Tuesday, August 21, 2007

It Burns!

This is how I spent my weekend:

Pickled Jalapenos

Honey Pickled Jalapenos. Or Pickled Honeyed Jalapenos. Or something. I did a few tiny jars of these last years and they are heavenly, especially in grilled cheese sandwiches. These jars represent 3 or 4 pounds of peppers, hours of slicing and every single empty half pint and quarter pint jar I had.

Pickled Jalapenos - Closeup

They are also a perfect example of how I am a complete moron (the first such example from this summer involved a very nasty sunburn). Hot peppers = HOT. That heat is due to an insidious oil, which, if you don't wear the recommended protective gear, HURTS. A lot. For hours. Luckily, I wasn't stupid enough to rub my eyes -- I once had a boyfriend who, while canning Hungarian hot peppers rubbed his contact lensed eyes. He managed to get the lenses out, washed them, then put them back in a couple of days later. Idiot.

And I'm drowning in tomatoes. At last count, I'm at 11 or 12 pounds of Sweet 100s. Yikes!


I also have Amish Paste tomatoes making a big showing and the Beefsteak are starting to ripen.

When I start really melting down, remind me to re-read this quote from my grandmother's (unpublished) memoir of homesteading in Northern Idaho ("Dee" is her mother): "From the produce of the garden and the woods, Dee canned seven or eight hundred quarts of fruit and vegetables each year, besides jams, jellies, and pickles. Even venison and elk went into the Mason jars. She preferred the neck of an elk for her incomparable mincemeat." I could argue that I have a full time job and longish commute, but Grandma continues with everything else her mother has to do: cooking, baking, cleaning, educating her two eldest children, and substitute teaching in town. For a variety of reasons, her husband was rarely home, thus maintenance of the household fell to Dee. Times were certainly different, I think it is very useful to remind myself that everything I do, every jar I drop into boiling water, is a choice. Dee did it out of necessity.

Several people (Stef, Valerie, and my sister-in-law) have recommended the Barbara Kingsolver book. I will get to it, I promise, but the metaphorical stack on my night table is threatening to topple over and kill me in the night.

No comments: