Saturday, October 25, 2008

really big pots and racks

so when i woke up this morning and went into the kitchen to make coffee, i lifted the lid off the apple butter. it had cooled off plenty and i decided to give it another taste. my suspicion last night was that it was a bit too sweet. well, not much you can do to take sweet out of something, and honestly, can a fruit topping be "too" sweet? but the verdict stands...too sweet.

i looked at the last ten big apples i had left from my jaunt to the apple festival last saturday and decided that the best way to solve this problem was to make another batch with less sugar and then mix the two when they are done. so the second batch is in the crock pot and i anticipate that the house will start smelling all apply here in another couple of hours.

i must say that i'm very proud of myself for conquering the Finger-Severing Santuko. for those of you who know my propensity with knives, i have finally learned how to wield the beast properly! i dont think i need to be afraid of it any more, though i still have a healthy respect for it.

now, about canning. i was planning on canning the apple butter today (before i decided to make a second batch). so while i was drinking my coffee, i pulled out the better homes and gardens new cookbook to read up on the process. i've not done it before, but how hard can it be?

the cookbook talked about filling the jars and putting them in a big pot with a rack in the bottom and boiling them. well, i have a big pot. i don't have a rack. how necessary is the rack? i thought to myself that my grandma probably didn't have a special pot with a special rack just for canning. so i pulled out my grandma's cookbook to see what i could find. the first "vintage" cookbook i checked has a copyright of 1953 and it said the same thing: use a canning pot and canning rack. moving on. next cookbook has a copyright of 1963 and it said to write the u.s. department of agriculture and get their "home and garden bulletin #8: home canning of fruits and vegetables" for only 20¢. *sigh*

i've been told that i'm ingenuitive so i headed back into the kitchen and pulled out my big pot. i usually use it for making soup. it's a big pot. makes a lot of soup. now, i just need to find a rack of sorts to sit the jars on, and it must fit inside the pot. my first idea was my steaming basket. it fit in the pot and it opened up, but it didn't open all the way so it wasn't flat. i decided it wouldn't work for boiling jars. and after looking through all of my gadgets, i realized that i didn't have a second idea.

at this point, i've decided that i Do have to have a pot and a rack to do this. off to the store.

did you know that canning is a "seasonal" activity? in my mind, it's still october, and apples are still in season, and people are still making apple sauce and apple butter. but No, it is the End of canning season, which means that the stores are clearing their stock of canning supplies. the bad thing about that was that if i need more jars, i'm out of luck, because they are all sold out. and that the racks they had left were too big for my big pot. but that the big canning pot, with rack, was on Clearance! so, now i have a new pot. it's a Really Big Pot and i have no idea where i'm going to store it, but now i can can my apple butter.

so now, i just need to perfect my grandma's biscuit-making talent, 'cause there's nothing better on biscuits than apple butter!



"it is good to remember that we need each other greatly, you and i, more than much of the time we dare to imagine, more than most of the time we dare to admit." - fredrick buechner

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