about rhubarb? Weeks later, I am still perplexed by his comments. I’ll ponder them some more over the weekend, while I am canning enough rhubarb juice to store for the winter, and sharing some of my rhubarb bounty with the neighbourhood. So in the spirit of rhubarb giveways, enjoy this:

Rhubarb Juice

(With thanks to the Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving – also known as the Ball Complete Book of… depending on where you’re located)

  • 12 cups of sliced rhubarb (about 1 inch long pieces)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar

Put rhubarb and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high, stirring constantly. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until rhubarb is soft (about 10 minutes). Strain mixture into a boil, using a dampened jelly bag or a strainer lined with a few layers of cheesecloth. Let drip about 2 hours.

Just before you’re ready to start the next step, sterilize four 500mL jars, lids and screw bands. At this point, you’ll want to start heating up water in the pot which you will be using to process the jars. (NOTE: If you’re an inexperienced canner, stop right here and google “boiling water method for canning”. NO IFS ANDS OR BUTS. Do it.)

In a clean saucepan, combine the rhubarb juice and the sugar. Heat to just below boiling, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and skim off any foam. Ladle into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Wipe the rim and place the lid on the jar. Screw the bands on tight but not HE-MAN tight. Place the jars in the canner (prepared pot… what have you), making sure they’re completely covered with water. Process for ten minutes. Remove from canner, cool and store. As always, if the lids don’t seal with a noticeable POP and a depressed lid, store the cans in the fridge and enjoy the juice over the next week.

If all goes well though… you’ll be tasting springtime when you open up these jars come winter!

Oh, and if you’re looking for a naughtier version of this libation, be sure to check out this post.

can’t beet this!

7 01 2008

Yum! I had forgotten about the pickled beets I made last summer. It was one of those days in the kitchen where I had lots of different pots bubbling away on the stove top. I remember wondering what our winter diet would be like – this being the first winter where we’ve made local eating a priority. I felt like a squirrel at times, burying local food in our freezer, hiding my canned goods away in our cupboard. Now, whenever I go looking in our stored supplies, I’m always surprised with a treat I had forgotten about.