Today James and I attended the Haak family Christmas. It was right in Herreid, so sort of a no brainer that we should be there. It is always interesting as to who shows and who doesn’t. Two of his sisters were missing. One was on call (she is the nurse amongst the siblings) and the other was home because she had a reaction to getting a pneumonia vaccination. I tell you one doesn’t know which way to turn with some of that. No wonder my primary doctor is my chiropractor. I keep telling myself that as long as I don’t go to get checked on anything then I don’t have it. Of course in my family we all die of stupidity anyway, and there isn’t really a test for that. Enough said.
The gathering was at the local community center/skating rink and most of the younger ones put on skates and had a good time after we ate and the tables were cleared. Each year that we gather, most of James’ siblings exchange a small gift for each other as couples. It started with the idea that we would give each other something that we had on hand. The farmers might give everyone a ring of sausage they had made in the fall butchering. The gardeners (like me) often give a canned item, some would purchase a plate and fill it will baked goods. We have gotten items of woodworking or sewing and on and on. Lately it is more and more items that were purchased, and I am ready for it all to end because we have more than we need of items setting around the house.
This year, James and I, mostly me, decided we would give some of the pepper jelly that is in the cabinet in the basement. I went back into this blog to see when I first made this jelly, and found the initial write up on Sept. 12, 2014. It was somehow in a two part blog. I found the recipe in the Ball Blue Book of Canning and it is pretty good, though lots of work. I haven’t really used it because it turned out too runny. I think perhaps I didn’t cook it long enough. Well, today we took 10 of those little jars to the kitchen and dumped them into a kettle and began to boil them down. When they had boiled for around 20 minutes, I turned off the heat and added a packet of pectin then resealed them and processed them for 10 minutes. They are now thick. The only problem is that I thought I could go from 10 jars to 9, but ended up with only 6 1/2 jars. I needed 7 for the gift exchange. I gave one of James’ sisters a different jar of jelly as we see her quite often. Then we skipped the two who were not able to attend with the idea that we will get them their gift later. As it was, I took that 1/2 jar and used it for snacks at the gathering. I was surprised that there were good remarks. I served the jelly on crackers spread with creamed cheese. You couldn’t really tell that it was pepper jelly, so perhaps it would be ok to use more jalapeño if I ever do it again.
Not too much else to report for today. We did downsize by one cardboard box and seven jelly jars. I am happy about the cardboard box, but the jelly jars not so much. Someone in the group told me they don’t make jelly and would be happy to offer me some jars. Bring them anytime. I started to realize today, we need to get rid of the dead space in the garden and plant more tomatoes and peppers again. Enough of this cutting back. It is the canning and the garden work that keeps some of us going. Enough for now, stay warm and Happy 22 days until Christmas……