There’s a party in my

pantry.

What?

Before we begin, I’d like to tell you about a conversation I had with my vivacious friend Suzette on Saturday night.  Suzette and her friend Jim came into the gallery where I work, and this is how she introduced me:

“Jim, this is my friend Kristabel.  She works here and she writes this great blog called Chocolate Covered Xanax, and it’s really funny, and she talks about stuff like food and love and drinking and sex.  I mean, she used to.”

And to me (loudly): “Why don’t you write about the good stuff anymore?  I keep waiting for you to leave another dildo out on your counter or something, and it just doesn’t happen.  Honey – you really need to drink more.”

Nothing like a loud embarrassing reality check to get a girl motivated.  And she’s right.  Things are a bit sedate around Casa de Xanax these days.  Just today I ran upstairs to grab a bottle of lube – only because I thought an egg was stuck in one of my chickens, and I was going to have to perform an extraction.  So my promise, dear readers, is that by January 1, I will live blog my one last bender of 2011 and tart it up with some Saturday night smut.

But back to my pantry.

Pickled Pierce Family Farms carrots with jalapenos and garlic

Mark and I have done a lot of canning this year.  There’s something beautiful about growing your own food or purchasing it from a local farmer or raiding your uncle’s orchard or gleaning a field, and with a few simple steps, turning it into a jam or a relish or a pickle that you can enjoy all winter long.  It’s magical.  Alright, I know that it’s really science, but it feels like magic.

Chunky applesauce being lifted out of the canning pot.

For me, not only is preserving food fun, economical and magical – it’s important.  Food security,  self-sufficiency and community sustainability  are much bigger topics than I want to delve into right now, but let’s just say that being reliant on big agribusiness scares the hell out of me.

If you’ve never canned before, don’t let the thought of killing your friends and family with botulism stop you.  That can only happen if you improperly can low acid foods like vegetables or tuna.  The high acid foods like fruit and pickles can’t give anyone botulism.  Plus, if they’re bad they smell funny and probably look weird too.  Doesn’t that make you feel better?

Cleaning the lids of caramelized red onion relish, which is made with red wine and is perfect for slathering on just about anything....or anyone.

The easiest way to learn is just to grab a good book or find a step-by-step website , start with something simple and go for it.  There are a few pieces of equipment you need, but if you don’t have all the fancy canning stuff, don’t worry about it.  Just use a large stockpot with a cooling rack inside and the kitchen tools you have on hand.

.

Magic!

The party in my pantry now includes bread and butter pickles, chunky applesauce, pickled garlic, peach jam, spicy pickled carrots and caramelized red onion relish.   They’re all absolutely delicious.  I can’t wait until local citrus hits the markets.  I plan to preserve some lemon curd and and marmalade too.

Homemade delectables also make great gifts.  We meant to save ours for the holidays, but it’s hard to wait that long when you just want to share the joy.

Cute labels with hearts are a very important part of the canning process.

Is there a party in your pantry?  I’d love to hear about it.

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6 responses to “There’s a party in my

    • Gulo….where ya been?

      You can party in my pantry anytime. Said without innuendo and with only a small giggle instead of a snort.

      Growth and maturity, baby.

  1. Sad to say the Redneck and I didn’t get to canning this year as I’d hoped. I still have pickles and jam from last year though.
    I know my blog has changed a lot from when I started. I always love your local take on stuff. Especially your “Overheard” stuff. I’m still following, so I guess “sedate” is okay with me.
    LOVE the pics of your “party”. I’m envious.

    • And your “Just Sayin’s” are still a highlight of my weekly reads. Sounds like you’ve been really busy. There’s always next year, and hopefully we’ll have a better peach/tomato season. xo

  2. The jar of Willa Crick peach jam is to die for! And we ain’t even opened it up, yet. It sits out as a decoration cuz it’s too cute to dig into. It’s also a reminder of the 30 years my folks ran a 200-tree peach orchard in dear ole Willa Crick. The peach trees are all gone now, but this jar of Willa Crick peach jam from ya’ll is a nice reminder of the hours and hours and hours of canning my mother used to do to put up the mass amounts of Ball jars filled with preserved country goodness.

    • Aw, that’s sweet….I don’t think I knew about the peach orchard….but you’ve gotta eat it. I’ll make more next year – promise. I wonder if it tastes good on B & M bread?

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