Thursday, September 03, 2009

i go all 'suzy homemaker'....

There's something about late Summer/early Fall that puts thoughts of mason jars and snap lids into my head. I want to make jellies and jams and pickle everything....don't ask me why...it's not like my mother ever did anything like that, and she certainly didn't teach me to do any of that....and preserving things really isn't that big of a necessity for us modern gals....it's not like I'm living in some sod house in the middle of the open prairie where we won't see fresh fruit and vegetables for six months.

No, today it's more of a kitschy, urban thing to do. Years ago, never mind how many exactly, my friend and I decided we were going to pickle garlic....don't screw your face up, it's good! And make Jalapeno Jelly....again with the screwy face....it's so yummy, and has just the right kick. We spent many an hour joking, laughing, telling stories and secrets while peeling garlic cloves and stinking up her kitchen....good times, good memories.

This year while mulling over just what I wanted to make, I indulged in my favourite guilty pleasure; making dishcloths.


This is the Linoleum Dishcloth, from the Mason Dixon Knitting blog. Fun to knit and pretty easy to memorize the pattern...I love the designs and it produces a thicker-than-normal dishcloth, which is great for scrubbing grimy dishes.

I decided to do both. Pickled Garlic...really it's good...when we started making it eons ago, people thought we were nuts....now you have to pay big dollars for a tiny jar in the gourmet places....apparently we were far ahead of our time. And Jalapeno Jelly....it's heaven.



We found the recipes for both online....but I noticed I couldn't find them when I searched for them....so I will repost them here, for anyone brave enough to try something different. First the garlic. You can use this in your cooking like regular fresh garlic, or eat them like pickles...which is what I do, and I've never been told I reek of garlic, but if I had I wouldn't care...it's just too good!



Pickled Garlic
Place peeled garlic cloves into washed 125 ml/half pint jars. (Usually takes around 3 bulbs of garlic per jar) fill each jar with vinegar. Into each jar add:
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Teaspoon salt (pickling/coarse salt preferred)
1/4 Teaspoon each of basil and oregano
Pour contents of each jar into large saucepan. Add 1/3 Cup additional vinegar. Bring to a boil and boil 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat. Fill jars with garlic and vinegar mixture. Add a pinch of crushed red peppers to each jar before sealing for an extra-spicy touch.
Process in canner/boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
I usually leave the garlic for two weeks before opening, to give the flavours time to get to know eachother!

**It's very important to follow proper canning procedures like sterilizing your jars, lids, rings and processing your canned goods for the required amount of time to avoid spoilage and bacteria.


A word about the "blues".....garlic contains phenol, which is this fancy-schmancy chemical...love my techincal jargon? Anyway, sometimes the vinegar makes the phenol in the garlic react and turn it blue....if you peek closely you can spy a couple bluish cloves up there....it looks weird, but it is totally safe to eat and doesn't affect the taste at all. There are all kinds of remedies people have come up with to keep your garlic from getting the blues, so just do a search and you will be reading for hours.

If any of you make the garlic, please let me know how your batch turns out! I'd love to hear your input. I will post the recipe for the Jalapeno Jelly next time.

Another word of advice....to get the smell of garlic (or onions, for that matter) off your hands, there are a few tried and tested ways thought up by our "Suzy Homemaker" ancestors...you can take a stainless steel knife (a dull one) and rub it over your hands under cool running water, you can also try rubbing either mustard powder or coarse salt on your hands and then rinsing them in cool water...these do the trick every time!

If you would like to make the kitschy linoleum dishcloth, you can find it here

4 comments:

Wanderingcatstudio said...

My mom used to make pickles all the time.. she still makes jam... and I'm totally spoiled. I can't eat store bought jam. Last summer I had her make me a whole case of strawberry jam.... but I guess one of these days I should really tackle it on my own

Sharon said...

Ohhh that looks so good! I love me some garlic. I don't do canning but will direct my readers to your recipe. And I'll encourage my intrepid home canning friends to put up a jar for me!

Alida said...

I have never tried making pickles... I do jams and apple butter though!

I love those dishcloths!!

Vik said...

I like your Linoleum Dishclothes very much and the colors you chose Kiki. I made them in Summer colors last year. How fun they were to knit - great pattern!