Happy Weekend, Everyone!

(this is my first actual real post on the new site!)

I am excited that it is the weekend, and that it isn’t going to be triple-digit temps. We haven’t gone out to the farmers market for a few weeks now, and I miss my weekly routine. This also means I haven’t really canned anything in a while. Partly because I needed a break from canning, and partly because it has just been too damned hot to a) go hang around outside at the market and b) heat up the house by cooking for long periods of time.

But now the heatwave has broken! And, I got a steam juicer! I have been wanting a steam juicer ever since I got my Jam & Jelly cookbook back in May, but the cheapest one I could find was $90. I really didn’t think I should spend that much on something I won’t use very often, especially since I am running out of space in the kitchen and Sean is getting annoyed at my hoarding of kitchen stuff. However, on July 4 a steam juicer popped up on Zulily for $48 and I just couldn’t pass that deal up.

When I saw the huge box it was shipped it I was worried, but it doesn’t take up nearly as much room as I had feared. The components all nest together so that it doesn’t take up more room than your typical stock pot.

At this point, you have probably been saying, “What the hell is a steam juicer?” since the second paragraph. Well, I don’t blame you. I didn’t know what one was before I read about it in my cookbook.

Basically it is a pot with three parts, that stack on one another. The bottom holds water, the middle layer catches juice, and the top is a basket for the fruit. The middle layer (catch pan) has a tube at the bottom, which you stick into a jar or some other container to catch the juice. In theory this means you end up with a clear juice, rather than the pulpy juice you get from a mechanical juicer.

So far my two attempts at jelly have been less than desirable. The first try was Spiced Apple Cider Jelly, which came out as syrup. Probably because I got lazy and used some apple cider from the farmers market rather than making my own with fresh apples. The second attempt jelled fairly well, but it wasn’t very pretty because we used a mechanical juicer to extract juice from blueberries. Hopefully my new toy will help me make some good jelly!

So that is pretty much my plan for the weekend. Farmers market, jelly making, probably smoke a brisket, and try to make some progress on getting the old content up on the site. Exciting eh?