I’ve been a pickle making machine lately. My grandma gave me several cucumbers from her garden so I turned them into several jars of bread and butter pickles (above). Then I visited my parents several weekends ago, and my dad had well over ten lbs of cucumbers. So we got to work and spent a good portion of the day Saturday pickling. We made a batch of sweet, bread and butter, and dill. I’ve tried some from each recipe and have found them all to be quite tasty!
I’ve canned a few different things and keep being surprised how easy it is. It takes some time and a bit of reading to make sure you know how to properly process your jars, but it is not rocket science. Honestly it doesn’t take all of the fancy tools either. I use my biggest soup pot with a steamer basket fanned out in the bottom for processing my jars. My mom did buy my dad the special jar tongs and they are really handy, but I don’t own a pair and my regular tongs do the job.
If you’re interested in some recipes check out Putting Food By. My grandma has a 1970s copy that I have a couple of recipes photocopied from. It also includes lots of great instructions and tips on canning, so it might be good to check out from the library if you’re going to give canning a try.
Sweet Pickle Chips – This is the updated recipe of the one I used. I generally don’t care for sweet pickles, but I didn’t mind these. The addition of the Allspice gives them a bit of a different flavor than a store-bought sweet pickle.
Bread and Butter – (pictured above) I couldn’t find a copy of this one online, so you’ll have to buy or borrow the book. It includes turmeric, celery seed, and mustard seed. The cucumbers in this recipe are put on ice before canning. I may be wrong but I think that it helps keep the pickles crunchier. Next time I make the dill recipe below I think I’ll add a similar step to the beginning of that recipe.
Dill – This recipe was recommended by my friend Shannon. They’re incredibly easy, and I wish we’d made more because I’m down to just a few pickles left! I like that the recipe is very basic, so it leaves room for tweaking the spices. I actually emptied a jar a few nights ago, and decided to make some refrigerator pickles with the left over juice.
Did you check out the supermoon last night? Nate has a telescope that’s really good for looking at the moon with, so he set it up and we took a look. He grabbed this awesome shot with his iPhone through the telescope eyepiece.
Last week I won a ticket through Downtown OKC Inc. to see Oklahoma Shakespeare‘s production of Othello. I was pretty excited because I’d never been to Shakespeare in the Park, and Nate had been talking about wanting to go for a while. So Saturday evening Nate and I headed to the Myriad Gardens Water Stage to catch the evening’s performance.
OK Shakespeare had tweeted to bring your blanket and hot chocolate (since it was a bit chilly), and I took them up on it! Once we arrived I found in the program where they invited people to bring picnic dinners too. We were really wishing we had picked up some Thai food to bring because the show lasted from 8-11:20 and we hadn’t eaten dinner yet!
The seating filled up, and the show was well put together. I thought the actors and actresses did a great job; although you might check with Nate to see what he thought since he has a theater background.
All in all it was an enjoyable evening, and they still have two more weekends of performances (Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights) before the season is over. So if you enjoy Shakespeare you might take an evening to check out a performance of Othello!
I, like a lot of people, love the Olympics. I remember watching them as a child listening closely for athletes who started their Olympic careers later in life. Always holding onto that small chance that I could still become an Olympian. These days I’m mostly content to cheer on the athletes and be amazed at everything they accomplish, although I could still get into Archery or Handball or Water Polo right?
On Friday I attended an opening ceremonies watch party. I wanted to bring a festive treat to share, but since I’d be coming almost directly from rowing practice I wanted something easy to make, store, and transport. So I thought up some Olympic ring fruit.
Blueberries, black grapes, watermelon, mango, and green grapes (please excuse the terrible picture I quickly grabbed). I’ve seen a bunch of other really cute Olympic food ideas on Pinterest that I’m keeping in mind in case I have another Olympic party to cook for (click the picture below to go to the original recipe). Have you made any Olympic themed foods this year?
