Monday, June 21, 2010

I've Decided...

I'm having a nervous breakdown. Seriously. Life just continues with its wacky loops. Eh. There is not enough wine in the world to help me cope. I've been living with random moments of panic, and then fleeting bits of contentment. Life is weird.


It's been a while since I've done anything even remotely crafty. Lack of mojo, I suppose, is the culprit. Since I've tossed most of my self made clothing into the "cut into scraps for a quilt" pile (that's what inevitably happens when you make stuff from quilting cotton), I've avoided my sewing room, only entering to iron various pieces of clothing and put food in my cat's bowl. So, it was time to "do something." Enter chutney.

Ever since I took that preserving class taught by Marisa McClellan, I've wanted to try to do some preserving on my own. Armed with the recipe from the class, I assembled all of the tools that I needed. Lest you think it is easy to come upon canning supplies in 2010, let me assure you that the opposite is the case.

First, I tried a trip to a local Walmart. I hate Walmart, but really, you would expect them to carry this sort of thing. They had nothing. I then tried a small, local hardware store. Apparently, small, local hardware stores aren't open on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. (This is why Home Depot and Lowes win...the convenience factor). Hence, I was forced to use Amazon to gather my tools: jar lifter, canning rack, lid magnet, wide mouth funnel. Despite having a Prime membership, FedEx decided to never deliver the order to me, and I was delayed an additional week while Amazon shipped replacement tools.

I then discover that the canning rack that I ordered is four inches bigger than my largest pot, so I was forced to buy a 20 quart stock pot. On Friday night, I made my husband schlep me around to three different stores to be sure I was getting "a deal." I refused to pay that much for a pot that I would use only a few times. In the end, I did spend more than I wanted to, and now I have a pot that is so large, I could cook myself in it.

Finally. I made a trip to the farmer's market on Saturday morning and grabbed some rhubarb and a few apples. I chopped, mixed, boiled, and voila. Chutney.



Lessons learned:

-20 quarts of water takes a LONG time to come to a rolling boil.
-Making chutney requires a lot of vinegar. The house will smell like vinegar for days after the chutney is done. It's actually kind of gross, and worries me for when I eventually make pickles.
-The canning rack that I bought on Amazon is a piece of crap, as it rusted immediately. WTF.

Next up in my preserving journey: a trip to Linvilla Orchards this Friday, picking some berries, and making some jam!

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