Monday, October 04, 2010

Tired but got things done

When I wasn't home from work until nearly eight I really wasn't sure that I wouldn't just collapse on the couch for a while before crawling off to bed.  But I put some water into the canner and switched on the cooker before I sat down and watched one episode of mad mean online while eating my dinner.  So then I had to get up and start doing.  I washed the last of the dishes from yesterday evening and this morning (and just realised I didn't take my flask out of my bag so did miss something after all).  Topped and tailed beans and packed them into jars.  I thought I would have five or six jars so used three-quarter litre jars to make sure I would have enough space in the water bath.  And ended up with two jars full.  Typical.  I could have filled another one but I decided to keep the older, bigger beans out to use tomorrow.  Hardly worth getting the big canner out for but I still haven't gotten all the burnt bits off the bottom of the stockpot so it's all or nothing. 

Added some garlic and dill seeds and made a brine using a mix of white wine vinegar and ordinary table vinegar with water and salt.  I also added the cayenne pepper to the brine after it had boiled in an attempt to have it dissolved into the liquid a bit better.  It worked but not all that well.  Maybe cayenne pepper just doesn't really dissolve.  Of course there wasn't enough so I had to scramble to make some more quickly to top up one of the jars. 

When that went into the cooker I washed up what dishes I had used and wiped down the table and then starting peeling and chopping windfall apples from the biogarten.  They're in the dryer now and I'm about to sit down with some tea and toast and a slice of cake.  I am tired so it will be bed soon after that for me.

I ate some of the grapes today that I got in the garden on Saturday.  Wow.  Such sweet and incredibly juicy grapes.  I haven't bought grapes for a long time as they're not really produced in large quantities around here (and definitely never saw local grapes for sale in Ireland) and this is my first time eating such fresh ones.  They did remind me why I hated grapes as a kid - not because of the taste but because of the pips.  Luckily as an adult I seem to be able to get over that in order to appreciate the flavour.  It just goes to show though how used we become to things being a certain way.  When I was a kid grapes came with pips in them and that was that.  Then in my late teens seedless grapes became very popular or else you bought grapes that were very big and firm and very easy to pull apart to get at the seed before you eat it.  But these small purple grapes I had today are too delicate for that kind of manhandling.  And despite their small size some of them had two or three seeds in them.  But although it seemed like a bit harder work to eat them, they were definitely worth it. 

I think grapes will have to be on my list of things to grow when I have my own space someday.  Mark Diacono has the right idea, I think.  I'll be posting up a review of his new book, A Taste of the Unexpected very soon. 


Mags said...

Biogarten - is that allotments? Would love to hear more about how this works in Germany. Also, you mention your 'canner' and pressing apples for juice - have you much specialist equipment for home preserving? Enjoy dipping into your blog. Kind Regards, Mags

Moonwaves said...

Anything 'bio' in German is organic. The biogarten is an organic garden run by the local community college. Well, in name it is but they don't really get involved much beyond paying the gardener and taking registrations for courses I think.

There is on full-time gardener and otherwise the work is done by a team of volunteers working on Tuesday afternoons and Saturday mornings. In return, we usually get to take something home if anything has been harvested that day.

As far as equipment goes, I don't have a huge amount. I got a water bath canner on ebay, bought a jar lifter as well last winter which is a huge help and that's about it. I'll try and take some pictures soon and do a proper post. Thanks for commenting.