12 Day of Crafting, Canning

12 Days of Crafting

 

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It’s December 1st! Bust out the Christmas tree, deck the halls, get ready to roast some chestnuts, and so on.  I can hear the carols playing already. Although, I’m not as gung ho as my dear friend, Lindsey of Sweet Tweats, (you should totally check out her page, by the way), I have been putting a splash of eggnog in my coffee for a couple of weeks now and I am definitely looking forward to seeing my family for a White Christmas in the Northeast.

But what’s got me the most excited about the Christmas season this year? Crafting!   I will be participating in my first craft fair!  This is something I have always wanted to do.  Admittedly, it has always seemed a little far out of reach and intimidating, but I’m doing it! I will be a vendor at the BluebonnetBazaar!IMG_1368

This little market will be taking place on Saturday, December 13th in South Austin.  Everyday leading up to the Bazaar, I will share a post highlighting an item that I have made and will be available at my booth.

IMG_1370This post is dedicated to Day 1 of the 12 Days of Crafting: Blackberry Bourbon Jam! This jam is the perfect blend of tart, caramelized, spiced goodness.  My apartment now smells like a bourbon distillery after cooking the jam down for a few hours.  I even had a neighbor know on my door to let me know how great it smelled!

For more information on the Bluebonnet Bazaar, check out their Facebook Event with updates and other links: Bluebonnet Bazaar Facebook Event

 

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Better than Bread & Butter

B&B PicklesAbout few year ago, I discovered canning.  I can hear it now… you are gasping! “How could you discover canning?!” or even, “It can’t be, no!”   It is true, I truly discovered canning.  I discovered how truly amazing it is.  I had previously heard tales of canning from my grandmother or as an urban myth from Martha Stewart, not ever really believing that it ever really existed.  A bit nieve.  At the time, I thought it was something my grandmother and her sisters and mothers before did to preserve their hard-earned harvest and seasonal crops.  In a time where technology was just evolving (picture horse and buggy, dirt roads, gas lanterns, etc.) Women were born already knowing how to sew, clean, butcher a chicken, and, yes, can.

Myself, I am not a grandmother and I certainly did not know how to can from birth, but I can tell you my grandmother is an inspiration.  Nettie Imhoff.  What a woman.  Born and raised in Texas.  Really… what a woman.

I was baffled the first time she came to the Paisley’s Farmstand and asked for all of their day old pickling cucumbers.  What on earth was she going to do with 10 plus pounds of cucumbers?!  “Make Bread & Butter Pickles,” she said so matter of factly, that I didn’t dare question her.

Weeks later when I was living in a tiny, second story apartment in the heart of downtown Boston I received a package from my Nana.  Low and behold, I found what you can do with ten pounds of cucumbers.  As a foodie, at the time and even now, I am ashamed to say I didn’t like pickles.  Hated them.  If you know my grandmother, you kn0w can’t turn down her food or else lightening will strike you where you stand.  I remember squeamishly opened the jar, pop! Dipping my fingers in the vinegar, pinching a slice between my fingertips, closing my eyes, and throwing it into my mouth.  I didn’t believe it!  It was the most delectable thing I had ever had.  I requested that I receive the packages as often as she could send them, if not sooner.  I tried to make them last, but I couldn’t.  I scowered every grocery and specialty store in the city to find a pickle that could keep me satisfied between batches and seasons.  Nothing.

Years later of just settling with a store bought pickle, I still cringe at the thought, I finally asked my Nana for her secret recipe.  An email later, I began my canning endeavors.  Through trial and error, keeping my fingers crossed, a little bit more bread, and a little bit more butter and now I send my Nana her package of Nettie’s Bread & Butter Pickles.