Sunday, March 24, 2013

Canning Adventures

I've decided to get back into the swing of canning! To start, I've been using my pressure canner as a hot water bath canner for dilly beans and pickled asparagus. These were  both successful (recipes below). Next up, I'm going to try chili and chicken broth in the pressure canner!

Spicy Dilly Bean (or Asparagus) Pints
4lbs green beans
10 hot peppers (I used serrano)
10 heads dill
10 cloves garlic
20-100 pepper corns (2-10 per jar, depending on your preference)
5c white vinegar
5c water
1/2c canning salt

1- Prep: sanatize each jar, check for cracks, prep lids and rings. See the blue ball book for specifics on this process. Prep the canner, filling it half way with water (if you're using a pressure canner, take off the pressure guage and the pressure release valve). Bring water in canner to 140F to prep for jars.
2- In the bottom of each jar, put one head dill, one pepper, one clove garlic, and 2-10 whole peppercorns.
2- Put vinegar, water, and salt in a pot. Bring to a boil. When it reaches a boil, reduce and hold a simmer.
3- Pack the beans (or asparagus) into the jars, leaving 1/2" of headspace. Pour brine in using a canning funnel (keeping the headspace). Put on lid and ring and tighten down. Do this to all the jars.
4- Put the jars in the preheated canner, making sure the jars are covered by at least 1" of water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes.
5- Remove the jars (using a jar lifter!) and let rest 12-24 hours. Check all the seals. The lid shouldn't "ping" or "flex" at this point. Store for 4-8 weeks before consuming so the flavor develops.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Plopping... sounds bad, is actually good

I'm just on a beauty kick, aren't I? Who would have thought it.

I'll start with an anecdote. My mother hoped beyond hope that one day I'd be a real member of this "female" group that I'm part of. When I was a kid, I wanted none of it. I wouldn't wear pink, I refused to brush my hair, and I had no interest in dress-up or make-up. She'll be so disappointed to know that I still refuse to brush my hair.... sort of. I now do what's known as the "curly girl" method of hair care. I haven't read the actual book about it, because I'm lazy, but I found enough online to be going along with. Here's the basics:
-I don't brush my hair except immediately before a shower.
-I don't use shampoo, just a sulfate- and silicone-free conditioner. (No fear, conditioners still have some surfactant activity). This is the infamous "no-poo" method.
-I plop my hair. That isn't what it sounds like! Basically, it just means that post-shower, while my hair is still nice and wet, I put a little bit of silicone-free mouse in and lay it down on a flour sack towel, that I then tie on my head. No rubbing, etc. It let's the hair dry in a "scrunched" position, which results in much curlier curls. This is because gravity isn't stretching your curls as they dry. I usually leave my hair scrunched about 45 minutes. A lot of people have to do less, apparently, since they get a bunch of frizz otherwise. To each their own. The key here is to not let terrycloth (the classic towel material) near your hair. It catches on the curls and yanks them out of formation. At least, that's my understanding of it.
That's it! I let my hair down, it dries the rest of the way, and curls galore!

Before picture (how my hair used to look):


Now after (how my hair looks now):
The after! Look at those curls!