Sunday, June 20, 2021

Sunday Stroke Survival: First Canning Session in the New Place

 I had my first order delivered from Walmart Marketplace this week. It's a perk that being back in the big city that I'm finding rather enjoyable. Except several out of stock items were missing and a substitution was made leading to the canning session. My granddaughter is really into Japanese cooking and wanted to learn how to make Pork Tonkatsu so I ordered a whole boneless pork loin. I'd teach her how to break down the loin to make the chops since she thought it would be a good skill set to learn. Well between the time I placed the order and their shopper went to get it, they ran out. GRRR! No Pork Tonkatsu lesson for her. this month 

The other GRRR! moment was had was when they substituted 10lbs of regular green cabbage for Napa Cabbage. I had my heart set on fermenting some kimchee. They are NOT the same thing! What was I to do with 10lbs of green cabbage?! I could have sent it back and got a refund but that would mean waiting until my daughter to get home from work and going to the store. I guess I could have just canned the cabbage plain into jars (yuck! water logged cabbage), but I ran across a YouTube channel that showed how to can coleslaw in a vinegar base pickling it. It is the heyday of summer right now. Quick coleslaw would be excellent. I always say life is about adapting, don't I?

Well, you know my love of YouTube since my stroke. I had never thought to do that before, but there was the recipe from a 1966 Ball Recipe Canning book.  A quick check with other current safe canning websites and with a tweak or two brought the recipe up to today's preserving safe canning standards and you know me I had to adjust the flavor profile a bit to suit us.

The fact that my son-in-law finally got my window air conditioner unit installed this week, God love him, was an added perk for me. It was a warm (90s), humid week in Savannah without it. I'd forgotten how uncomfortable summers could be here after six years away. Plus, being in the city with all the roadways absorbing and releasing the heat of the day. It wasn't cooler at night. Canning in my mother-in-law apartment would have been unbearable without it.

I set about shredding the cabbage. Thank God for my mandolin! Still, quite a bit of chopping was done with my old cleaver. I had four huge heads of cabbages. My cleaver has seen quite a few dozen years service and can still be sharpened to a razor's edge. It makes short work of vegetables and meat alike. I could have just used this to shred all the cabbage but I tend to vary my thicknesses with each slice. Consistency is the key when canning so my mandolin was used. Luckily, they (Walmart) had my order of onions, carrots, vinegars, and spices too. So I set to work. It took me the better part of two and a half days to cut all that cabbage. I ended up with 44 cups of shredded cabbage! I put a couple of large Vidalia onions and a pound of carrots through the mandolin as well. 

I divided all the vegetables between five mounded 7 qt. hospital basins courtesy of my stays at Emory and the NEGRMC, I has prepared the pickling solution while I salted the vegetables. I ended up making five times the recipe for the liquid to have enough. I packed it all into the jars and water bath canned it. I ended up with four dozen pint jars of coleslaw! I think that's a year's worth of fish fries and BBQs, don't you? Now all that is left is to make the pulled pork soft tacos for dinner and clean up. Good thing too 'cause I'm pooped!

An update on Lilbit and her transition to the new place. It took the better part of two weeks for her to acclimate herself to the new home. Now, she's walking around with confidence and her tail is high, She's slowly getting used to seeing through the pet gate across the door leading to the main house. It's a bit disconcerting to her knowing the dog can see through the gate and whines at her. She'll walk over to the gate and touch noses with him to check that he's okay before she continues on her way. 
She thinks it's a grand game when he comes in searching for her, but she's on the back of the recliner watching him go round and round. He never looks up. The only time he barks at her is in frustration like if she's under the bed and he can't get to her. He's too big to fit under there. She gets so lonesome at times. She'd found the spot with the best acoustics, in the small bathroom hallway, to yowl to get my attention no matter where I am in the house. Sometimes she'll just walk up to meowing. She's back into Mommy mode, where Momma has to be in line of site to her every couple of minutes or she'll have to come find me, this now includes the big house. She enjoys exploring it when the dog is in his cage in the mornings. She's three steps behind me unless she smells something interesting. When she loses me, she'll call out. I'll answer her back until she finds me again.

The landscaper friend of my son-in-law came over and cleared out the beds and area where the garden will go. It looks great. Now I see and plan where things are going to grow better. I'll be able to now widen the garden to 40' instead of 30' and still have a 4' border around it.  That will give me three more 50' rows to plant  now corn can be added into the growing plan for next spring. There's a 4' wide growing bed. that's now empty except for a kumquat tree/bush. I can't decide whether to whether to espalier fruit trees along the fence or plant blackberries, raspberries, or blueberries there. I've got until the fall to decide because that neighbor will be replacing the wood fence this summer. What I'll be able to get done will depend on when the kids find another house to buy. I figure with the housing market opening up again, it'll at least take about six months or so. Until then, it's produce what I can and preserve what I harvest. Now to arrange for delivery of that tree service "waste" to set up the garden. I'll still do the market garden setup for optimizing the space I have. Even without selling the produce it still makes sense and cents.

Nothing is impossible.


I love to hear from you! Agree, Disagree, matter. Even if it's to say you were here.