Thursday, May 19, 2011
THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATION OF RHUBARB
Dear House, you are very small.
Just big enough for love. That's all.
~ old sampler saying~
Today I had the bright idea to can up some rhubarb strawberry pie filling...Well as in true Jane fashion, the simple task wasn't accomplished without a lot of frustration. I simply could not locate my canner. How can a person lose a fairly large canner in a 1000 square foot house? I looked in all the logical places, such as the basement and the attic. Nothing! I suspect that it might be in the garage, but you must understand my dear husband's idea of organizing. I love my husband with all my heart, but his one flaw is his need to pack things up. Well that, and the fact that he's so chipper at the wee hours of the morning, but I digress. He takes great pride in being able to fit the entire contents of a huge Victorian house into a u-haul. Which makes unpacking an adventure. All boxes will be marked "misc." And when you open them, you'll find that an understatement. The contents being one of the boy's christening gowns, a spatula, a monkey wrench and a roll of toilet paper. Another box might contain one shoe, an empty jar, a toilet plunger and a baggie filled with twist ties. One good thing about his method is that it forces you to unpack. I'm betting that the canner is lurking behind several old windows, a bed frame, and several rolls of insulation out there in no-man's land, uh er, the garage.
But all's well that ends well. I just canned up the jars in my pressure canner, therefore, I had to use pint jars instead of quarts because the water wouldn't be deep enough for the quart jars. But now that I think about it, that will work out better for us anyhow, since we rarely eat an entire pie anymore. I'll be able to make small tarts with no waste. Or maybe old-fashioned filled cookies.
Speaking of pies, I always make up a large batch of pie crust and freeze it, that way it's easy to just thaw the crust when it's needed. No excuse to not make a pie or tarts for tea. Or a quick potpie from the leftovers. The recipe I use, stirs up quick and makes the nicest, flakiest crusts. And it really rolls out nicely.
Pie Crust (enough for 4 crusts)
1 lb. vegetable shortening
1 Tbsp. salt (I use less)
5 1/3 C. flour
1 C. water
Cut the shortening into the flour and salt. I just use my hands to make pea-sized crumbles. Stir in the water. At this point, you are going to say to yourself, "Jane you're nuts!" because the mixture will definitely be gluey. Just pop it in the fridge for several hours and it will roll out beautifully. Or divide the dough into fourths and freeze.