Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mockuavit!

Made 3/4 liter Mock Aquavit using an Andreas Viestad recipe. Variations:
  • Used 360 grain vodka instead of potato.
  • Added 2 juniper berries.
  • Toasted all of the spices beforehand.
Used 3/4 of all of the ingredients called for, but didn't sweat using a whole clove. (Where would one cut off 1/4 of a clove, from the top or bottom? I'm not being serious.)

Hop Harvest

Harvested 2.5 oz of beautiful Cascade hops. Need to schedule a brew date.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Blackerry Canning

Blackberry season is ending. C- and I picked several pounds of blackberries from the Francis St patch. Canned some and froze some. This is my first attempt at canning, and here what I learned: acid and sugar are needed for gel formation, and sugar preserves. (I wonder about the shelf life of a Twinkie..) Pectin contains organic acids. But I was wary about using pectin, and worried that I'd have something resembling warm jello if I didn't. So I made two different recipes:
  • 1 lb of blackberries, 1 lb of sugar, juice of 1 lemon. Combined for 1.5 hours, then cooked for about 45 min's--enough to coat the back of a spoon. Set beautifully. Yielded 3 1/2 pint jars.
  • Ball Original Fruit Pectin recipe - Crushed 5 cups crushed berries, added 1 package of pectin, brought to a hard boil. Added 7 cups of sugar and returned to hard boil for a couple of minutes. Yielded 9 1/2 pint jars.
Was easier than I thought. Sort of like brewing beer: keep everything clean and stir, stir, stir.

Both recipes made a preserve that set beautifully. Next, rhubarb!


Monday, August 10, 2009

Long Beach

Enjoyed a long weekend on Long Beach peninsula in WA state. Stayed at the Shelburne Inn in Seaview where we enjoyed a wonderful dinner in the restaurant, and Fish Tale Organic Ale in the pub! Visited Cape Disappointment and North Head Lighthouses. Note to self: North Head Lighthouse keepers homes can be rented to large groups, and they are cool! Supped at Jimella's in Klipsan Beach. Strolled through (and actually enjoyed) the World Kite Museum in Long Beach. Hiked the Bay Loop, Bearberry, Weather Beach trails at Leadbetter Point. Weather Beach to Dune Forest trails sucked because of the very high population of ravenous mosquitos! The Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center near Cape Disappointment lighthouse was 'vale la pena'. Imagining leading the Corps of Discovery at the age of 29 (Meriwether L) boggles the mind--these were special men. I wonder what they would have done in this life had they lived in our time?

Garden Update

The dahlias are in full bloom, roses are back after their buzzcuts from a month ago, the tomatoes are producing loads of fruit and the blackberries are coming into season. Rasberries are long ago finished. Hops have loads of flowers, but it's not going to be a particularly bountiful harvest. Hydrangea flowers are starting to fade.