The cupboard is definitely not bare.

by threegirlpileup

This is the cabinet where I have been storing all my canned goods, and I have apparently managed to fill it up.  While it is not literally packed full, I can’t add anything else without hiding it behind other jars, so I think it’s time to relocate the stash to a shelf in the basement.  It won’t be quite as convenient for either grabbing or admiring, but it is much cooler and darker.  This has been my most ambitious season of canning and putting up food ever, in part due to my recent re-read of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle–and in part due to the fact that Anna is now old enough that these projects are doable again.

The kids have been a big help as we’ve canned more stuff this past week, particularly pickles.  I’ve been very inspired by The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich.  I’ve also been trying to find new ways to use my many hot peppers in one recipe or another, and this book gave me lots of ideas.

Anna helped me with a batch of zucchini relish–no hot peppers, but it did make good use of the last of the zucchinis.

I have been nervous about letting Anna use the grater, but she managed to work on the zucchini without taking any skin off her knuckles.

Both the girls pitched in to help with Zydeco Beans, a variation on dilly beans with plenty of garlic and hot peppers.  I hadn’t realized that a lot of vegetable canning/pickling is actually a better project for the kids than jam, because a lot of the work is done with cool or raw veggies.  In this case, we measured spices and garlic into the jars, and then packed the raw beans into the jars.

I’ve also gotten a few great ideas for using up my hot peppers–after all, how many dried cayenne peppers can one familiy actually consume in a year?  On the left above is a bottle of pique, a west indian hot sauce that is basically vinegar with hot peppers and garlic.  I also pickled a batch of my jalepeños.

Still to come–more tomatoes.  There’s a big box of them awaiting my attention in the kitchen.  Plus cucumbers, probably more refrigerator pickles for Steve.  And maybe one more batch of hot pepper jelly–I love it so much, and the red peppers from my garden are just too thin-walled to be good for roasting.  You can’t really have too much pepper jelly, I don’t think.

And by the way, if anyone has seen my jar lifter, could you let me know where it is?  I’m not doing such a good job of winging it with my kitchen tongs.