I’ve Been Busy in the Kitchen

Fall is a great time to get busy in the kitchen.  It’s not 500 degrees, and there are usually great deals on produce to can, freeze, dehydrate, or otherwise stock.  Let me show you what I’ve been doing.

My garden was pitiful this summer.  I didn’t plant a large one, but the grasshoppers ate what I did plant.  Right down to the ground.  My jalapeno and Serrano peppers barely survived, but they never produced all summer.  Then, as the temperatures cooled off, the grasshoppers died (thank goodness), and we got a little rain, my pepper plants mass produced.  In two days, I had 60 peppers.  We like peppers, but we can’t eat that much at one time.  So, I canned them.  They will light your fire, for sho’.

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I might have mentioned that I like pumpkin.  Pumpkin donuts.  Pumpkin muffins.  Pumpkin pancakes.  Ummm.  Pumpkin.  So, October and November are prime pumpkin cooking season.  You cut up the pumpkins, scrape out the seeds, and put it in a crockpot for about 4 hours.

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Then, scoop the pumpkin out and freeze.  So easy!

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I like to buy spices in bulk.  Not necessarily by the pound, but it’s way cheaper to buy freshly dried spices from Sprouts or Natural Grocers and put them in your own jars.  I have been buying these small glass spice jars and filling them up, but sometimes it’s hard to remember what is in what jar.  Of course, most of them are easy to identify by smell or sight, but you don’t want to get paprika confused with crushed red pepper.  Yikes!  So, I took about 15 minutes the other day and labeled my jars.  I neatly (or as neatly as I can) printed the name on a file label, then taped over it with clear packing tape.  This waterproofs it and keeps it in place.  I didn’t realize until I was done that I didn’t uniformly place the stickers at the same height or orientation to the lid.  I almost had a panic attack, but I took a deep breath and resisted the urge to rip them off and start over.  I really don’t want to be that disturbed.

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I did get a run on cucumbers for a while during the summer and made pickles.  This fermented pickle recipe  (the two pints on the left just canned and the quart in the middle after several days) was my very favorite.  I could eat a whole jar, and not feel guilty because it is rich in probiotics!  Yummm.

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What are you doing in the kitchen?



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