It is steamy in my kitchen today. Not because of the weather, but because of the bevy of activity on the stove. Today is a day of preserving and I’m up to my elbows in blackberries and cucumbers.
Yesterday, in the torrential downpour, Jeff picked a boat-load (yes, that’s an official measurement) of blackberries. So today I had to honor his commitment to his garden by making something wonderful from the harvest. I was going to make blackberry jam, but why do that when you can mix it up? Jeff and I both had similar trains of thought for the blackberries. The thought processes went something like this……
“Jam…..ok……but better……add herbs…..ok……..what kind…….basil? No……..thyme? Maybe…….rosemary? Definitely…..but better……add a
dash of balsamic? Ahhhhhhhh.”
Having taken a ride on that thought train, today’s jam is Blackberry Balsamic Jam with Rosemary and it sure smells good in my kitchen!!!! The jam is made and has been passed through the food mill. The jars are sterilizing on the stove top as I write. All that is left is to fill them and give them private time to relax in a water bath.
Just in case you’re wondering about jam vs. jelly vs. marmalade……..
What else is going on in the kitchen? Bread and butter pickles.
I am not a lover of cucumbers. In fact, I would almost rather starve than eat one; however I love cucumber spa water and I love bread and butter pickles. So when my mother-in-law asked if I wanted some fresh cucumbers from her garden, I accepted with the intention of turning them into pickles.
[OK, I must confess – I took a quick break from writing to get the jam into the jars and the jars into the canner. Now I can get back to writing about the pickles.]
Having never made bread and butter pickles, Jeff’s mom generously shared her recipe with me via Jeff’s phone. However, I forgot to get the recipe from him and he is currently unreachable by phone so I did a google search for ‘bread and butter pickles.’ The search pointed me to Pinterest (darn), which yielded a recipe from the Brown Eyed Baker that sounded good to me.
The Brown Eyed Baker’s recipe for bread and butter pickles is currently in process in my kitchen. I waffle cut the cucumbers using my mandoline (Q: Have I ever mentioned how much I love my mandoline? A: Only about a million times!) (Q: Have I ever mentioned the importance of safety when using a mandoline? A: Mentioned is too subtle a word for what I’ve done – ranted is more like it. If you want to read about it, click See John Cook: A Public Safety Message & Rant).
Now the cucumbers, having been salted according to the recipe, are chillin’ in the fridge. As soon as the jam comes out of the canner, I will be on to the next step of the recipe. Stay tuned…..
[Insert your favorite elevator music here!!!]
- soaked my plastic cutting boards in a bleach and water solution,
- emptied and reloaded the dishwasher,
- listened to my belly growl,
- started a pot of cold brew coffee
- rinsed the cucumbers according to the recipe instructions
- thinly sliced the onions
- prepared the pickling solution
- made a quick trip to the grocery store
- watered my plants
- dusted the living room
- swept the kitchen floor
- baked some sweet potatoes for lunches this week
- returned some phone calls
- fed my growling belly
Finally, I packed the jars and put them in the canner for 10 minutes.
It was certainly a productive day, not just in my steamy kitchen; but at my house in general. I’ll be happy in the months to come when I open a jar of jam or a jar of pickles. And I’ll have some healthy lunches this week too. So here’s to steamy!