I'm not dead yet!

Since I got back from Alaska, (and, really, before I left) the summer has kind of been kicking my trash. It was just so very much hotter than Logan is supposed to be. I had zero energy and didn't even want to glance in the direction of the garden lest it reproach me with its jungle of weeds and tangles of produce that I no longer cared about. (Funny how the idea of zucchini sounds so amazing, in, say, April, and then when it's August and you see yet another one growing it's like, "Aw crap. What a jerk. . . Ugh with the constant providing of food for me and my family, plant!")

But in the last week or so, we've turned a corner. The nights are cooler and we're all sleeping better. The air has a bit of crispness to it, the sky is a gorgeous shade of blue, the fields are all golden, and I'm catching a second wind. 

It's time to ramp up the Little House on the Prairie-style food preservation. No pigs will be slaughtered, however, even if it did seem beyond awesome that one time when Pa filled the pig's bladder with air and tied it shut with a string so that Mary and Laura could bat it around the yard. Good times . . .

I've canned peaches, pears, peach jam, blackberry jam, and some plum jelly that I will be throwing out. A bunch of sad little ears of corn from my garden are on the kitchen counter to be cooked, de-kerneled, and frozen. Still to come are canned apples, apple pie filling, and a 4th attempt at plum jelly and maybe jam. (This is provided that I can break my current Streak of Fail where plums are concerned. Turns out that if you discover plums growing on a tree next to your garage, you should maybe wait until they are actually for rillz ripe before trying to make things out of them. Otherwise whatever you end up with will taste not so much like delicious jewel-colored plum jelly I remember from my childhood but more like cranberry sauce by way of a dog's anus.)

On Saturday I'm going to go pick more blackberries with a friend because I need more. When I made the first batch of blackberry jam a few weeks ago I decided to be all health-conscious and go with a low-sugar recipe. It tasted perfectly fine. Only then for the second batch I used the regular amount of sugar and oh Holy Wet-shirted Colin Firth on a Horse was that stuff amazing. My knees buckled right there in the kitchen and I gave several jars away to loved ones so that they too could have Colin Firth hallucinations and now I'm almost out. The low-sugar stuff will be going to diabetics or something because there's no way I am ever be touching it again, ever. 

For today, there are ten pounds of (ripe) plums on my kitchen counter that are just itching to become part of something greater than themselves. I think this cake might be a good start:

can you see the dimples?
Smitten Kitchen's Dimply Plum Cake (image from her site)

Does anyone else have any end-of-summer plans or accomplishments to brag about?

Update: Turns out I'm not the only person who remembers about the pig bladder. This article over at Jezebel is five years old and still awesome. 


Anonymous said... [reply]

<3 that cake. Also a huge fan of this recipe for using up excess plums- http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/plum-raspberry-crumble-recipe/index.html

springrose said... [reply]

I might have to steal that line about Colin Firth in a wet shirt on a horse!!! Haha

Stacy Averett said... [reply]

I believe that bladder came from the same pig that Ma made head cheese from. It's funny how normal that seemed to me when reading the book as a child. I have since come to appreciate just how tough Ma was.

Desmama said... [reply]

Meant to call you. Picked up ClearJel at Kitchen Kneads today. So don't buy any. I'll bring it by when I drop off the pears tomorrow.

Unknown said... [reply]

THIS was a great blog post, even though you used the word "anus", I forgive you. Such a funny girl.

jeri said... [reply]

You could always melt your health jam down, add some more sugar, boil for a minute or two and jar it again. You know, if you were going for the Colin Firth affect on ALL your jam instead of just some.

emandtrev said... [reply]

I think you need to hook a girl up with what you do for the blackberry jam. Yum!

I've frozen a lot of corn and peppers, and made strawberry jam. I'd like to can peaches sometime, but I am seriously intimidated. What is my problem? Maybe you and Desmama can give me a tutorial someday.

I have plans (hopefully) to make salsa this weekend. My SIL has a great recipe and I don't think I can mess that one up too much. :)

Oh! Sorry. Yet another long comment. I have a lovely little recipe for Texas chocolate zucchini cake. It is awesome. Maybe not the healthiest use of the veggie, but so delicious. And it uses a pretty good sized zucchini (two or three cups shredded, if memory serves correctly). Yeah!

Lady J said... [reply]

yes - courgettes (as they are correctly called!) make great chocolate cake - also courgette and tomato soup or churney or quiche, or roast them tossed in oil and herbs and seasoning with other vegetables.
Want some recipes?

Lady J said... [reply]

oops - that should have said chutney, not churney

MBC said... [reply]

My husband gets all the bragging rights this season, but I will brag for him and pretend that I helped (although mostly I did not). He canned green and yellow beans, peaches, pears, tomato salsa and tomatillo salsa, tomatillos, strawberry jam, black currant conserve, rhubarb and pear concentrate, blueberries, and apple syrup. Tomorrow he's doing tomatoes. He's also done black beans and taco meat. I think that he would really like us to eat entirely from bottles in the winter.

I just noticed the ClearJel comment from Desmama. Steve is having a very passionate love affair with ClearJel this year. He used it to do our jam and to can peach pie filling and to whip up homemade pudding. He is absolutely evangelical about it, but I find it a bit unholy.

Anna B said... [reply]

thank you, oh thank you for posting the link to that article!! it made me laugh so hard. oh, your blog is great.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Anon, thanks for the crumble recipe! I did make the dimply cake but my 60-yr-old oven overcooked it. Ruuuude.

Springrose, steal away! I am most flattered. :-)

Stacy, YEAH. Ma and Pa were kind of total bad-As.

Desmama, thanks!

Mom, I threw the anus in just for you. You are welcome.

Jeri, you are an angel genius. Am off to go add sugar to all foods that need it!

Emandtrev, this pepper freezing intrigues me--I know nothing of it! What do you do? What kind of peppers? How do you use them later?

It's Lady J!!!! Hi! I would love your courgette (heh) recipes.

MBC, just reading about the things Steve gets up to on your blog makes me tired. I am in awe.

Anna B, I'm glad you liked the article! And I'm glad you didn't come back here and chew me out when you hit the f-word I forgot to warn people about . . . (but really, that Mary? Totally true, sometimes. She even admits it later!)

Cailin said... [reply]

Ha! I am a long time lurker and while I've loved lots of your posts, I just had to comment on is one for the LHOTP reference. I just finished reading "The Wilder Life" by Wendy McClure and it was fantastic. Apparently there are a lot of us Little House lovers out there :)

Lady J said... [reply]

Nem - can you email your current email address for the recipes - they are scanned so not sure i can put them on here, and I don't think the email address I have for you is up to date.

Lady J said... [reply]

or I could give them to you - I'm coming to conference!

AmandaStretch said... [reply]

My accomplishments this summer pretty much revolve around falling in love and getting engaged! Wheeee! We're getting married in L*gan this December. To relate it to your post, this means I get to move out of my efficiency into an apartment with a real kitchen! No more two burner stove tops and toaster ovens for me!

Mrs. Clark said... [reply]

I achieved a bucket list item this past spring when I went to a maple sugar camp and watched the sap boiling and saw the trees being tapped. Wanted to do this since I read Little House in the Big Woods. Awesome.

The Atomic Mom said... [reply]

I always add a bit of lemon juice and zest when making blackberry jam ... makes it even more Colin Firthy...just sayin'

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