Monday, August 10, 2009

Canning Week!

This week is officially the hottest week this summer, so it is only fitting that it is also canning week. I remember some of the hot days of summer as a kid watching my mother over the stove working on her jelly and canned fruit. I decided this year to start my own jelly and canning, only I was hoping for some bay area cool comfort while I did this rather hot task. Needless to say, I got greeted this weekend with the summer we have been missing all year. The temperatures are no where near the 90+ degrees my mother had to contend with, but the mid to high eighties seems warm to me now that I, and I hate to admit it, have become very much accustomed to the nice temperate nature of Oakland. The above is my first attempt at peach jelly. It went well, and I ended up with three full pints of jelly. The store was out of half pints, so I had to move up in jar size for this batch of jelly. I also put up some peaches in syrup, but those are not quite as pretty, so no pictures of those. I did not pack the jars enough, so they look rather odd with pieces of peaches floating at the top and a lot of syrup at the bottom. Next year, this will be better. I also learned that trying to get the skins off white peaches seems to be harder than yellow peaches, so I will also only work with yellow freestones next year.

These are the next to go into jars. Strawberry jam is on tonight's canning list after I get a set of curtains sewn up for the 826 Valencia tutoring room. I need to get them done before their awards ceremony tomorrow night. I hope to get the fabric picked up this afternoon and get to sewing them up soon after.

On Tuesday morning, I plan to make some apricot jam next. This should round out all the jam I am making for some time, unless I can get my hands on some concord grapes for grape jelly for Dan. I would also love to make some grape juice as well, but I would have to find a good source of grapes. There is the possibility that I would be able to get some from my friend Annie if that is what the grapes in her yard turn out to be.

Speaking of which, I am so happy to have her back in my circle of friends. She was one of my good friends in Illinois and has recently moved into the area. We spent Friday running around the city looking at shops and eating good food. It was fabulous!

I also got my hands on some gravenstein apples at the market this weekend. They are supposed to be some of the best baking apples in the world and are rather hard to find. The trees require very specific soil conditions and growing specifications, so they are not easily grown. They also have a very short season and are grown only in Sebastpool and Sonoma counties in California it seems. I will let you all know if they are worth the trip here to get them. I am going to make a crisp with them, and if they are great, I may make up some sauce with another batch and can that. They do smell fantastic on their own just sitting in the bowl, almost like lilies.

Well I should get off for some fabric shopping and curtain sewing.

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