Thursday, July 16, 2015

You Better Come In My Kitchen 'Cause It's Going To Be Raining Outside

I have spent almost all of this off-and-on rainy day in the kitchen. I pulled out my old canning kettle and the jar lifters and filled the kettle and set it to the boil with jars in it to sterilize.
I found a recipe for fig preserves in the Blue Ball canning book and covered my figs with boiling water and then drained them and stemmed them and cut each one in half. I didn't want to chop them as the recipe called for. My figs are not that big and I didn't think that chopping them would be necessary. I put the figs in my big pot along with a lemon, seeded and sliced, 3/4's of a cup of water and six cups of sugar.
This is what that looked like.

I heated and stirred until it got to what I declared to be a gel point. Do I have an appropriate thermometer? No. I do not.

I ladled the luscious stuff into the clean, hot jars, and set their lids and canning rings, which I had also boiled, upon them after wiping their lips off. Back into the canning kettle to process for fifteen minutes and now they are out and resting on my counter and I am proud of them. 
Six half-pints and two pints and one small bowl of leftover that I've put in someone's (Mother's, Granny's?) beautiful old jelly dish. I have a dough rising for a loaf of sweet potato oat bread and so we shall have some this very night.

I had thought I was going to get out and pick up fallen branches today but never did. Instead I cleared everything out of the kitchen after the preserves were done and and swept twice and then mopped twice. The poor floor in there has received no real attention since The Grand Dishwasher Adventure began and I could not take it any more. 

No. I did not find my simmer mats.

My husband and I have discovered that there is not one hotel room available this weekend from here to Pensacola and so I'm not sure what we're going to do. Perhaps we'll go to Dog Island. It's just so much work to get there. Making sure the boat is running properly, meal planning, grocery shopping, hauling it all over there and up the steps and put away and two days later, do it all in reverse except for the grocery shopping and meal planning. 
Well, we shall see.
I very much want to get away with my sweetie, to just be the two of us. 

Meanwhile, I am so tired right now that I all I really want is to lie down on the bed but I need to put everything back into the kitchen and laundry room and punch down my dough and turn it into a loaf and set that to rise and finish up the laundry and unload my dishwasher.

My dishwasher.

I am officially a dishwasher slut. I use it at every opportunity. I hear people say that they don't have enough dishes to fill theirs up every day but I am not having that problem. I wash everything but the iron skillets in it. My compost pot has never been so clean! Okay, I couldn't fit the canning kettle into it but if I could have, I would have. 
And I do not feel guilty and I am not ashamed. 
(Very much.)

Keith's first single off his new solo album due out in September dropped today. It's called "Trouble."

If you're even slightly interested. 

They said of the single:

The track is a stripped-down, no-nonsense rocker built around a bevy of quintessential Keef riffs — ragged, haggard blues lines that meander the fretboard and sound at once precise and just a bit "juiced up and sloppy."

Not unlike my fig preserves. Not unlike life. Not unlike love. Juiced up and sloppy. 

Yours truly...Ms. Moon


  1. Damn those simmer mats!

    Your jelly dish is very pretty.

  2. and here I was hoping that you had found your simmer mats today! Darned, don't you hate that? That jelly dish and saucer are absolutely beautiful and anything that touches it will taste amazing just for having been inside it. Just lovely. Fig preserves on freshly baked bread? I'll be over for a sampling of that, HA, I only wish......
    Susan M

  3. Oh my fig preserves, nothing better. I see the new Crosseyed Heart will have a guest appearance from Spooner Oldham. I really should call my cousin a get the scoop. Gail

  4. Ha ha ... now I have a little video going in my head: you, on fast speed, running around your kitchen picking up everything to see if it fits in the dishwasher, stopping every minute or so to look at the camera with wide eyes and hands on either side of your face, with your mouth in a delighted "O"! (Yes, I love those old black and white movies.) Mr. Moon must be feeling good that you are so happy with it :)

    I know what you mean about the work involved in "getting away". We have a cottage and although it's not usable at the moment, it was our vacation spot for years when the children were young. But the work! And it usually fell to me as my husband's job was very demanding in terms of time. I hope you find a place to retreat to. Maybe go off in an entirely new direction and do something completely different?

  5. That Hank- It's family summer vacation time! I'm pretty sure St. Aug will be just as full. It's not only beautiful, it's...educational!

    Birdie- Isn't it?

    jenny_o- You're pretty much right on with me and the dishwasher video if a dishwasher video was being made. Look! I can put it in my dishwasher!
    As to the cottage- yeah. We might just head up to Georgia. I have no idea at this point.

  6. Susan M- I'm pretty excited myself.

    Gail- Yes! Please do!

