Tuesday, July 3, 2012
THE OLD RED WHITE AND BLUE
On a much more pleasant note, we are preparing for the 4th here. Can you believe it is already July? My grandpa used to say it is always Monday or Friday. I couldn't understand this when I was a child when a week seemed to stretch on for an eternity, but now I know exactly what he means. Except for me, it's always the first or the last of the month. Anyway, one thing we will be doing on Independence Day is taking our breakfast on the porch. Just something simple like blueberry muffins and cranberry juice for a red, white, and blue theme. By the by, how do you like my red and white teapot? I was on my way to the store when I spotted a garage sale and couldn't resist stopping. And there it sat, just waiting for me. It's a cute little Myott art deco-style one and can you see that it has a matching trivet? And guess what? It only cost four dollars. I'll probably enjoy it for a little while then donate it to a local thrift store that is run for battered women. They have a little shop in front where they sell antiques to the tourists.
Speaking of tourist, our little village has swelled about tenfold with all the visitors. Yesterday I needed a few lemons and stood in line for over half an hour at our little grocery store. But it wasn't so bad, because I had a nice conversation with a young couple. They were just so happy to be on vacation, it made my day to talk to them. I'm afraid we take for granted all the beauty that surrounds us, and it takes a stranger to point it out to us from time to time. Which reminds me, I read this quote recently:
"For each of us, there is some corner of the world, and I rejoice that this is mine. . . ."
~Henry Beetle Hough~
Probably everyone feels this way about there home. I know I do! My husband recently won an all-expense paid vacation for two to anyplace in the United States, but we couldn't think of any place we really wanted to go more than we desired to be right here at home. Who knows, though? Maybe after the last potato is harvested, we'll take a trip.
Inside the house, my thought are on red, white and blue as I'm making strawberry jam, blueberry pie filling and drying strawberries. Nothing white though! The recipe for my jam is here: http://hopeandthrift.blogspot.com/2011/07/times-tide-and-peas-wait-for-no-man.html . Recently someone asked me how to know when the jam is set. I use an old-fashioned method that never fails. Simply place a saucer in your freezer. When your jam begins to thicken, place a dab on the cold saucer and place it back in the freezer for a minute. Take it out and run your finger right through the middle of the jam. If it remains separated and doesn't run back together, it's set. Here is the recipe for canning blueberry pie filling:
Blueberry Pie Filling (for five pounds of blueberries)
5 lb. blueberries (that's the amount I use because they come in five pound boxes at the green grocers)
3 C. sugar
1 C. water
1 package liquid pectin (the packages have two pouches, use both)
juice of 1 lemon
Heat the water, sugar, pectin and lemon juice slowly until it begins to boil. Add the blueberries and bring to a boil and the mixture begins to thicken. Pour into sterilized jars leaving 1 inch headspace. Place a previously simmered lid on top and screw on the rings. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
This makes between 3 1/2 -4 quarts or 7-8 pints. It is a bit thin so you may have to thicken it a bit with cornstarch AFTER you open the jars to use. We used to make pie filling with cornstarch, but now the extension office says that method is too thick and may not heat through enough to be safe. Isn't it amazing that we all are alive? I remember when people used to make jam and sealed it with paraffin. If it had a little mold on top, we would cut it off! While I'm not suggesting anyone do this, I guess being a little reckless just built up our resistance. Don't remember people having all the digestive issues they seem to have these days, either. There was an old saying that you need to eat a pound of dirt before starting kindergarten. Now people are so cautious with anti-bacterial soaps, antibiotics, etc., I'm afraid we have lost are ability to build up resistances to things. When I'll hop off my soap box now!
And finally, since we are speaking of the color blue, I have some exciting news. Both of my sons have informed me that they are expecting little boys! I'll be up to my neck in blue yarn knitting for little grandsons. Wishing you all a happy 4th and everyday! Until next time!