I wouldn't have picked to be doing "fun" canning today, as I have a list of not as fun things, that really need to get done, but it was necessary. I have pears and tomatillos that need to be processed before they go bad, and I had specific things in mind. I didn't know if I could get away with freezing and doing these fun goodies later, so I bit the bullet and got started.
Tomatillos did pretty well in my garden this year. I only had 4 plants and the yield was a solid half bushel, or more. I've not done much with them, as I'm not super familiar with them, but decided that some salsa was in order. I found a recipe online, and other than substituting a sweet pepper for most of the jalapenos, and parsley for the cilantro, I followed it. The resulting salsa was fabulous! I had a small amount left, after jarring, that wasn't enough to really put in a jar so I put it in a pan, laid some fish on top, covered and simmered. It was delicious!! I am loving the local fish lately.
I made another double batch of Chunky Spiced Pear Jam, which we have been enjoying on toast, lately.
One thing I've been wanting to try my hand at, is chutney. I have never made any and can't say that I've done much with the store bought form, either, but I do love the chutneys that have accompanied meals in fancy restaurants. Pears just seem perfect for chutney so I gave it a try. I used a couple different recipes as my inpsiration, but they all seemed pretty similar to this one, except I added dry mustard (about 1 tsp) and cinnamon (also a tsp), no red pepper flakes (Husband prefers less spice than more), Honey instead of Brown Sugar, so only about 1/2 the amount called for, as I find it to be sweeter than sugar. I also grated, with a microplane, the garlic, instead of just letting it simmer and remove. That just seems crazy to me. Garlic is so yummy, you can't just take it out!
I'm pleased with how it all came out. I have a few more pears that I'm trying to figure out something special for, and a few more tomatillos that I'm just going to can up like regular tomatoes, for use in sauce this winter. I love the tangy sweet flavor and I think they will compliment a tomato sauce, quite nicely.
Tomorrow, more apples! Looking for Chuntey recipes for the apples, and I might try that Chunky Spiced Jam recipe with the apples. I really prefer jam over jelly.
I've been remiss in introducing you to our newest breeding buck. He came with the name Sam, and I'm tyring to decide if I'll keep that name. My other bucks are Almanzo, Henry and Jack. Boy names are harder to pick, than girls, I think. I have enough bucks, but Sam needed to be saved. He is from Virginia's first litter, and he's just too good to end up being dinner. He has a very nice form, but he wouldn't work for Virginia, as she has his mom and full sister as breeding does. He will stay here and she will get a different buck from me, who isn't closely related to her does. So until I figure out how many bucks I'm going to keep, and which ones, he's going to hang out here. He seems to like his new home, and has transitioned well to the whole food diet.
I haven't mentioned the chickens lately. They are certainly not center stage on the homestead this year. We have found we just really enjoying eating duck and rabbit more, so the chickens are fewer. Chicken is still a popular dish around here, but I love the darkness of duck meat, and rabbit is just phenomenal, and so easy to harvest, that I don't really mind not doing all the business of plucking chickens.
Well, tonight, the young laying hens were moved to the laying coop. It was a bit of a project, so one I have been procrastinating, but Husband helped and it went smoothly. All the old ladies had their bands removed. I checked to see if they seemed to still be laying. Those believed to be laying recieved a pink band.
All the young girls were banded with clear, but there are a couple who have already started laying, so I tried to identify them, and those who I believed were laying got a yellow band. I did this so that in the Spring I can breed from them, as they are the early maturing birds, and the older girls are still laying after the fall equinox, so kudos to them.
The bands are just zip ties from the hardware store. They stay on well, are inexpensive, easy to find and come in a variety of colors, so they are a great option for temporary identification. Identification is very important if you want to form a good breeding flock, and breed well, which I hope to be able to do.