There now I know you've missed me but what with storm days and cold houses I just haven't had the time or opportunity to write. But I promise to make this a long blog even if I have to add LOTS of pictures.
Friday Jan 28th was the date of our most recent CSA run in Halifax. The roads were great which was a great comfort to Danny and me as the country bumpkins drove into the big city. While we were making deliveries I stopped in at Pete's Frutique in Halifax and got some organic citrus fruit to make into marmalade. I don't usually make marmalade but the year I have the urge. What luck; they had organic seville oranges as well as sweet oranges but better still organic lemons were on sale 4/$1! I picked through them carefully: you don't get a sale like this unless something is wrong, and found several great lemons. From there we went on to make our CSA delivery at the Grainery and had the pleasure of meeting our members again. Thanks to everyone who took a dozen eggs or so; my hens are laying like crazy right now and I was happy to find homes that wanted eggs.
Meanwhile things settled down a little at home and I set to Monday making marmalade. I decided to make lemon marmalade first:
I juiced the lemons, I cleaned the pulp and seeds out of the lemons and ten I laboriously sliced the rind on all the lemons. It was an excellent opportunity to enjoy Stephen Fearing's newest album The Man Who Married Music. The whole thing plus a start on a second go round.
I just knew the results were going to be worth the effort. So undaunted I read the recipe again, added water and start simmering the peel to make it tender.
There is a little bag made from cheesecloth hanging in the pot. This is filled with the seeds and the pulp from the lemons. I did this to add to the pectin quantity of my marmalade so it would jell better. I simmered the peel for over an hour; slowly and carefully to make a beautiful, lemon infused juice. The house smelled great but it was getting late so I waited until the next day to do the next part.
I added sugar at a ratio of about 1:1. Washed my jars, got them warming, turned the oven up to high and started stirring. And stirring. And still more stirring. After about 20 minutes the gel test (one drop on a white plate stored in the freezer 'wrinkled' when I pushed it) worked and I bottled all of it:
Ten bottles of delicious lemon marmalade. The distribution of the peel through out the jelly wasn't bad either. The next day, Wednesday I made Seville Orange Marmalade. I have never done this before but it turned out fairly well. This time I got 9 bottles. Danny claims to like the lemon best but I like having both. Choice is everything.
Of course while I was making marmalade Danny was not idle. First there are the bait bags he collects on the shore in the summer, fills with beef fat and hangs out for the birds:
He got a little carried away and hung many of them out. Then he stood back and waited to see who would come:
The evening grossbeaks and chickadees seem to be enjoying them too. we have lots so talk to me if you think there are some birds at your house who might enjoy one.
And of course, last but not least, there are the bacons that we have spent the last few weeks pickling. Every few days we move them around and rearrange them in the tubs. But finally the weather warmed up and the storms stopped for awhile. We decided to start the smokehouse:
Danny and Bunzie carried out the meat and hung it up inside:
Closed the doors and Danny built a fire. In order to protect the woodstove from the elements Danny took an old car hood (a Carmengia that someone parked up here a long time ago for some reason) and put it on top:
From there Danny built the fire and we have waited patiently the last few days hoping for good results:
The fire has gone out a few times but we're optimistic. Tonight is the night that Danny takes it out of the smokehouse and slices the bacons up. Next week I'll let you know how it worked out. In the meantime be kind to one another.