This weekend was absolutely filled to the brim with rewards.
To finally overcoming the (irrational) fear of the pressure canner. YES! I finally triumphed!
Now let me explain, the first time we, Hubs and I, tried the pressure canner things just didn’t go as they should. It struggled to reach 11 pounds pressure, the pressure gauge steamed up so we could hardly read it. Then, just as it reached pressure it let out whistle so loud that, if we had crystal in the house it would have likely shattered. The dog hightailed it to the farthest point away, as we were left standing there with our fingers in our ears, trying to make sense of what was happening and wondering if it would ever stop. It only quit once we turned off the stove. So we hung up our pressure canning hats till a later date, removed the plugs and had since been using the canner solely as a water bath canner. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook then you should know all to well the volume of pickles (tomato, cucumber, zucchini) that I have been putting up.
I finally found my resolve to win out over my nerves and set about giving it another go. Did it go swimmingly? Nope, the first attempt the lid didn’t seal tight, leaks appeared in a couple of spots and the pressure refused to rise. After conferring with the Handsome Hubs I took it off the heat, wiped all the seals and edges down, and tried again. What a difference. The steady steam started almost immediately, the lock popped up and once the weight was in place the pressure steadily rose. It took some serious hovering to keep the pressure ‘just so’ but, after 75 minutes, plus cool down time, I was giddy as I heard the sweet pings of the lids sing, one after another, until all 7 pints sealed. (Insert Happy Dance)
It hasn’t been just pressure canning that has proven to be taxing. I have also spent many a week trying to create a good working relationship with my sourdough starter. Now, you all know I can bake a loaf of bread as seen here and here and even, here. But sourdough has been my Sasquatch, remaining elusive. Giving just a slight promise of being proven attainable but never seeing 100% actual proof. This starter was created with the wild yeast from my organically grown red cabbage. I used a method I found on Two Sisters Bakery Recipe Blog. Creating the starter has proven to be the easy part. Turning that starter into the perfect loaf of sourdough bread, well let’s just say there have been plenty of door stops, literally. Each week I would attempt to bake up a batch. Some weeks the bread had a great tangy taste but was so dense it was better suited as a bat, door stop or chicken feed (after being soaked). Other weeks the loaves would rise and be light and airy yet the flavor was reminiscent of plain ol’ white bread and while palatable, it just wasn’t what I was after. Until this past weekend when this is what I pulled out of the oven
Not a huge rise, but at least something that resembled what it actually was and not a weapon.
That crust; thick and crunchy. The interior; chewy, tangy and fluffy. Oh it was so good we (truth, mostly me) nearly ate an entire loaf still hot from the oven. Still too small to make a decent sandwich but perfectly worthy of soft butter and soup soaking.
If all that weren’t enough, our Easter hatch girls have begun to Join the Layer’s Club! Bubble the Marans/Orpington mix started laying a week ago and has laid an egg everyday since.
Sunday, the Olive Egger, BamBam joined the club with our first ever olive-green egg. We are stoked (too So Cal??) to finally have a new egg color in our basket and hope she lays as faithfully as Bubbles.
Bunny, the other Marans/Orpington mix is acting like she will be rounding out the new layer’s membership sometime this week.
Pressure canning, delicious sourdough, olive colored eggs, all add up to a happy, happy homesteader.