Monday, November 24, 2014

Way Back When ....

I had to walk 6 miles in the snow to get to school every day!!  Just kidding, I rode the bus for 90 minutes each way instead!!  Seems like a hundred years ago, but Miss Patty Chance and I aren't THAT old yet!  Way back in the dark ages however, when digital cameras didn't even exist, Patty became my good friend as we rode on the back of Harleys around the country.  Yup ... Harley Babes!  You never guessed that, right??  When Patty wasn't working as an ER nurse, we were traipsing off to photograph flowers, driving to Santa Cruz for antiques (where Patty would snip pieces of plants with her nurse scissors from stranger's front yards), or sharing all the vegetables we grew in our gardens, along with a little crafting of wild grape vine wreaths and quilting.  One of the best things we did was make jelly and jam from whatever we could find available.  In those days, I could cook pretty well!!

For the last fourteen years however, I've lost most of those cooking skills from lack of use.  Maybe not LOST them, but they are definitely rusty!!  My friend Chris LOVES pumpkin butter, and since that USED to be right up my alley, I agreed to make some for her.  As I gathered my supplies and utensils, I double checked my old recipe to be sure I had everything in stock.  THAT seems to be my downfall ... not having all of the EXACT ingredients!!  When I substitute things like cream mixed with water for milk, or oreo cookies for "chocolate cookies" is when I get in trouble!!  It brought back a lot of memories as I carefully measured everything into my cooking pot.
I still have everything I used to use in canning ... not sure why I kept it all ... because they are antiques, I guess!!  In the old days, we never gave safety a second thought.  My mom and I canned everything from tomatoes to beef, and I spent many hours in the kitchen timing the salmon and tuna I pressure canned.  Nowadays, they have put out the big scare about salmonella and basically recommend you NOT can anything!!  Pumpkin is at the TOP of the list of no-no's.  Usually, jams and jellies don't have to be pressure cooked like vegetables, as long as the bottles seal.  We used to just store them on the shelf in the pantry.  Now however, everything goes in the refrigerator that isn't pressure-canned.  

At any rate, I stirred and stirred, getting splattered with screaming hot pieces of pumpkin that popped out of the pot.  It's so very thick, it's like lava or those mud pots in Yellowstone National Park.  In fact so thick that I thinned it down with some Apple Juice, keeping my fingers crossed it would turn out okay!!  Finally done, I carefully measured it into the sterile jars, and using an old pair of hemostats (given to me by Miss Patty, I'm sure), set the seals on, placed the top on and twisted them tight.  
Once they cool down, you can hear the lids pop as they seal.  Off to the fridge for storage!!  The entire process took about an hour.  If you're interested in inexpensive Christmas gifts, this is a great one.  Just remember to tell them to keep it in the fridge, whether open or not.  These will receive a cute label you can print yourself, along with a ribbon tied on top.  How easy was that!!!
The good news is that Chris called this morning to say it was Delicious with a capital D!!  Finally ... one more recipe that didn't go in the trash!!!  

P.S.  The peanut butter pie??  The peanut butter mousse was yummy ... the oreo cookie crust so hard I couldn't break it with a fork.  Oh well ..... it was HALF good!!!


  1. I wonder how is survive all the year with all the do’s and don’ts. My parents were farmers they can everything as stored it in the cellar.
    Jim m,
    P.S. In a pass life I did photography as a hobby. Did a lot of black & white. Now that going back to the stone age :)

    1. Hahaha ... Jim ... I think black and white was in the Jurassic Age, wasn't it?? Did you keep your film in the fridge?? I remember waiting not so patiently for the pictures to get back to the drug store. I don't know how we survived all this time on canned food and meat hung in the garage for days. It certainly made us a hardy lot I think!!

  2. Nancy, are you going to loan Nick a sledgehammer? Also remember he isn't very good with tools. Jim

    1. I have a nice BIG sledgehammer for him, Jim ... but you're right, maybe Miss Terry should be the destroyer!! I'm betting she's pretty happy with his decision to get a new one!!