Friday, April 23, 2010

Can Jam, Herbs.....

Ok, I'm posting this, which means DD didn't like what she canned.

 When we first read that it was herbs there was some confusion and consternation concerning this confounding canning conundrum (OK, I was reaching a little on the alliteration). We thought of a couple things that we make for recipes, an apple thyme jam was suggested many times and we almost went that direction.

But, there was a substance that I have always craved from my childhood that DD decided to attempt to replicate. I have no idea if this is what I had as a kid, but it rocks.....Dilly Beans!

Pretty cool stuff.

You go and buy some beans, then you open up your Ball Blue Book 2008 to page 54 and do what it tells you.

2 lbs Green Beans
1/4 cup canning salt
21/2 cups vinegar
21/2 cups water
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 cloves garlic
4 heads dill

Trim ends off green beans. Combine salt, vinegar and water in a large sauce pot. Bring to a boil. Pack beans lengthwise into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 clove garlic and 1 head dill to each pint jar. Add 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 2 cloves garlic and two heads dill to each quart jar. LAdle hot liquid over beans, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two piece caps. Process pints and quarts 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

I really really like dilly beans, and I really like the kick the cayenne gives it.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Garden!!!

DD is doing a raised bed garden this year. Our dirt is crap, nothing has done well the last couple years.

So, I got her some horse poop, and peat, and vermiculite... and a pulled groin later we had a raised bed garden.

In square foot gardening by some magic method you are able to put a million or so plants in each square foot. In some of the squares there are upwards of a couple dozen things growing. 24 carrots, 24 radishes... I have no idea how that works.

The cages are for peas and tomatoes, we can't plant the maters outside yet since we live in some of the most random weather in the US. Edit: Ok, peas and cucumbers, not tomatoes.

I put the string in, and she puts the plants in. And then the plants come up. The close up is Asian radish things. The site she gets a lot from is

I'm looking forward to more things like what we made for the can jam, which I'll talk about tomorrow.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


We are driving home from vacation right now.  I have had the most relaxing time.  We stayed with Woodman's Nana and Papa J.  They live just west of Washington DC in a little piece of heaven.  Their farm is very off the beaten path and they are the most wonderful host and hostess ever.  I feel as if I have just been to a bed and breakfast where my every need was attended to.  It isn't that they necessarily wait on you, they just make you feel so welcome and relaxed.  We did make a trip into our nation's capitol for a peek at the cherry blossoms (beautiful) and a couple museums.  We really had a great time and I am coming back refreshed. 

Of course spring is in full bloom there so I played outside quite a bit and brought home some wild onions and a few starts of a willow tree.  I am so excited to get started on my garden. 

Woodman and I had some discussion about why we (or more specifically I) are drawn to the locavore movement.  After discussion with Nana about the savings to the environment due to reduced transportation, helping the local farmers and the whole "trendy" thing to do I find it is none of those for me.  I LOVE fresh produce whether it is a roadside stand, a local farmers market on Saturday or going in my or my dad's back yard I just can't stay away from produce or this time of year seeds or plants that produce produce.  Give me a grocery store with a good produce section or a store with a seed section and you've got me. 

My husband thinks it is a sickness.  I don't really care what it is and have no intention of changing it.  Oops gotta go, I see a farm stand coming up, maybe I can get Woodman to stop!