Sunday, July 17, 2011

Barking Mad!

Now that we are in an area that rains we have tree frogs.  They are everywhere and I'm in heaven.  I love frogs!  Just about every night this week we've had a visitor to our pool, which is still not up and running yet.  It's a barking tree frog.  A liitle different looking from the ones I grew up with in the deep south but a barker none the less.  And of course those of you who know me personally, know I'm going to go pick it up and take pictures right? < insert maniacal giggling here>
Now here's the point of this post, and a funny story.  Well other than I finally live in a place where I can catch frogs again.  This little frog started barking the other night.  The dogs went nuts trying to find the perpetrator of the noise since they had never encountered a barking frog before there's no telling what was going through their minds.  Barking frantically back at it.  Running all over the yard, up and down the fences until one of them found it.  He just stood there and barked right back at it for a good 5 minutes.  Frog, Gus, Frog, Gus, Frog Gus....  We finally had to make him leave the poor thing alone but not before laughing our butts off.  Every night since has started with the frog climbing up on the pool ledge and barking at dusk followed by the dogs, all of them, egging it on for as long as we let them.

Cherries anyone?

I found a really good deal on cherries the other day in the store.  $1.99 a pound, out here that's cheep since they are normally $4 a pound and up.  So I bought 3 of those useless zippered produce bags full.  Landed 6.5 pounds.  What to do, what to do, what to do?  Had no idea, but hubby offered to eat all of them right then and there.  Pulled out the canning books and nothing appealed to me so I just decided to put them in syrup and be done with it.  Yes I saved out a handful for hubby but the rest went into the jars!

Canned cherries
6 pounds cherries (or a little more)
6 cups water
3 cups sugar

First you might want to pit the cherries.  Or not, decision is totally up to you, just be sure to label them as unpitted if you don't.  Wouldn't want any dental injuries in the middle of a midnight snack would we?  For me, well I have this mid-evil looking contraption that was given to me a few years ago and it was claimed to be a pitter but, well, I have no idea how rolling cherries down across a ribbed wheel would work without loosing a lot of juice so I opted to poke them out with a heavy duty chopstick.  Just hold the cherry and push it through the stem end.  Takes a few tries to get it perfect and you'll get lovely stained hand for your effort.
Heat up water and sugar to boiling.  Pack jars to half inch head space.  Ladle syrup over them to half inch head space, make sure there are no bubbles and lid up.  Boiling water bath 20 minutes for pints.
Landed myself 11 pints:

Friday, July 8, 2011

Pickled Cantaloupe, The Rematch

So, remember that pickled cantaloupe recipe I shared last year? This one?  Yeah, well it didn't get rave reviews, was actually called disgusting by one person (though hubby likes them, go figure) and the original link to the recipe is no longer working.  But I shall persevere!  I will try it again!  I will make it edible!
And I did.  We found a little farmer's market and landed ourselves 2 very large muskmelons.  Hubby started eating on one but ran out of steam before he could finish it so I figured they'd be worth the experiment.  I pulled out my Ball Complete book, love this thing, you need one, really, and found a recipe.  It's on page 299.  But I didn't have the whole spices it required so I tweaked it a bit:

Pickled Cantaloupe
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground allspice
3 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
13 cups cubed cantaloupe (peel and seed it first!)
41/2 cups sugar

Combine spices, water and vinegar, bring to a boil for 5 minutes, remove from heat.  Stir in melon and let sit for about half an hour, covered please.
Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally and keep at a light boil for 45 minutes or until the cantaloupe starts looking 'translucent'.  Ladle/pack melon and syrup into jars with 1/2" headspace, work out bubbles and water bath 20 minutes.

I ended up with 8 pints, but I used a little more melon than the recipe called for.