The cat, the cukes and the chickens

It’s a lock-in at my Mom and Dad’s house while I cat sit Mr. Kitty, can the cukes and make chicken broth. Here is Mr. Kitty ready to pounce on my lap. He seems to decide to lap sit just when I get my rug hooking started.

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We are surrounded by the trees, bees and a burnt orange butterfly that visited while I was plucking the cucumbers yesterday. Bunnies hop away quick since they are not use to seeing someone in their yard so early in the morning.

Cukes needs to be scrubbed and graded before they can be processed. Add a little pepper, garlic, bay leaf, dill seed to the jar for a zippy flavor. The brine is flavored with Penzey’s Pickling Spice which smells oh so good to me. I decided that the clove scent is what I like most about this mix.

I have not gotten the opportunity to water bath process cukes since my garden only produces enough for fresh eating or refrigerator pickles. Since this canner holds 8 jars, I thought I would process a pint and open it right away to evaluate flavor and crunch versus refrigerating only.

I follow the kosher dill pickle recipe from the Ball Blue Book of Canning that my sister-in-law Mary gave to me as a gift. I make notes so that I can replicate the recipe in following years.

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I almost forgot about the chickens part of this post since I could gush about my pickles at length. Just know that if I share a pickle with you, you are a chosen one. haha! Seriously, I will be pacing opening the jars throughout the winter. Right now, I can enjoy a little more than a jar a month since I have 14 jars canned.

My nephew has egg laying chickens but they have reduced their output so off to the butcher some went. They made nourishing chicken stock when combined with surplus produce from my parents’ garden. I follow the Cancer Fighting Kitchen by Rebecca Katz recipe which includes 2 secret ingredients, leeks and allspice berries that elevate the flavor to the best stock ever! I’ll freeze these and use to make rice, quinoa, crock pot beans and hearty winter soup. Broth is also very good sipped on super cold days or when my fingers are freezing!

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It’s a circle of life and we can’t all eat plants. Interestingly, I was reminded of that in the middle of the night. I heard screeching so paths were crossed in the forest. Nature circles are kept in balance so I take comfort in this philosophy. Now if nature would only take care of those asian beetles attacking my Linden and apple trees, I would be thankful for that too!

What does Mr. Kitty do while I am in the kitchen? A little napping, a little playing with a favorite toy from Aunt Cheryl, a little zoomies and then back to napping. Oh, and can I have some more crunchies please? My tummy is empty…all…the…time…

from Super Awesome Canner Shirley and Mr. Kitty

 

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