Saturday, August 20, 2011

Catching up... a report

It was a big practice day today: 2 hours on the piano and an hour and 45 minutes on the cello. I'm wiped out! In a good way. Lot's of loosening up on my left side. Feels like tectonic shift. It amazes me how so much of keyboard and neck (cello) maneuverability makes use of so many muscles (all!) of the hands, arms, shoulder girdle, neck, etc. etc., and how deep those muscles go... all the way back to the spine... core. :) ... I almost forgot: I've started 2nd position on the cello. Fun, fun!

I also made some jam: cherry jam. It's a small recipe--uses just 1 lb. of cherries and makes half a pint. This is perfect for a single person like myself. Cherries, zest and juice of 1 lime, almond extract (~1/8 tsp.) and 1/2 - 2/3 c. sugar. I licked the pot after it was done cooking... ooooyum! Can't wait for breakfast tomorrow morning. I'll snap of picture of it in the morning as it tops my toast with cherry goodness.

On my visit to the Greenpoint farmer's market this afternoon I bought enough tart apples to make "Apple Pie Jam". Does that not sound divine!? (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger...) When I get to boiling it up I'll post the recipe. I also have it in mind to make some strawberry jam.

A few years ago I made some rhubarb-raisin jam that I am still enjoying. I often use less sugar than a recipe calls for because I like a slightly tart finish to my preserves. I'm not fond of ultra-sugary food. That's why I like to make my own. I know exactly what goes into the jam and I control how much. No preservatives, fresh produce. And it's so simple isn't it? :) Lining up a row of freshly made preserves is as satisfying as pulling a hank off a niddy-noddy and that is pretty darned satisfying.

I learned something a few years ago about processing preserves and it is that jams that are going to be placed in the refrigerator can do without processing.... After the jar is filled to within 1/2" - 3/4" of the top, cap it and turn it upside down while the preserve is still boiling hot. Works for me!

On the fiber front I've starting spinning some New Zealand for a fine 3-ply yarn. I want to knit Kaffe Fasset's "Foolish Virgins" scarf. There's a picture of it on Rowan's site ( Foolish Virgins ). The thing is it requires 23 different colors! An ounce or less of each. So I'm going to try spinning up this New Zealand and apportioning the yarn into 1 oz. skeins to dye myself. Should be a fun and exciting adventure!

Progress continues on the rug.


  1. Hiya,

    Do you use pectin in your jams, or do you rely on the fruit's natural pectin?

    I have a basement closet full of plum, yellow plum, triple berry, and blueberry lime jam. Happiness...

  2. Michele, Up to now I've relied on the fruit's natural pectin since that's what the recipes I followed stated to do.

    The apple-pie jam recipe which I will hopefully make this weekend calls for a bit of pectin. I may have to shop around to find it.

    Your basement pantry sounds fabulous!


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