Filling the freezer

Sunshine killed a deer last week. Then, Mr B killed a deer too. We’ve left these deer in coolers, packed in ice, for days. As the ice Clow lyrics melts, we drain the water off and add more ice.

Yesterday, Sunshine and Biff butchered the one Sunshine killed. Today, they are dealing with the one Mr B killed. 

I’m lying on the couch feeling like shit. My neck hurts, and I’m just generally tired just like I’m generally tired every Monday. I’m kind of relieved that the boss is closing us down on Thursday and Friday.  I can spend the week crocheting Christmas gifts and shit.

I have been poking my nose into the butchering process and helped a little bit here and there. 

I cleaned out the freezer to make sure the new stuff wound up on bottom, and I got rid of some freezer burned squirrels I found lurking in there. I organized it so that the meat we will be cooking for miss Mollie was in a separate location. We set aside quite a bit of the stuff we would normally grind up as ground venison, and we cook it up for Mollie.

I also can’t help but be proud of how well miss Mollie has kept all the cats and dogs away from the area.

I’ll just be glad when the house is finished so we have and proper workspace for this kind of thing.

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Eureka!

Houston, we might have lift-off!

When I made the last batch of vanilla cantaloupe jam, I had about 4 ounces of product left in the pot; not enough for a half pint jar but too much to wash down the drain. So I stuck it in a half pint jar and set it aside to cool.

It seemed to have set, so I stuck it in the fridge for consumption some time soon.

The few full jars I made? Seem to have set too! I can actually call this stuff jam! I think I’ll only ever use the pectin for sugar-free jams from now on, since it’s been far more successful than the liquid pectin I had been using.

I have one cantaloupe left, which should yield another 3 to 4 pints if I can work up the motivation to actually DO it. And, as Shakespeare said, “there’s the rub”…

I have GOT to give my body some time to heal. My hip and lower back are not happy with me (fucking pumpkin and firewood season at work), so I really need to be burrowed in on the couch crocheting Christmas gifts. When my hands start tingling and cramping, I switch to a book for a while and so on and so forth.

Now, I’m off to put on actual clothes and burrow into the couch with some crochet and books and shit.

One more time

Im giving the vanilla cantaloupe jam another try. I made some pear jam with pectin for sugar free jams and it set really well, so when the boss got some pretty good cantaloupes in the shop I decided I’d try again with the sugar free pectin.

I’ve just finished cutting up a couple of cantaloupes and am resting my back and hip for a few moments before I get trapped over a hot pot of cantaloupe and sugar.

I sincerely hope that this is the last time I have to can anything in this ridiculous little kitchen.

Get your shit together, Cindy

I’m sitting here looking at all this yarn that needs to be crocheted into coffee cup sleeves for the food truck coffee bar next door to my work. The owner took some on consignment from me a couple of weeks ago and was almost out last weekend when I left work. 

Then there’s the yarn meant for the Christmas if tsunami I need to start crocheting.

Underneath almost hat fucking yarn is a half a case of starkrimson pears that need to be turned into jam or some such. 

Underneath the pears is a tub full of bottled, sparkling,  flavored water that needs to be added to the refrigerator. Or something. 

Beneath the galvanized tub of water is the sugar I need to make jam out of the pears. There’s also a stack of books to be read.

Next door to that bin of sugar and pile of books is my fall decoration display.  What the fuck I’m doing with a fall display IN A FUCKING RV is beyond my comprehension. 

With all this stuff on my to-do list, what am I sitting here contemplating? 

A fucking closet purge.

Somebody send professional help, because I probably need an intervention. 

Monumental peach jam?

My boss dropped over a bushel of peaches on me yesterday. The texture was off on them, so he asked me if I’d want to try to make anything out of them.

I had to send out a call for help, because there was no way they’d survive the day in my truck in the Texas heat, so I radio’d Mr B.  His sister lives near my work, so she agreed to put them in her very well air-conditioned house until I headed home.

Sunshine just shook his head as he helped me get them in the house.

I don’t blame him.

This morning,  I’ve been getting my shit together to do something with all of these peaches.

I’ve got plans for some peach syrup, some vanilla peach jam, and possibly some canned peaches.

Mr B was gracious enough to come help me get the peaches peeled and sliced.

We got through about half of them before we started running out of containers and counter space. I need a real kitchen desperately! 

I’m now in the early stages of making syrup. After that, jam. Then canned peaches, if I have the energy. I do have a full day of work tomorrow,  after all is said and done today. 

I’m keeping usable food out of the landfill, and I’m using all parts of the peaches. The skins and pits are being used to make the peach syrup.  The small bits and mushy bits are going into the jam. The firm bits will be canned. If I have the energy, that is. This is a lot of fucking peaches. When I’m done for the day, everything unused (or left over) will go into our compost heap.

It’s going to be a long day. Wish me luck!

Freeganism

One of the perks of my job is the backdoor fruit. One of the perks of living in the buttfuck middle of nowhere is that everybody plants too much shit and we start giving bags and bags of peppers away to random strangers we meet at fourth of July BBQs.

side note: yes, that actually happened. Someone we met at a fourth of July BBQ totally gave us three overstuffed, double bagged plastic sacks filled with various types of peppers. Green bell peppers, jalapenos, and hot banana peppers.

Recently, the boss gave me a quarter bushel of pickling cucumbers and almost an entire bushel of spaghetti squash. There were also some tomatoes and fruits that went out the backdoor over the last week or so.

We also have a pear tree in our backyard and Sunshine recently picked some pears off of it for me because I love pears.

That’s a lot of freegan food to figure out what to do with. I sent my girl Tia a panicked text asking her to please help me figure out how on earth to preserve a bushel of spaghetti squashes. That woman is a fucking wizard at finding simple solutions to my random and complicated problems.

So, on Sunday, while I was sweating my ass off trying to keep the shelves stocked on a mad busy day at the produce stand, Sunshine started baking the spaghetti squashes so we could freeze them. I finished the job on Monday in between rounds of canning.

The bell peppers and spaghetti squash got frozen.

The jalapenos and banana peppers got canned.

The fruit I brought home from work wound up getting combined with the tomatoes in a summer salsa recipe I found in one of my Ball guides to preserving food. I was highly amused that there was a recipe that dealt with a significant portion of the random foods I brought home from work. There is a salsa that has pears, peaches, tomatoes, and peppers.

The rest of the tomatoes got diced and canned. The pickling cucumbers got made into Cajun dill pickles.

freegan cucumbers and tomatoes

Slowly but surely, we are filling up those shelves in the community pantry.

final note: I’m a bit nervous about using that pressure canner. I’ll be spending the next few days doing some research on the damned thing so I don’t blow myself to smithereens. Then, hopefully, we can harvest enough of those ridiculous yard long green beans to put that canner to work.