Canning, take two.

Canning, take two.

In addition to the siren call of the season, the time constraints of my upcoming bike tour has gently persuaded me to more thoroughly plan out my food preservation for the year. The result: nearly twenty jars of various produce, now fashioned into delectable pickles, sauces and jams.

The first canning session focused on early summer treats – bean and cucumber pickles and a spontaneous batch of raspberry rhubarb ginger jam.


Yesterday’s preservation was all about tomatoes. Around 25 lbs of in season, perfectly ripe ruby orbs to boil into submission as salsa and sauce.

First the blanching, to remove the skins and squeeze out the seeds.


Then blending, to hasten the sauce creation. My relief at having my housemate’s Ninja blender to aid this process was boundless.


Then, after additions of onions, garlic, jalepenos and basil for the salsa and Italian sauce respectively, the mixtures were jarred, preserved in a hot water bath, and finally set to cool and admire on the dining room table.


It may not feed a community house of six for a whole winter, but it will certainly feel like summer’s latent Christmas when we crack one of these jars on a dark and snowy January evening.


Waiting for clarity is the wrong intention after all.

Listening: Tom Waits – Bad as Me

Reading: Girls With SlingshotsLady of AvalonCurve.

Wondering: How long it will take to convince my ex to move out.  Why I can’t figure out what’s next in my life.  Why I fit so stupidly well into Things Millennial Girls Love.  If I will ever be capable of letting go of my need for control enough to write a book, try dance/burlesque, join a spiritual community, etc.

We’re deep in the throes of summer, which means I am coated in sweat, preoccupied by how many tomatoes are forming in the garden, and simultaneously wishing for and dreading rain.  Oh and feeling bad for the cats.  Poor furry babies.

Savoring the Summer

I am very much in favor of perpetual anything (my kombucha crock on the counter being a prime example), so this suggestion for perpetual pickles from the latest Farmer’s Almanac enews in my inbox sounds just divine.  It does help that I found dill sprouting up voluntarily in my garden this year!

Create a “perpetual pickles” crock for summer snacking. Partially fill a large jar or small crock with half water and half vinegar, a few peeled garlic cloves, a few sprigs of fresh dillweed, and pickling salt to taste. Add new vegetables every day or two.

Inspiration from friends and strangers.

With the often glorious and occasionally sauna-like ridiculous weather lately I have oft neglected the many wonderful blogs I follow through Google Reader.  However, the tidbits I have gleaned in the few blog-reading moments I have found have been great, and I find myself inspired to create, brainstorm, and dream more than ever before.

The Style Rookie is one of my very favorite blogs for a certain kind of eye candy, fashion, and decadence.  I absolutely wish I had been as fabulous as Tavi is as a freshman in high school, but alas, now I can only aspire to reconcile my adult life with the often mediocre quirkiness of my adolescence.  Tavi’s shrines are some of my favorite inspirations for creating random things- I don’t have a shrine yet, and possibly won’t ever, but collecting and repurposing random trinkets has always been a hobby of mine.

I have long had a Seven Wanders of My World post in my saved post drafts list, and hopefully will get to it soon (maybe a rainy day when exploring my present geography is not nearly as pleasant as dreaming about future expeditions?).  The Adventure Cycling blog is particularly stellar for living vicariously through bicyclists having adventures all over the country and world, and brainstorming such trips for one’s self.

In addition to following the adventures of world-wide bicyclers, I love My Hyggelig for occasional photos of places I know in the Cities and lovely prose poetry about the ordinary joys of these days we live in and so often let pass by unnoticed.  Her latest post led to dreams of my planned vacations for this summer, and to visions of the tres exciting trip Ben and I will hopefully take next autumn: bicycling the Mississippi River Trail.

Summer in Minnesota is always a strange mix of lazy days filled with sunlight, iced tea, and naps, and a frenzy of activity- music festivals, art shows, vacations, bicycling, unending visits with friends, trying to live every day as fully as possible doing and making and experiencing because you know there are only so many of them.

How do you spend your summer?