Bryan and I went back to my parents place one weekend in June and raided the last little bit of the rhubarb patch and a lot of their herbs. Later that week, I was biking through Dufferin Grove park and picked up my first quarts of fresh Ontario strawberries at the market for $5/quart. I had a $20 so I bought 4 quarts. They were organic, tiny, and super tasty. I had forgotten how good fresh strawberries were. They did not last long in the apartment!

Before I could eat them all up, I scoured Pinterest for an interesting strawberry rhubarb jam recipe and found recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Rosemary Jam:

http://www.leenaeats.com/blog/recipes/leena-cooks/leena-cooks-n-cans-strawberry-rhubarb-rosemary-jam/

I sterilized two small 125mL jars, two squat 250mL jars, and one regular shaped 250mL jars and started cooking the jam. Because I use a fairly small stock pot to can, I had to do the jam in two batches. The first batch was one of the small jars and both squat jars. The second batch…well, I’ve never canned jam in two batches before so it was a learning experience. I’ve learned that if you need to process in two batches, perhaps leaving the jam for the second batch on the element with the element on is not the best way to go. Burnt jam sucks. Burnt jam made with some of the most delicious strawberries you’ve ever tasted sucks even worse.

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So, I had three jars in the end. Luckily, the recipe called for 3 cups of strawberries, which was only a little over a quart so I didn’t loose too much.

This jam is DELICIOUS, however I don’t taste the rosemary at all. I don’t think I’d add the rosemary if I were to make it again, as it just seems more like strawberry rhubarb jam with random floating bits.


Mom brought a HUGE bunch of rhubarb that weekend in May / June. I took a bit less than half and pickled them and then stewed the rest using a basic recipe from the National Centre for Home Preservation:

http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_02/rhubarb_stewed.html

I think I had used about 4 cups of chopped rhubarb and it cooked down to a little over one full 500mL pint jar. I remember being surprised at how much rhubarb I had to stew compared with how little stewed rhubarb I had at the end. Thinking back, I must have filled this jar to the fill line (1/2″ headspace) because I had some stewed rhubarb leftover to put on ice cream for Bryan’s birthday. As the jar is clearly not completely full in this pic, it looks like there was some product loss during processing. I also completely forgot to be good about removing air bubbles. Oops.

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(Marisa from Food In Jars says that air bubbles are generally no big deal. See her post about them here: http://foodinjars.com/2011/10/canning-101-air-bubbles-in-finished-products/)


ImageGrowing up, we had two rhubarb patches that (I think) just came with our house. We didn’t plant them, they just always existed (mom & dad — correct me if I’m wrong!) There was the patch at the front of the garden and the patch at the back of the garden in amongst the compost heap. Every year since I was young, I was in charge of the rhubarb patch at the front of the garden and my dad laid claim to the compost patch. We would compete to see whose rhubarb patch grew the best. I always won because my rhubarb patch was in a much better spot in the garden I’m, apparently, much better at gardening than my dad.

Anyway, my mom came in to Toronto during the last weekend in May and I MADE her bring me all the ripe rhubarb from my rhubarb patch her backyard. I was in a bit of a canning and pickling kick after making the asparagus and grape tomatoes, so I scoured the internet for interesting preserved rhubarb recipes that involved water bath canning. Now, MOST recipes for pickled rhubarb were for refrigerator pickles, which at the time was not something I wanted to do. I wanted to get out the canning pot and process some pickles, damnit, not just stick some crap in a jar, cover it in liquid, and shove it in the fridge. One of the only recipes I found where the rhubarb was actually processed was this one:

http://food52.com/recipes/12171-gingered-rhubarb-riesling-pickles

Bonus: this recipe made me go out and buy wine. I like wine, but never think to just have it around. I’m trying to change that, so I bought two bottles.

Anyway, I poured myself a glass of wine and prepared the rhubarb and brine. I had enough for three 500mL pint jars of the rhubarb, plus more rhubarb to stew (see next post).

