Saturday, July 17, 2010

Blueberries and Sweet Relish

I knew what I didn't want to do today was be out running errands all day in it. We had one optional swim meet on the calendar and a Shakespeare rehearsal and that was it. I decided against the swim meet in favor of sleeping in, since occasionally when Chris is out of town I just can't get to sleep. He came home Friday night, and in spite the heat, I fell asleep just fine, and slept till 10:00 am. When I finally got up, I checked on some pickling cucumbers I'd picked earlier, and decided they were still fresh enough to work with. I also wanted to get some blueberries canned into jam. Also, the sister missionaries were coming for dinner and I had promised Ben quiche. So I made a grocery list consisting mostly of dish detergent and stuff for pickling, and after a few false starts, finally got out of the house a little after noon. We dropped Max at the art gallery where they rehearse, and went to Wegman's. After some discussion, we settled on corn on the cob and red potatoes to go with the quiche.

When we got back home, Chris was the first to the door, and he was greeted by an overzealous paper wasp, who won the battle (Chris's middle finger swelling to three times its natural size), but lost the war (Chris googled how to get rid of wasps and took out the fledging nest a little after dark). I started on my various cooking and canning projects, while Chris went out to get Max from practice and whatever that huge spray bottle was that he used on the nests. Around 4pm he passed out on the couch (a combination of the benedryl I'd given him and a very long week behind him) and I started to focus more seriously on dinner.

By 6pm, the missionaries had arrived, and with the help of the boys, we were ready. The quiche was perfect, the potatoes perfect, the corn was boiling, the table set. We prayed, we ate, we had a great time. Then Chris and the missionaries met (he's ward missionary leader right now) and I made us all blueberry cobbler. It turned out great, but not before dropping big globs on the floor of the oven. I'd like to use the self-cleaning feature of the oven, but really--can I stand a 500 degree oven for a few hours in this heat? I don't honestly know if I can.

When the cobbler was done, I did the fastest batch of blueberry jam ever--mostly because I did all the prep before I'd started on dinner. Then we played a quick game of Apples-to-Apples, calling it Family Home Evening. At this point we said goodnight to the Missionaries.

Now it was 9:00 pm and I had to decide if I could really do a batch of relish before bedtime. I decided I could if I used the food processesor. When you do sweet pickle relish, you basically dice onions, pickling cucumbers, and sweet peppers. Then you toss them in a big bowl, sprinkle with salt, and cover in cold water. Then you let it sit for two hours. So here I am at 11:30, watching the minutes tick off the clock. Everyone else fell asleep awhile ago (well, except Milo who had trouble sleeping till I sat by him and gently rubbed his back for a couple of minutes). Actually, I'm not really watching the minutes tick off the clock. I'm feeling pretty good about getting 11 jars of 12-oz blueberry jam done and being about an hour away from having a double batch of sweet pickle relish processing. The jars are simmering on the stove. I just need the relish to finish doing whatever it is doing in the brine.

I'm hoping tomorrow evening to get a batch of dill pickles done in quart jars. I haven't ever done dill pickles before, and I'm not sure how many I'll do in the end, but I think it'll be a few more weeks before the cucumber vines stop producing, so I'll give it a shot. I think I picked about three or four quarts worth today, and I've got plenty of vinegar, so why not?

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