This evening’s project(s)

So in between creating this blog and making a complete mess on the carpet in the office, I actually did some canning and creating projects. The first was yogurt! (believe it or not, it took me four tries to spell that correctly… just one of those words I can’t spell) Super easy – I got the recipe from http://www.foodinjars.com, an awesome website which is written by the same woman who wrote the canning cookbook that has sparked this obsession. The specific yogurt recipe can be found here. Pretty much, take a half gallon of milk (any kind, fat free or whole), heat it up to 190 degrees, then cool it down to 120 degrees, then add about 2 or 3 tablespoons of existing yogurt (I just used Trader Joe’s nonfat plain), whisk it together, then put it in some jars. I then used the cooler method described in the blog. Only problem was that their cooler was the nifty hard sided waterproof cooler, mine was one of those soft sided zippered ones. So you guessed it, now, at 9:30 at night, we have soaking floors. But that’s okay because 7 hours after I started, we have YOGURT! It’s tasty and delicious! And it seems to have made more than 1/2 gallon, if I do my quart-gallon measurements correctly. The other projects were going through the 10 pounds of berries that Brandon and I picked today. We picked about 4 pounds of boysenberries and 6 pounds of ollalieberries. Ollalieberries are my favorite berry, even possibly beating strawberries. They are this crazy central coast thing that nobody else has ever heard of. Sweet, tart, juicy and delicious, I needed to figure out how to process 6 pounds. Of course, save some for eating, but what to do with the rest? We already have some in the freezer from our last berry picking adventure. We have been going down to Gizdich Ranch in Watsonville; not organic berries, but they use very limited pesticides and don’t every spray the fruit, or the vines once they have fruit on them. I already made a few pints of ollalieberry jam last weekend, so I didn’t just want to do that. I had a bunch of half pint jars and used them to make a few more small containers of Ollalieberry Jam – it will be great given away as Christmas presents (or whatever presents). I also went ahead and made Whole Ollalieberries in a Light Syrup. I did find this recipe on a website somewhere, but Brandon closed down the browser before I could save it, so who knows where it came from. The other type of berry we picked was boysenberries. It had been a long time since I had eaten a boysenberry, and totally forgot how gigantic they are. Completely different looking than an ollalieberry. They are also much more tart. So we had about 4 pounds of these giant seedy berries, so I figured I would make some almost seedless Boysenberry Sage jam. I pressed out the juice and came up with 3.5 cups, and really wanted 4 cups, so I added a little of the seed pulp in, which will be fine to give it some crunch. It came out pretty tangy and the sage gave it an interesting twist (you can’t taste it too much, but there’s a spicy undertone). The interesting canning project I did tonight was making Lemon Curd. I didn’t have quite enough eggs, and my eggs are these tiny ones we get from the egg farm across the road, so I downsized this recipe a bit, but still ended up with two 1/2 pint jars. And it is delicious. It’s like eating lemon cream pie. This will be fun to open at a later date. Recipe also from Food in Jars (the cookbook). So I look forward tomorrow morning to waking up and eating a bowl of homemade yogurt with some ollalieberry jam mixed in, and then taking a few days off of canning. And here’s the pretty picture of my 2:00-9:00 project products:

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