Since making these pickles, I’ve used one jar. They turned out really mushy, but pretty tasty. I don’t think process rhubarb pickles in a water bath again though. I’m a bit at a loss as to what to do with them. So far, I used some of the jar in a salad with goat cheese, spinach, and nuts. It was pretty good, and could be a good salad dressing, but I think needs some honey or sugar to even out the tartness. I used the rest of the jar as the basis of a BBQ sauce that I made up. This is what I did:

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Leftover Gingered Riesling Rhubarb Pickles BBQ Sauce
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2/3 cup pickling brine
1 1/3 crushed tomatoes (from a can.. like a real tin can, not a home canned can)
1/2 cup pureed pickled rhubarb (rhubarb, ginger, spices)
1/3 cup honey
Spash Worchestershire sauce
1/4 cup molasses

Heat oil on medium.
Add onion, cook 3-4 minutes
Add garlic, cook additional 3 minutes
Add everything else except molasses,* bring to a boil and simmer until your boyfriend comes home, tastes it, and tells you to add molasses.

*You can add molasses at this point if you do not have a boyfriend.

I put this on salmon and it was delicious. It’s quite tomato-y, so I think I’d put less crushed tomatoes if I ever made it again. I think Bryan put it on steak. I wanted to put it on BBQ tofu for dinner last night, but it turns out that freezing & thawing medium tofu doesn’t change the texture enough for it to be strong enough to grill. Bah. But, I still have almost a full 500mL pint jar in the fridge of the sauce. I didn’t can the sauce. I don’t know if it’d be safe. I’m not an experienced enough canner to even think to try and I haven’t done any research into canning BBQ sauces.


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I couldn’t figure out what recipe I used to can these grape tomatoes, until I was taking this photo and realized that it was the same brine as the asparagus. I had lots of brine leftover after filling the 3 500mL pint jars, so I filled another jar with grape tomatoes and processed them along with the asparagus.

Again, because of the mustard in the pickling spice I wasn’t a big fan of these. 


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Back in May asparagus was fresh and in season. Week after week we received bunches in our organics box, so one weekend I decided to get out the canning jars and do some pickling. I found a recipe on Food In Jars (my fav canning site): http://foodinjars.com/2009/04/pickled-asparagu/

I followed the recipe exactly using Club House Pickling spice, which lists the following spices (in order): mustard seed, coriander, bay leaves, dill seed, fenugreek, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, red better, black pepper, cloves. I cut the asparagus in springs to fit the height of the jar and could fill two 500mL pint jars with tall springs and then used the odds and ends to fill one more jar (picture above).

Bryan and I ate one jar and I gave one jar to my dad for father’s day. Dad loved them and asked for more. I thought they were pretty good, but this recipe is what made me figure out (with Bryan’s help) that I don’t like mustard and that is probably why I grew up avoiding all things pickled. Now that I’ve pinned that down, I’ll be avoiding pickling anything with mustard!


I’m resurrecting this old blog, as I’ve come across something where writing down my thoughts in public may be useful to me later on.. Canning! Oh, and maybe also knitting, but I seem to finish canning things way quicker than knitting things…


I was in the darkroom a few weeks ago experimenting with stuff… Did a rubbing of the hardwood floor. Figured out conte was my best choice for rubbings….

Later, I scanned the rubbing (below). I have to figure out methods of fixing the rubbing so it won’t smudge. I think you can get spray for that but I’ve also heard that hairspray works too… Hmmm…

I took the rubbing into the darkroom and made a negative. Positive? Negative?

So if the floor is the positive, then the rubbing would be a negative, so the image above would be a positive? And if I made an inverse of this image in the darkroom that would be a negative?
I think that sounds right. Also, in the above image theoretically the dark spaces between the floorboards are still dark because the conte couldn’t make an impression of them on the negative.

So I think I’ve decided what’s positive and negative.

Last thoughts: I had forgotten how crappy RC Paper is. It really sucks. I thought it’d be great to use for the first few times back in the darkroom because it’s fast and easy, but it just ended up being annoying an ugly. Fibre from now on.