Seriously, what’s with the snow? I admit it was really pretty, but couldn’t it have come last month? You know, in winter?
The good news is that snow days are perfect days for canning! Because I didn’t do enough yesterday…
The first thing I did this morning was start the apple butter. Yesterday I made the apple purée, but it needed to cook in the crock pot for 12 hours to caramelize the sugars. That’s what distinguishes apple butter from any old spiced applesauce. Once that was done, I braved the snow to run errands with my mom.
When we got home, I set out to make lemon curd. This was my “splurge” project. Everything else I made this weekend – apple sauce and butter, fig jam & peanut butter – were largely local. My apples were locally grown. The figs and honey I used came from the back yard (my dad has bees!). The peanuts were from Virginia, but they were grown by neighbors of my grandparents and were obtained on a visit. Lemons are kind of hard to find in the mid-Atlantic region this time of year. Or any time of year for that matter. But lemon curd is one of my favorites! And I used local eggs…surely that counts for something, right?
Because of the eggs, curd has to be heated over a double boiler. The recipe said it should take 6-9 minutes for the curd to thicken and that you should stir constantly during the cooking process. Twenty minutes later, moments before my arm gave out completely, my curd finally started to thicken. I filled my jars and put them was putting them in the canner when my mom came into the kitchen and sampled the bit of curd left in the bowl. “Ooo! That’s good!” was all I heard. Next thing I know she’s got a spoon and is eating it straight out of the bowl. Of course I grabbed a spoon of my own to help her out. The recipe only made four 4-ounce jars and I had plenty of lemons left. We agreed that a second batch was necessary so I went back to cooking while the first batch processed. My dad was home by the time I was finishing up the second batch and his reaction was pretty much the same. This lemon curd is good stuff. The only downside is that because I used unrefined sugar rather than white sugar, the finished product is more of a mustard brown than the bright, cheery yellow you’d expect of a lemon curd.
I took a break for dinner and then returned to the stove to tackle the crock pot full of apple butter. Once again, the recipe misled me. I’d followed the instructions exactly. According to the recipe, I should have wound up with six half pint jars of apple butter. So I prepared six jars and lids and started filling them. It quickly became clear that I was going to need more than 6 jars so I prepared 2 more. And 2 more. And 2 more. Six. Twelve. Close enough for government work, right?
Needless to say, I have a lot of apple butter.
Here’s the rundown of what I canned in the past 48 hours:
- 4 pints of chicken stock (3 sealed, 1 didn’t)
- 6 4-ounce jars of
burntroasted fig jam (5 sealed, 1 didn’t)
- 6 pints of applesauce
- 8 4-ounce jars of lemon curd
- 12 half pints of apple butter
Phew! Getting back to farming on Wednesday will actually seem like a rest after all that!
Also, if you live in the Philly area, you should seriously consider going to the 2013 Philly Farm & Food Fest. It’s on Sunday, April 14th at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Tickets are $15. It is a celebration of local and sustainable food. Farmers and food producers will be showcasing their wares and answering any questions you might have about their products. Wyebrook will be there! Did I mention there will be free samples?