Since doing my major pantry purge, I've been adding back to the emptied shelves over the past few days. On Thursday, I picked up some extremely fresh and sweet corn, bought a Hmong farmer out of his stash of broccoli, and found teeny pickling cucumbers from another favorite farmer. I also bought a bucket of three-inch cukes to make into more pickles. Combine that with a harvest of spinach and swiss chard from the home gardens, and you've got yourself some serious food processing to get on with.
Yesterday, I spent the day blanching veggies for the freezer: broccoli florets, chard and spinach were all boiled briefly and then then plonked into an ice bath to cool down, before being tucked into freezer bags and parked in the upright freezer for storage. After all that was done, I cut the kernels off two dozen ears of fresh sweet corn. I picked up a corn cutter, but it had terrible directions and I lost my patience with it, so I went back to my method of using a sharp knife to cut the kernels off. If I had watched this video, my corn cutting experience would have gone so much better:
After my corn cutting fiasco, I spent the afternoon processing the corn in the pressure canner. I could have frozen it, I suppose, but I prefer canned corn (like I prefer canned beans and canned peas) so pressure canning it was. I also can in half-pints, which works for my household of one. Its enough veg for a side dish for me, and if I have guests, I just open up a couple of cans. Tah dah.
Today, I'm working on pickles. I started a batch of Sweet Gherkins, which are a fermented pickle taking three to four days to make. It's pretty simple, but you do need to pay attention to when to change out the brine and add various ingredients. Other than that, they sit in a jar in the cool spot of the kitchen and do their fermentalicious thing. (I got the recipe from the Ball Complete Book of Home Canning.) And, I have a second batch of pickles that should be ready to process this afternoon. I'm trying limed pickles, following the recipe on the back of the Mrs. Wage's Pickling Lime package. I've heard that lime keeps the pickles very crisp, and I've never tried this technique so I figured what the heck and decided to give it a whirl. I actually picked up the lime as part of a homemade tortilla making process (more on that later), but since I had gotten some pickling cukes at the market, I decided to give it a chance. I've got another hours until the pickles, which soaked for 24 hours in the lime bath, are ready for processing. Don't worry, I rinsed and rinsed and rinsed, so I don't think I'll poison myself with the final product.
I'm glad this weekend has been fairly cool. Canning is hot and humid work!