Monday, September 28, 2009

New Projects

I haven't been posting much but Jeff and I have been up to lots of new projects in our new apartment. It's nice having a kitchen big enough for two of us to work without bumping elbows trying to slice veggies.

Our vegetable garden has been a great success, so far I've eaten probably a dozen yellow plum cherry tomatoes from my giant tomato plant; we've had four ripe orange and one green habañeros for hot sauce and two ho-chi-minh chiles (one ripened to yellow). The Thai chile plant has at least two dozen tiny chiles and one has burst into a bright red color seemingly overnight. Unfortunately our strawberry plant is in recovery from some spider mites but they seem to be gone (for now) and our one strawberry is starting to get bigger.

We've also started on some bigger projects. Last month we bought a wine making kit and some grape juice (sauvignon blanc grape juice), and it's busy clarifying right now for the next two weeks. Unfortunately, our kit came with isinglass which we used as we didn't have anything else for clarifying, so our wine isn't actually vegetarian. Next time we will research alternatives and make a totally vegan wine.

I've got some pickles that have been jarred (it was my first time canning!) and they're sitting until early October. I made some quick pickles a few weeks ago and they were delicious, so I hope these come out just as good. I want to can some pumpkin butter next, and now that I have a real pumpkin to use (instead of canned), I'm excited to try that out.

Jeff and I also experimented with soda and made a batch of ginger ale using a great recipe online. We found sassafras root bark at Harvest Co-op and purchased some to make root beer. Maybe I'll try that out this weekend. The ginger ale was delicious, although it was completely unlike any commercial soda I have ever consumed. It's got a bit of a beer-y taste, which is not surprising considering the soda is made by a yeast process. There's actually a tiny bit of alcohol in the soda (nothing you can really tell by drinking one bottle of it) and the carbonation is quite pleasing. I used quick bread yeast, but I think I'll experiment with ale yeasts once I get to the homebrew store again.

In the meantime, if you want to keep up with our soda or wine making exploits, check out or Facebook pages for them.

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