Sunday, September 28, 2008

Another thing about autumn

Spring cleaning, shming cleaning. Fall is a great time to clean out the pantry, figure out what's there and what needs to be restocked, and vow to finally use up all those dry bean soup mixes this year.

Sometimes, the Munchkin helps.

Putting Up

Anybody who has known me for a year has probably heard me talk about how much I adore autumn. Partly this is just because it marks the end of summer. I've been trying to get better about appreciating aspects of each season, but to be honest I really only enjoy summer weather for about three weeks or so and then am ready to stop wearing shorts. Plus, although summer is always billed as vacation-time, all the travel that gets crammed into those three months turns out to be more exhausting than the scheduled routines of the rest of the year. Evidently, when we chose to have a child while living in a different state from the rest of our family, we should have started asking people to donate their frequent-flier miles as a shower gift. But I digress.

The other reason to adore fall is the process of canning, freezing, drying, and otherwise putting up food for the winter. My inner squirrel comes out. The thing I have been doing longest (and am therefore best at) has been pickling. It's pretty close to idiot-proof, and works with beans, beets, cucumbers, okra, and probably a gazillion other things. Unfortunately, my past pickling adventures have resulted in a cabinet jammed full of jars of various kinds of pickles. We simply haven't been eating them as fast as I make them.

Peppers, ready to go. No, I don't know why one ripened to red and none of the others did

So, this year there was a moratorium on pickling. That doesn't mean no preserving, though. I have put up a few pints of applesauce (I'm doing those a little bit at a time, rather than let the apples pile up), frozen a batch of roasted red pepper sauce (which might be cannable, but I could only find pressure-canner instructions), and frozen a sheet tray of jalapenos - some diced, some halved, and some sliced. I still have a handful of habaneros to freeze as well, but was waiting to get gloves first. It turns out that merely washing your hands is totally inadequate to remove capsaicin from ones fingernails - a harsh lesson to learn when you rub your eyes a few hours later. If you want the gory details, ask Joe. He is still laughing.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Passing

Rest in peace, Paul Newman. He hadn't been on-screen for several years, and had left Hollywood long before that, but he couldn't help being a movie star, and he was a class act to the end.