Saturday, August 20, 2011

Kitchen day

Today, I have a bunch of stuff that needs to be done in the kitchen. Mostly, because there is so much produce available this time of year - more than we can eat fresh.

At 6:45 this morning, me and five kids left to go pick up our produce share basket with Bountiful Baskets. My husband and Solomon were gone on a business trip. From Bountiful Baskets, we went straight to the Phoenix Downtown Farmer's Market, because I needed some more pickling cucumbers. The stand where we bought them also had organic watermelons and cantaloupes for cheap, so I bought 2 of the first and 9 of the latter, plus some apples because the kids eat those like crazy.


You may wonder, what am I hoping to do with NINE cantaloupes? Well, for starters, the family eats them. We just bought 4 on Tuesday, and they were gone by Thursday. But I have other plans for these - the canning book I have been using has a recipe for canning cantaloupe in honey. Sounds weird, huh? But all of the recipes I have used from that book have been absolute hits, so I am sure this one will be, too.

Whenever I first get pregnant, I get really sick, and one of the few things I crave (and can keep down) is watermelon and cantaloupes. But - I am almost never newly pregnant when those are in season (out of season cantaloupes are overpriced and taste horrible). Our kids are all spaced almost exactly two years apart, so I keep being pregnant around the same time of year, every other year - and it's not a good time of year for fresh produce. Of course I have no idea if or when I will be blessed with another pregnancy, but if I do, and if I get sick when there are no cantaloupes in season, I'd like to have the canned variety. So anyway, I will give these a try. I bought the watermelons just so the kids would eat those and leave the cantaloupes alone.

The canning will have to wait until tomorrow or Monday, just whenever the melons have had a chance to ripen and sweeten a bit more. I also bought 24 more lbs of peaches to put up - it's an easy snack for my husband to grab on his way out to work, and it will be great to have when peaches are no longer in season. 

For those of you who are interested, I am working on a post on how to can fresh fruit using honey, and without using overpriced equipment.

What I am making today:

  • Cherry pie: there were some cherries that were too soft for eating fresh or canning in our box, so pie it is.
  • Pumpkin pie: we got a pumpkin from our garden, and Isaac LOVES pumpkin pie
  • Pickles: I got my fermenting crock this week, so we will be putting up about 20 lbs of cucumbers in it. My brother-in-law in California grew his own and is sending some back to our house with my husband (yum!), plus I bought some today to have enough to fill the crock. They take several weeks to turn in to pickles. I have never made these on my own before, but my mom used to make them when I was a child. We'll see how they turn out.
  • Gnocchi: We have some leftover mashed potatoes, so for dinner, I am using them to make fresh gnocchi and pesto.

Also today, I really need to get my fall vegetable garden in, and the pool needs some maintenance. A busy day overall! Isaac and John are great at helping me still get the weekly chores done, and also with keeping on top of the dishes and laundry. That's where the pumpkin pie comes in as a reward! :)


  1. Oooh ME, I'm interested!! I'll be practically bursting at the seams for your canning post!

    We have two pear trees...but they always seem to spoil. Apparently you are supposed to pick them unripened and let them ripen at home, but ours just turn from hard to wrinkly and inedible!!?? Frozen pears just don't do it for I think canning is the way to go!

    Enjoy your busy day in the kitchen! :)

  2. You certainly have been busy!

    It is fascinating to read about canning produce as I don't think that is common over here. I wish I had the skills and that fruit wasn't so expensive so I could have a go!

    I love watermelons too - I must get some!

  3. Looking forward to the canning post! I was at the store today and saw a Ball brand canning kit that was $11. It was for 3 jars, a magnetic lid picker-upper, a jar tweezers, and a dunking bowl for the jars. It seemed kind of overpriced. I almost bought it, and then put it back on the shelf thinking I could make do without. After all, people in the olden days got by without a "canning kit". And then I come online and read your lovely post :) It must be fate.

  4. I recently found this great recipe for cantaloupe...thought you might like it...

    It is really delicious!

  5. Always good to be prepared! Your ancestors would be proud, I'm sure.

  6. I am interested in your canning post! I am already planning a garden for next year and hoping to be able to can things for next winter.

  7. I would love some good ole' cantaloupe! (I used to say that to my husband when we...I mean, our mothers, were planning the wedding: "Nope, nope, cantaloupe, our parents want to be there!"

    Maybe that makes more sense if someone has gone through the ridiculousness of formal, expensive weddings sometimes you and your husband just want to run off 'Zsuzsanna and Pastor Anderson' style!

    Just feeling silly, I hope all is well and can't wait to see how you take care of the cantaloupe, any suggestions are welcome!

    God bless you, Dad, and the six!

    "Madhatter" Mindy

    P.S. I would LOVE to see if John did something interesting with construction paper! You've got a little artist on your hands!


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