These past few weeks have been absolutely exhausting; 12 days of work in a row equaling 88 hours, getting a 24 hour stomach flu, and going to Bend. I am finally getting all settled back in, doing laundry, dishes, all of those neglected things. But number one on my neglected things to do list was preservation! I had a few pounds of onions, red bell peppers, cucumbers, and apples to tend to. So I sat down, had a quiet, nice dinner, then was off to beat this beast down.
On the menu for tonight: roasted red peppers, pickled onions, spicy applesauce, and good ol’fashioned sliced dill pickles. Trying to figure out how to manage time the best, I began by roasting the red peppers and boiling the onions. The peppers can either be roasted on top of a gas stove or, if like me you sadly do not have a gas stove, then you can throw them on a cookie sheet and broil them. I learned the hard way that peeling the skins from the peppers is not as easy at is sounds, so I advise you to cut the peppers in half and seed, lay them insides down, and broil them until almost completely black. Yeah yeah, I know I sound crazy, but you wont regret it. Take the peppers out and immediately put them into a plastic bag, they will sweat inside and the skins will just fall off.So back to the onions, i sliced them into rings, boiled them until a little soft in salted water, then packed them mediumly tight (yeah, sure that’s a word). I filled the rest of the jars with a 1:1 water: vinegar ratio, 1 tbsp honey, and 1tsp sugar, I also threw in a little hot pepper for some color and flavor. Oh, and for the onions, I used white. I would have preferred red, but I could not find any at market.
So because these onions were pickled, I put them in the pressure cooker for about 10 minutes. In the mean time, I was painstakingly peeling my bell peppers and preparing more jobs. By the time the onions were done, the peppers were ready to go in. The roasted red peppers were mixed with boiling water, 1 tsp salt, and a few peppercorns. Because there is no acid in this jar, the canning time was about 40 minutes. This gave me time to boil down my apples and puree. I keep the skins on my apples, use honey for sweetness, some lemon juice for acid, and added nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. After I pulled my roasted red peppers out, I put my spicy green applesauce in, about a 10-15 minute boiling time. I always use my pressure canner, but a hot water bath is fine for the applesauce and basically anything pickled.
The cucumbers were cut into slices, packed raw with a basic brine of vinegar, water, salt, and dill. I have pickled basically everything, but realized I didn’t have dill pickles. So I felt like sticking to what was good and simple.
I am headed out to get a ton of peaches this week from Detering Orchards. I only picked a few for their first crop, but I am hoping to pick around 20lbs or so for peach applesauce, peach butter, canned peaches, and frozen peaches. Also, I think I may make a hotsprings/McKenzie River Farm trip this week, just to see what they are all about. I know about 4 of the farmers from the “Organic Redneck” and would love to get to know the farm better. I may try to get a bit of U-Pick corn and maybe some raspberries if there are any still around.
Ooo ooo I almost forgot… Its… BLACKBERRY SEASON! Which means jars and jars of delicious jam coming soon! Happy Summer!