three types of crab

September 25, 2010

When I told my mom the other day that I was going to make crab apple jelly, her response was that I could make crab apple syrup by stirring my finger around in sugar water. Hrmph!

I went out and picked some crab apples anyways (with my friend Ayni!), and we brought them home, peeled them, and processed them for jelly. We were debating quite a bit as to whether we should make jam or jelly, or butter, or sauce. I am not too much fan of jelly, as I like the fruit in the product. Most of the recipes that I saw for crab apples however were for jelly, so I decided at least once I would have to make it.

We picked a lot of apples, and had quite a pot of juice after straining the fruit. I split up the juice and sugar into three pots, and added some thyme to one, some rosemary to the second pot, and left the third one plain. Then I set out to boil the liquid (sugar, herbs, and fruit) until the fruit set. I boiled the plain version way too long, and the resulting jelly was rather clumpy.

The thyme jelly was boiled a little bit less (but still too much) and wast moderately clumpy. The rosemary was boiled just right, resluting in a firm-ish looking jelly, with a bit of jiggle to it.

Also, I squeezed the juice bag as I was extracting the juice (NOT RECOMMENDED for state fair competition jellies) so my jelly is cloudy. But I didn’t have to wait for 8-12 hours for all the juice to slowly drip out…

These jars of jam are intended for use with my dad’s savory herb cheese biscuits. I am imagining a layer of butter, and then a thin spread of herbed crab apple jelly!

new red mittens

September 20, 2010

Today was cold and rainy. I ended up spending most of the day outside in a barn playing fiddle tunes, which suited me perfectly. I also finished a new pair of mittens (in the car on the way to the barn). Funny that it is cold enough to start thinking about keeping hands warm..

Last week we got a shipment of wool and patterns from Classic Elite Yarns. I made a pair of mittens using princess yarn (wool, microfiber, and cashmere) and a pattern by Jared Flood. I did end up modifying the tips of the mittens. When I followed the pattern they ended up a little bit shorter than I wanted, so I added an extra repeat, and changed the tops so that the decreases weren’t so abrupt.

The pattern was fun to knit up, a lot of twisted stitches, and little cables on the cuff created a nice sideways rib. The sideways rib also ended up being functional, and the cuff hugs the wrist quite well. The thumbs were also a little short, and so I just added a few more rows to fit. The nice thing about mittens, is that you can just try them on and adjust the pattern a little so that the fit comes out well. All you have to do is remember what you did on the first mitten so that you can repeat it for the second mitten…

I wait until it rains to pull the carrots in my garden. For some reason the soil is really hard, and it is nearly impossible to pull carrots out of the dry soil.

I was able to pull a bunch of carrots, purple and orange, and I mixed them with some diakon radish, rice vinegar, salt, sugar and minced pepper to make a quick pickle. I loosely adapted the recipe from The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich.

I chopped the vegetables into little strips and set them aside in a bowl.

Meanwhile, I chopped up several red chiles and mixed them with rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. I heated the mixture to melt the sugar, and let it cool before pouring over the veggies. Which I then stuck in a jar in the fridge. They will last up to a week, but are better eaten sooner! I am sure that will be no problem.