{*~Canning, Baking, Binding~*}

I've had a stomach virus all week. So lame. Haven't sewn. Haven't done much of anything except sleep, cross stitch a tiny bit and be slightly stressed. But I had a TON of peaches, tomatoes and cherries that if I didn't do something with, they would have spoiled, so I bucked up and spent the day canning.

It was a good day! I've started listening to Jim Dale read Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix. It's so amusing. Jim doing Luna Lovegood slays me. I did learn that cheapest isn't best, I bought a $4 cherry pitter at the hardware store, thinking there really wasn't a difference between it and the $16 OXO one (amazon sells it for $12, but I try to buy local.) Welp, big shock, it broke yesterday and stabbed my finger open. This is the last batch of cherries for the season but I know I'm definitely buying the OXO one for next season!

I ended up making 9 jars of Zesty Peach BBQ Sauce (Ball Complete pg 263 double batch, added cinnamon and ) 6 jars of Danish Cherry (Ball Complete pg 186- used Agave instead of Corn Syrup, doubled the amount of almond extract) and 2 jars and 3 ziplock bags of Fig Balsamic Roasted Tomato Sauce.

I got my Fig Balsamic from my mom, but you can buy it here. It's made in the town that Chop grew up in so that's kind of neat! They make super yummy stuff!

For the sauce I filled a baking dish with tomatoes cut into chunks, sliced onions, garlic, shallots, red pepper flakes, fresh basil, a red bell pepper (our first one off our plant!), a big glug of the fig balsamic vinegar, some EVOO. We have a pretty big grill, so I turned on the outer two flames on medium and set the dish in the middle. The temp was about 375-400. I would go outside and give it a good stir every once in a while for about an hour. I don't put it on direct heat because I like some bits being really caramelized and others being mellow. It bubbles and cooks brilliantly. Once it was mostly liquid and had some good brown bits, I ran it through the food processor. I added bottled lemon juice to each jar and canned it using a 35 minute water bath and 5 minute rest. I also took a few sandwich sized zip lock bags and filled them and stuck them in the deep freeze. I like having a chunk of frozen sauce to toss in the crock pot with chicken and couscous.


For the Danish Cherry Baked Goodness. I took one 1/2 pint jar of cherries and dumped it into a butter greased pyrex. It's topped with cinnamon, salt, old fashioned oats, flour, brown sugar and for the butter I used a browned honey butter I keep in the fridge. The topping is so easy to make, it's essentially from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook and to be completely honest, I don't measure anything, I just toss what looks like a good amount of each in a bowl, squish with my fingers until it looks crumbly and just sprinkle it on top, bake for 15 minutes at 375. Easy peasy. This is enough for 2 people. Or one person who really loves baked treats! I honestly get confused by a buckle, crumble, brown betty, cobbler, etc...so I refer to everything as "baked goodness". ;)

One thing I do when canning is take notes. I like to note where I bought the fruit, how ripe it was, what changes I made, exactly how long I cooked things for, etc. My notebook is filled from this summer and that makes me REALLY excited. It seems like people always want recipes but I rarely use them. I like improv cooking; a little of this, a little of that.

I'm spending the morning binding and drinking gatorade. I can't wait to blog about my finished Swoon! It's being dropped off tomorrow morning for the Butte County Fair that takes place the last weekend in August! I'm soooooo excited! Do you like my little gray dish? Ashleigh made him for me! I keep my binding supplies in it.

I hope you guys have a nice weekend! I'm crossing my fingers I'll get caught up on emails and Farmer's Wife blocks when I feel less green.