August 28, 2011

the obligatory garden update

holy crap, zinnias!!!

holy crap, tomatoes!!!

holy crap, flowers!
(out of focus bee balm, finally bloomed!)





holy crap, tomatillos!!!
(so heavy some of the branches fell off SADFACE)

holy crap, the first broccoli!!

holy crap, ripe salsa peppers!!

holy crap ... oh wait.

I took one photo of the beans on the trellis, turned my back for a second, and turned back around to discover THIS TRAGEDY.

fortunately I already had nineteen!!!! POUNDS!!! OF BEANS!! in my refrigerator so honestly this is probably a godsend. although I hadn't really planned to spend the next hour in the garden trying to clean up the bean trellis, but that's OK. the beans are down and gone now. the edamame is like, 'who turned on the sun??' but that's good, it's just beginning to develop pods itself.

those beans

I spent the entire day today canning beans. I've never canned a thing in my life so it is a BIG DAY PEOPLE. big day.

first: assemble your ingredients:
please note coffee press on right, completely necessary ingredient although if you're me you'll get too distracted by all the canning instructions and let it get cold and then feel sad because you can't microwave it, since you don't have a microwave

the beans in question SWEET LORD IN HEAVEN

there really were, as I said above, nineteen pounds of beans.

the pressure canner:
I like its heavenly glow.

guys, I gotta tell you. I am terrified of anything that involves things under high pressure. for the love of god, I made scott inflate my bike tire last time, because I was absolutely petrified that it would blow up and kill me. of course, I'd already had a bike tire blow up in my face, but still. and here I am with this machine in my kitchen that has glass jars inside it -- hot glass jars -- and I have to somehow be brave and use it if I want to keep all nineteen pounds of beans.

NINETEEN POUNDS!! I can't get over it

okay, anyway. first I made three jars of refrigerator dilly beans/pickled green beans, because oh man I love pickles and I was kind of scared to start canning, so it was a good diversionary tactic. then, I made three jars of canned dilly beans from this recipe from Food in Jars, which uses the boiling water method. (you can use the boiling water method if you're brining the beans, but you have to pressure can if you're just canning them in water, because of their low acidity).

then. I fired up the pressure canner. I read the instructions like four times. I prepped my work station.


I only have one larger pot, other than the pressure canner (which is borrowed from Scott, actually), and so I had to heat up the jars inside the canner, which was at a simmer. the lids got heated up in a saucepan, and the water for the jars boiled on the back burner. it was quite a setup, but it worked. I ended up with seven jars of beans. I'd aimed for eight (all my remaining pint jars), but hadn't quite prepped enough beans. that's OK.

once the beans were packed and ready, I put the lid on the canner, said a prayer, and waited.

and waited.

I expected the pressure to begin to rise immediately upon sealing the lid, but that's not what happened. the overpressure valve was steaming A LOT but it seemed OK (it's supposed to pop off if you exceed 15 pounds of pressure). I got nervous and googled "how long to build pressure in canner" and felt better when the average was 10-15 minutes. OH. okay. so I waited some more.


after about 10 minutes, I was still here. what gives, guys. but then! the overpressure valve? it must have been seated funny or something because suddenly it made a little SCHLOOP sound and all the hissing stopped. it had been releasing steam! then we were IN BUSINESS Y'ALL.


then it was a game called 'crap, move the pot before the pressure builds too high.' the beans had to process for 20 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure. the struggle then became how to keep it at 10 rather than higher. I ended up having to bump the burner down almost to off to get it there; obviously the inside of the canner was really effing hot.

but I got there. and managed to follow all the after-care instructions to the tee, so that I did not, as I feared I might, blow up the kitchen. SUCCESS.

I still had so many beans I had to blanch and freeze two gallon-sized bags of them in order to be done. And I threw out two gallon bags which had been in there a little too long. AND I still have a huge bowl of fresh beans in the fridge. beans for everybody!

#21: movies in the park
last night, I met some friends at laurelhurst park for a picnic dinner and a free viewing of the social network, as part of portland parks and rec's movies in the park series. it was great! we got there way too early and had to suffer through the live music, which was ... not so good. but we ate a lot of cheese and hummus and crackers and there was FREE CANDY! and free popcorn, which I can really get behind.

AND!! fred armisen and carrie brownstein, of portlandia fame, were there! here is a photo of them:


super impressive, I know. I have an awesome camera.

anyway, they talked and showed a hilarious clip of portlandia about movies in the park, and then we watched the movie. which was good. particularly because you could look up and see the big dipper!


people, this list is saving my life lately. although the whole truth is, fulfilling list items is a double-edged sword; it gives me a useful agenda, but was written with the intention of doing most of the items with a certain someone. I'm trying, you guys.

oh, right

holy crap, garlic!

this is all garlic from my garden. it's been curing outside in the sun for a few weeks. isn't it awesome?! I grew it!

big garlic, wee garlic: a study:

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