In Pursuit of Craftiness – Makin’ Pickles

Now that I have successfully made cherry jam and apple butter, I feel that I am ready to try my hand at dealing with some veggies.  I mean, if you don’t take into account the strawberry jam mishap (and we’re not going to), this is all going fantastically well!  I’m not particularly interested in buying a pressure cooker at this stage of my craftiness…I’m going to have to see if this continues to entertain me for a while before I invest that kind of money.  So, the clear answer is pickling!  My plan for tomorrow involves pickling my brains out. 😉  Check out these lovely victims:

Just waiting to be doused with brine and thrown in a vat of boiling water. *insert maniacal laughter here*

Yep, pickled okra, pickled garlic, and pickled, well, pickles (yes, I know they’re cucumbers) will begin happening right in my kitchen.  I’m so ridiculously excited!  It’s like waiting for Christmas, except I’m going to have to clean up a huge mess when it’s all over.  Wait, I guess that means it’s exactly like Christmas. 😉  I look forward to sharing the results….in picture form, of course….I won’t be mailing out jars of preserved goods to random strangers or anything. 

 
In other crafty news, I’ve started adding some of my knitting patterns to my Etsy shop.  Here is one of my most tried and true favorites that seems quite popular in other venues (Ravelry, mostly):
It’s a Scoodie! Half hood, half scarf…like a centaur-type-thing, but easier to wear.

I’m working on a new knitting pattern to add to the shop….I’ll be posting pictures of progress soon.

 
 

 

I Am A Domestic Genius! (I Made Apple Butter!)

Yep, I have actually created (from apples, mind you) apple butter!  Oh, the chopping, cooking, and canning that happened here yesterday.  It was amazing and fabulous.  Most amazing points of all???  It actually tastes delicious and wasn’t terribly difficult to do.  It’s such thrilling thing (in a goofy sort of way, I realize) to hear the lids on your jars go pop, pop, pop. 😀 

I’ll share the recipe for the apple butter right below the picture, but be warned…..this process took about 14 hours from start to finish.  (Not 14 hours of non-stop attention or anything, but it was a lengthy process.)  Apple butter doesn’t have to be “canned”….it can be stored in containers in the freezer, so don’t be thrown off by the canning bit.  If you go the freezer route, I would avoid glass jars….exploded apple butter goo sprayed throughout your freezer is probably not what you want to find next time you go for an ice cream sandwich.  I do not provide instructions for canning…..for that, check the internet, check out a book, or check with your grandma….there are tons of resources out there!

The end result? Eight little jars of yumminess.

What You Need:

  • 5 to 6 pounds of apples (I used 10 good-sized apples)
  • 4 cups of sugar (honestly, 3 cups would have probably done the trick….if you prefer things a bit less sweet, go with less than 4 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon (this is enough to make the whole house smell like red hots according to my husband)
  • 2 teaspoons of allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • a crock pot
  • various and assorted chopping equipment (peeler, knives, cutting board….those sorts of things)
  • a large bowl
  • a potato masher
  • a big spoon

What To Do:

  1. Peel your apples and chop them to bits.  (Pieces should be quite small, but not crushed to gooey mush.)  Put apples in a large bowl while you get the crock pot ready for them.
  2. Don’t turn on the crock pot yet!
  3. Put sugar, cinnamon, allspice, and salt in crock pot.  Stir until it looks like a lovely (and uniform) type of dirt.
  4. Add apples to crock pot and stir everything up.  (Gently or you’ll end up with sugary apples all about the place.)
  5. When everything’s nice and mixed up, turn the crock pot on high.
  6. Cook apples on high (covered!) for 1 hour.
  7. Reduce heat to low and let cook for 10 hours.  (Stir the apples every once in a while.  This is a great opportunity to “sample” your apple butter.  You know, to make sure it tastes okay.)
  8. Remove lid.  Cook for 1 more hour.
  9. Use a potato masher to gently mash up apples.  This will make the consistency and texture more pleasant.
  10. If you’re going the freezer route, put apple butter in appropriate containers.  If you’re going the canning route, follow all of your canning instructions and put in appropriate containers.