I Can Can. Can You?

You know all those veggies in the previous post? Well they have to go somewhere, right? Mostly, they’re going to my stomach, which is super happy about that, but one person can only eat so many veggies…

Besides being frozen, dehydrated, put in recipes, given to the dog as treats, and given away, I have taught myself (with much help from others and from a step-by-step book) the art of canning.

My Mom and I actually went in on this project together. We acquired all of the supplies (minus a pressure cooker) and the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving. I read and learned…and then still asked for help because I am a disaster in the kitchen when it comes to cooking or preparing food at all.

For our first trick, we turned cucumbers into dill pickles. This actually was not that difficult to do. We went with a kosher pickle recipe and added a few things to it. All the ingredients, minus the spices, were from local farmer’s markets. The cucumbers were from my own garden.

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Washing off the cucumbers

Scruba, scruba, scruba

Scruba, scruba, scruba

Fresh dill from the farmer's market

Fresh dill from the farmer’s market

Garlic, bay leaf, 1/2 serrano pepper, and spices into each pickle jar

Garlic, bay leaf, 1/2 serrano pepper, and spices into each pickle jar

Klondike helped

Klondike helped

Heating jars, lids, ingredients

Heating jars, lids, ingredients

In they go

In they go

The final product

The final product

Mmmmm pickles

Mmmmm pickles

We ended up making 8 pints of pickles, which will be ready to open NEXT WEEK!!! I’m very excited to try them and see how they turn out!

In a frenzy of pickling excitement, we also made zucchini relish!! All of the zucchinis were from my garden.

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Chopped bell peppers, onion, and shredded zucchini

The spices

The spices

Ingredients

Ingredients

Toss everything in together

Toss everything in together

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Simmer

Can it! And there you have it: Zucchini relish

Can it! And there you have it: Zucchini relish

End of Summer BBQ anyone??

Canning is actually easier than I thought it would be….but I also haven’t done anything extremely difficult. I can still cross this off of my Summer Bucket List as my new learned skill.

*Pats self on back*

 

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Garden To Table Goodness

I have been meaning to follow up with the Let Your Garden Grow post for a while now. Veggies are happening!! So SO many veggies. I’ve actually considered opening an zucchini stand next to the neighborhood kids’ lemonade stand….but I don’t want to steal their thunder. Although the garden has had some ups and downs, as expected, it is flourishing for the most part.

There are a few lessons I have learned along the way that only a plant could teach me (and Google when the plant won’t divulge).

  • Patience is a virtue – anyone who knows me knows that I am not necessarily the most patient person. (Those of you thinking “understatement of the century” just hush)
  • Don’t cast off something as dead, even though it may look it. My tomato plant has looked AWFUL for the past month, but still keeps giving me yellow pear tomatoes. In return, I’ll keep watering it as its reward.
  • Never trust an automated watering system. The zucchini are wilting due to lack of water. The cucumbers are sickly due to too much water. The green beans are exploding due to the right amount of water. It’s like Goldilocks, but with plants and water. Yeah, ok, that was a stretch.
  • Do NOT plant Fall veggies in the Summer. They will not do well. RIP arugula. (On the other hand, my kale and spinach are rocking it!)
  • If your neighboring community garden beds are full of rotting veggies due to lack of picking, it’s a free for all. It drives me nuts that people decide to plant and grow all this food and then let it go to waste. That’s where I come in to happily harvest those veggies for them, and either take them home, to my restaurant for use, or to the Food Bank. There are too many people who do not have food to let all of that go to waste. *Soapbox moment of the day brought to you by neglectful, lazy plant parents*
  • Carrots are deceiving. They may look ready to pick, but the joke’s on you when you pull up a tiny root instead. This goes for turnips and radishes as well. Sneaky bastards.
  • Vine plants will choke out anything else around them. Beware.
  • I LOVE the feeling of picking my dinner, or lunch, or what have you. I have a hate-hate relationship with the grocery store. Going out to the garden or out my front door to pick fresh ingredients beats it all. It’s such a good feeling to know what you’re eating, how it was grown, and where exactly it’s coming from. For me, that’s exciting.
  • I’m proud of this first garden attempt. It has gone well for the most part and has been overwhelmingly rewarding.

Here are a few things I have harvested:

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Green beans, zucchini, yellow squash, peppers, wax beans, tomatoes of all shapes and sizes, cucumbers, eggplant, turnips, carrots, snap peas, green onion, broccoli, spinach, kale, lettuce, and radishes.

My kind of ‘grocery shopping.’

Being Me.

This last month forcefully threw me in a centrifuge, separated my realities, tossed me on my ass butt, and demanded I take a strong, hard look at life and what I want out of it, and what I already have. I wasn’t quite ready for that, but the forces of life and fate deemed it so -and there’s really no arguing with them-. After taking time to ponder, I realized that my two realities (past and present) have quite a disconnect that didn’t register for me until now. I am at peace with the direction I have decided to take my life; I have also had to remind myself who I am, and vow to stay true to that. It’s funny how life events and people can subconsciously persuade you to veer from what you originally wanted out of life; I am more aware now of who I am than I was before. I guess I can only thank fate, life, and the additional underlying persuaders for that.

Motivational-Quote

This, this is what I know now:

  • I am tired of being told how I will feel about something, specifically a major life change. Let me be the decision maker in that sense. If you were right, keep the I told you so’s to yourself. I can make my own decisions, thank you very much.
  • I know myself WAY better than anyone else knows me.
  • Love can be the most wonderful feeling in the world, and the most painful at the same time.
  • ‘Friends’ are easy to find. Sincere, true friends are diamonds in the rough. They will have your back and catch you when you fall with unwavering loyalty. Don’t let these people go.
  • My dog is freaking awesome.
  • I am smart, driven, and know what I want. I’m not afraid to go after it and am taking the first steps to do so.
  • Expect the unexpected.
  • Family is crazy. But crazy in a good way. They are my rock.
  • It’s time to experience new places and expand my life bubble and what I know.
  • Excuse makers will always be excuse makers, no matter how much wishful thinking goes in to it.
  • I am stronger than I remembered.
  • Emotions are a privilege. We as humans are granted the gift of feeling, and whether it’s happy or sad, it’s a beautiful thing.
  • Time heals.
  • I have accepted my imperfections. Whether others do or not is of no consequence to me.
  • And finally:

buddha

Here’s to letting go and moving on. Here’s to being Me.