Monday, November 21, 2011

Sunday puttering

Today was the first weekend day I had been able to spend at home in ages. I had no outings, children’s sporting events, invited guests, or in fact any commitment that interfered with my doing exactly what I wanted (or needed) to do. I mopped the kitchen floor. I cleaned both bathrooms. I did two loads of laundry. I took down the Halloween decorations, and hung an awesome wreath, made entirely of star anise, that SP gave me a couple of weeks ago. I even read for a while. And I did some holiday prep cooking. This morning, I canned six jars of blackberry-apple butter that I had cooked down overnight in the slow cooker. This evening, I cooked a huge batch of cranberry sauce and canned six jars of that as well. I could easily have canned twice that much, but I ran out of small jars, so the rest is cooling in a plastic storage box until I figure out what to do with it next. And in between, I made a batch of Sweet & spicy roasted mixed nuts. (I’m planning to use all of these for gifts, holiday baking, or just to have on hand as needed over the next six weeks.)

I think I feel almost ready to take on another working week. At least one that’s only half as long as usual.

Whole cranberry sauce
One year, I thought this needed something and threw in some lime zest and juice on a whim. It’s become a non-negotiable part of the recipe.

1 bag fresh cranberries
1 cup apple juice
zest & juice of 1 lime
½ - 1 cup sugar
pinch kosher salt

Bring cranberries and juice to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Lower and let simmer until most of the cranberries have popped and the mixture has become thick and saucelike. Add lime juice and zest, then start adding sugar a little at a time until you’ve reached a sweet/tart balance that you’re happy with. Add a pinch of salt and pour into a container to cool until needed. To can, follow the usual method and process in boiling water for 10 minutes.

You could also put this through a food mill if you'd like a smoother, more jelly-like sauce with no skins.

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