When pears are ready

These pears are not ready so don’t get excited. I looked up how to tell when pears are ready and found out a little info. When you go to pull on the pear gently horizontally, if it comes off easily and without any pulling or twisting of the stem it is ready. This Bartlett pear is doing the best it’s ever done this year. My husband thinks that it is due to pruning which we really didn’t do tons of but I think it is the year. We have had a wet late Spring into a cool Summer and just now the fruit is ripening up still a few weeks behind schedule like everything else. I had looked up a place to pick pears but now I realize we won’t need to pick any this year afterall. There are so many on this tree it’s amazing. There are also several fruit trees in our area that are not tended and so we go pick those as well usually on a “fruit theft” trip.  Pears canned this year will mean no buying those little diced pears in cups for the girls to eat. They love canned pears as do I. Peaches not so much canned so I am trying to do other things with the peaches this year we have purchased or picked from a local orchard.

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Corn Relish Making

I love corn relish and although my husband doesn’t I decided to make three big jars this year. My Mom mentioned it’s good to eat at Thanksgiving so I felt it was my duty to provide it again! I also make a Thanksgiving pinata but that is another story.

I modified this recipe a little bit and I put regular onion in it and omitted the hot pepper.

Fiesta Corn Relish
makes about 2 pints

5-6 ears fresh corn
1 hot pepper, seeded and finely chopped (leave the seeds in if you like it really hot)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 c cider vinegar
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c red onion, chopped
1/2 c sweet red pepper, chopped
1/3 c green onions, chopped
1 t ground cumin
1 t pickling salt
1/2 t ground black pepper
2 T cilantro, chopped

Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat.  Add corn and cook for 6 minutes.  Drain and cool until you can handle it.  Cut off the kernels until you have 4 cups of corn.  Put the corn into a large pot (not aluminum).

Add hot pepper, garlic, vinegar, sugar, red pepper, red onion, green onion, cumin, salt and pepper to pan with corn.  Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat and let it boil gently for 20 minutes.  Stir in cilantro and cook for 2 more minutes.  Take it off the heat.

Ladle the relish into hot jars and process for 15 minutes using standard canning procedures.
hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

Our garden and local eating

This year started out ok with the garden but then most of the summer was spent outside watching the girls play in the limited sunshine and the weeds took over. We got a half share from a CSA and use that and what did grow this summer to make yummy meals lately.

I have been thinking about what we eat the most of and how to make that ourselves. Looking into that is problematic because certain items are cheaper purchased like pasta because I would have to buy a pasta machine to make it myself. I would like to only eat fish and any meat would be something that I raised myself. I can’t buy chicken too much because it doesn’t seem necessary and also seems to detached from the animal itself after it is in the package at the store.

We have layer hens and when they are done laying eggs they retire and hang out pretty much. I couldn’t eat them because they have names and personalities and they are pets not meat birds.

Thinking in terms of cheeses which we enjoy I can make mozzarella and other cheese with a local dairy milk. It’s one of the only ones that isn’t ultra-pasteurized so the cheese making will actually work with it. I am so sad because I found out the dairy goat farm is gone in our area. Or the one that I was attached to. I was told they sold the goats and farm and are not in the business anymore. I of course would love to have taken over the whole thing but it wouldn’t have been in our price range at all so it’s ok. I will let it go. Ommm.

 

Eating

I thought about deleting the blog but then had second thoughts about it again already. I haven’t even posted once yet!

The idea is that since I have a vision of what my family and I should and should not be eating and where it comes from and the steps toward that, I should chronicle that.

I ate a little meat until I was 12 years old. Then my parents went on a diet or something and only ate fish or chicken as meats. I got so sick of chicken that by the time I was 16 I decided to be vegetarian. I did that until I was about 25 or so I believe. The moment happened when I grabbed a piece of turkey out of my then boyfriend’s bagel sandwich and liked it. I then went vegetarian off an on for a couple years and then transitioned into someone who eats some chicken and always fish throughout the year.

Eating has been an off and on again interest or conscious observance in my life. There were times I didn’t care what I was eating and often stopped for last minute dinner items after work. I did that because I could and we could afford to so it worked out.

After covering a lot of agricultural subjects at my job as a reporter I then specialized in writing about farming and crops including vineyards/wineries and extended my own garden at home in our small yard in Portland.

I thought I would get another degree in horticulture so I quit my job and went to school but then realized that the classes weren’t that necessary for me to be able to write about horticulture or agriculture. I continued to do agricultural writing for several years and talked to farmer after farmer on large and small scales about all kinds of subjects from business to bugs. When I was at a farmer’s market back in 2002 I had this turning moment I guess you would call it. There was a man who unloaded a large crate of beautiful peaches that came from his farm or orchard. There were people excited to buy them. I looked at that and had this moment of total excitement feeling as if that was the most wonderful thing in the world to be able to do. Give other people excellent local food that you grew.

After having two children I didn’t spend too much time on meals because I couldn’t or didn’t prioritize trying anything new. My interests have ebbed and flowed between winemaking, her growing, soapmaking, sewing, painting, writing, researching, cooking, baking bread, and all of those and more.