Via: Taste of Home
The secret about Sunday evenings in downtown OKC in June, July and August is quickly getting out. Since they finished re-doing the Myriad Gardens last year the Arts Council has held Sunday Twilight Concerts on the grand lawn. The concerts are free and go from 7:30-9 p.m. Just bring chairs or blankets to sit on! We like to take a picnic dinner (BLTs last night!) to eat while we enjoy the music. Last night we joined a group of friends to enjoy music by 411 Band with Cara Black (motown/soul), and the park was PACKED. It’s definitely good clean family fun, the weather last night was perfect, and the crowd was loving it. So if you need something to do on a Sunday evening there are still six more weeks of music to check out!
Father’s Day weekend I went to Mangum, OK to visit the grandparents. They have a farm, and it has always been one of my favorite places to visit. There are just so many different things to do and experience in the country that we don’t have in the city. During my visit I had sand plums on my mind. I’ve only picked them a time or two and only had sand plum jelly a few times, but I thought it might be the right time of year for them. Saturday afternoon my grandpa (who refuses to ever eat sand plum jelly again after having so much growing up) was so sweet and took me to one of his pastures to pick a bucket full of plums. We got lucky and there were tons of ripe ones!
I ended up with over 7 lbs of plums!
I’ve never made jelly or canned anything before, but other than my small second degree burn mishap my jelly was a delicious success (16 jars of success worth!). If your going to make some jelly or jam check out Sure Jell’s instructions and amount charts. The instructions also come in their box of pectin, and it’s very detailed for all types of jam (bits of fruit) and jelly (fruit juice).
Sand Plum Jelly
Sand plums (5 lbs is what the Sure Jell recipe calls for)
A Box of pectin
New canning seals
8 oz canning jars
1. Pick your plums, remove the stems, sort out the ripe ones and put them in the fridge, put the unripe ones in a paper bag to ripen for a day or two, throw out the ones that are bad or holey.
2. When you’re ready to cook down your plums wash them all (throw out any more bad ones you find, and cut off any suspicious looking spots or holes) and put them in a pot. I read some things that said just cover them with water, some said don’t quite cover them, and the Sure Jell instructions said 5 lbs of plums to 1 1/2 c. of water. I didn’t quite cover mine (my grandma told me with Sure Jell you could probably make water jelly if you wanted) and mine all jelled properly.
3. Don’t boil the plums just let them simmer, and as they get hot mash them with a potato masher. I decided mine were ready when I didn’t see anymore whole plums.
4. Strain the contents of your pot to remove the skins and pits. A lot of what I read said you want to strain it really well so the juice is very clear (no scientific reason just for pretty, clear jelly). That seemed like a waste to me, so I just used a colander and let some of the pulp through. At this point you can store the juice in the fridge until you’re ready to make your jelly.
5. From here just follow the Sure Jell instructions! I’d recommend reading through them a time or two before you start so you know what you’re supposed to do and also have all your tools within arms reach and ready to go.
– I didn’t buy any special canning tools (other than the pectin, jars, and lids). You can do this with regular metal tongs, a tall soup pot (I stuck a metal veggie steamer deal in the bottom of mine to keep the jars from touching the bottom and sides), and a regular funnel.
– Do use a funnel! I’m not sure if the Sure Jell instructions didn’t mention the funnel or what, but I forgot to use mine until I ladled boiling hot jelly over my hand while trying to ladle it into the jar. Definitely not a fun experience.
– Test to make sure the water will cover your jars in your boiling water bath before you start.
– If you’re still feeling nervous Google for some jelly canning tips. I read this site through a couple of times and found the tips and instructions really helpful.
– Heat your jars in a 200 degree oven until you’re ready to fill them.
Happy jelly making!
Who doesn’t love a snow cone on a hot day?! I definitely do. The only problem is those little stands can sometimes be elusive especially if you’re in a part of town you don’t often frequent. So last summer I started an OKC Snow Cone Stands Map. The best part is that anyone with a Google log-in can add to it! So if you see that your favorite stand is missing, please add it (click Edit and grab a little blue marker from the top). Or if a stand on there is no longer in business or the details are wrong, you can help me update it (click edit and click on the stand marker you want to edit).