  7. Lol, dishwasher slut :) Have you experienced the joys of what my friend called the 'dishwasher facial'? When you open the door too soon and you get a faceful of dishy steam. The poor woman's spa treatment :)

    Your preserves are beautiful, and I would love to make that bread!

    I hope you find somewhere to stay. With restaurants nearby, and air conditioning.

  8. YESSSSSSSSS, ST. AUGUSTINE...we just happen to have a room available!!!

  9. My grandmother had a fig tree by the back door in Alabama. She would make the best fig preserves. They were so good. You can't buy good fig preserves; too sweet, too cloying. Your jam jar is just precious.

  10. Mary, I've missed you. Yes your jam jar is precious, and it made me smile to see it used with such love.
    Hope you get the travel figured out. All I've done since May is plan, pack and go, and unpack and start over again. I've had great times and awful times and it's still going on and I know it will all come to a screeching halt in 30 some odd days when both kids are back at school.
    I'm losing all kinds of shit, including my mind. Been strangely down in the dumps, probably the looming empty nest and other assorted life things which built to a crecendo today. But I listened to Keith's new song and he lightened my heart up a bunch so thank you.

    I hope you and Mr. Moon have a great trip wherever you go. I agree St. Augustine is lovely!

  11. To me, there is no more satisfying sound than a jar lip pop to let you know it sealed.

  12. Another use for your dishwasher...put all your jars and rings in it, run it on 'sanitize,' and Voila! Clean jars and rings! i usually make at least 14 pints of whatever I'm canning, though.

  13. Oh my gosh, those figs!!! Good job. I would be a dishwasher slut too. I was just thinking of your new dishwasher as I did MORE dishes last night, and I am just one person. Anyone who cooks should be allowed a dishwasher. Someday...

  14. my neighbor (actually no one lives in the house now since Dorothy and Frank have both died now and their son and daughter tend the place) has two huge figs trees. used to have three but with all the rain we had this year and then the tropical storm, one fell over and he cut it down. I like figs and ate some of Dorothy's fig preserves once which was so good. I bought a pint of fig and something I don't remember what it was mixed with which was pretty terrible and then I bought some fig and strawberry preserves which I though sounded good and wasn't that great either.

  15. I've never had fig preserve. Looks gorgeous!
    I hope you manage to get away for a bit.

  16. My grandmother told me she has a tree full of ripe Celeste figs. She lives 3 hours away and I don't have a day off to go get some anytime soon. She says they're dead ripe and won't last long in this heat. I'm disappointed because I adore fig preserves. Yours look delicious!

  17. Jo- We're going to have to wait until the kids all go back to school, I think. And yes, the poor-woman's facial. I can relate. Although with our heat and humidity, it's pretty much a toxin-ridder every time we walk across the yard.

    lulumarie- Oh you are so precious. We're going to stay home and just pretend we're on vacation. It's really too hot to go to the beach or even downtown St. Augustine right now anyway. I'd love to come and visit something soon though. Me and Lis?

    Allison- I agree. The only fig preserves worth eating are home made.

    Mel- Oh! It is so good to hear from you! I have been missing you and wondering where you are. St. Augustine is one of my favorite places on earth. I have had incredibly marvelous times there with some of the best people on earth.
    The empty nest thing? It can be wonderful. Yes, you'll go through some stuff but you'll come out the other end completely fine. In my experience, anyway.
    I'm glad you liked Keith's new song. Me too.

    Jaime- I know exactly what you mean and yes- the sound of success!

    Catrina- Well, gotta base my number of jars and rings on what I have to preserve/pickle. But yes- I have heard that you can use the dishwasher for that. I'll have to try it. Thank you!

    Bethany- Yes! If you cook, really cook, you can fill up a dishwasher quickly. May you get one someday.
    You will love it as much as I love mine.

    Ellen Abbott- Butt easy. Trust me. Figs, sugar, a lemon. Delicious.

    Mwa- Sigh. We will get away one day. Just not right now. And fig preserves are food of the gods.

    Jennifer- Oh! How frustrating! I'm sorry you can't just go get them easily. Mine were delicious.

  18. Those fig preserves look great! I admire your skill and industry. If I ever had to can anything I wouldn't know where to begin and I'm sure I would give everyone botulism.

  19. Not finding those simmer mats is weird!! Eh?

  20. We don't fill up a dishwasher but every 3 days. And when I was home alone for 2 weeks, it took nearly a week for me to fill it up.

    Our golden fig tree has not produced one fig that I have eaten because the raccoons and squirrels eat them first. Hard to keep any kind of edible things out here in the country. We do have a fence around the garden. Glad for that.


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