Jelly Jubilee

Our weather has turned so nice and warm the last couple of days. It certainly increases our energy levels here at the Three Cats Ranch. Mike and I have been busy doing our own little things. At the end of the day yesterday, we were talking about how busy we've both been. We agreed that it was the good kind of busy because it isn't that we have a lot to do...it is that we both want to do a lot, and there are never enough hours in the day.

As for me, my day started with the Chive Blossom Jelly. This is the first canning of the season, and it was easy and fun. I'm using a method I found at this website. The chive blossom infusion was made on the stove-top the day before, then refrigerated overnight. Also, I noticed there was no processing time listed. I'm not one who's satisfied just to turn the jars upside down for sealing, and so I went investigating from Kerr and Ball (are they the same company now?) to see what processing time they recommended. Ten minutes was what I settled on (and I have to add five minutes for our elevation). So with those two adaptations for my own kitchen, I ended up with these four pretty half-pints of chive blossom jelly.

The recipe says to use 1/4 cup of lemon juice or white vinegar. I picked up three bottles of fancy vinegars at the Portland Farmer's Market a few weeks ago, and so I decided to use one of those. It's a deep red color, and I thought it would make the jelly prettier.

So how does it taste? Well...it tastes like any fruit jelly. Mike says he can taste just a hint of the chives, but I can't. Either way, it's going to be yummy on my morning toast. Mainly, I'm just pleased as punch to find another use for the scads of chive blossoms the plants produce in the spring. The chive blossom vinegar is still steeping in the pantry, but I'll report back on that by the end of next week.

Next, I was itching to get back and fix the one pink block I'd cut wrong when I worked on the Rainbow Jubilee quilt on Monday. Remember this?

Those strips are sewn together in differing lengths, and then cut to 7 1/2 inches square. I was so excited about doing housework (not) that I cut the first one all wrong. I thought I could fix it by unsewing the block at the middle seam, inserting two new 11-inch strips, removing the shortest ones on each side and then re-trimming. As it turns out, my strategy was successful, and now I have a correctly cut block.

I'd say something here about there being more than one way to skin a cat, but we don't talk about skinning cats here at the Three Cats Ranch.

Okay, so now I had four purple (February's color) and four pink blocks.

Next, I needed to make 16 of the black and white blocks. Fortunately, I did all the cutting of strips for this last month. I just needed to sew together 16 blocks of 6 strips each, and then trim them to size.

Smitty helped me with this.

Actually, he was just here for the catnip.


Okay, so then I needed to cut the 16 blocks into triangles. Half went one way, half the other.

And then I was ready to sew those to the four sides of the blocks. I just love these blocks. They're so interesting, and surprisingly simple to make. There's a lot of cutting involved with this project. Even though I had all the black and white strips already cut, it still made my wrist sore.

Then, I laid out last month's blocks with this month's. I was kind of excited to add some more colors. These are all the blocks I have so far.

Next month, I'll be adding the greens of March, and whatever color is selected for June. If I can get those done, I can start the month of July all caught up on this project.

Yesterday was the first CSA pick-up day of the season. You wouldn't believe the size of the Romaine lettuce we received in our share! It's at least twice the size of what is ordinarily sold in the grocery store. There were plenty of other goodies too, and now I have my grocery shopping list all planned out so that I can attack the vegetables with great gusto. Grocery shopping is on the list of things to do today, and then I'll get back to quilting the Quiltmaker's Garden quilt. By my count, I have 9 days left in the month to finish quilting and binding it. Think I'll make it?

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

13 comments from clever and witty friends:

Quilting Babcia said...

Love the rainbow strippy blocks, they are going to make a fabulous quilt!

Anne Kirby said...

That look on Smitty's face tho!!! lol!!!!


I love the looks of those jars of jelly--I used to make alot of jams and jelly and miss doing it--but I rarely use jelly and there is just me--soo!!
Love how your quilt is coming along and 4 legged fur help is always good-
(even if it really is the catnip they are after!!)
I got my work 'cut' out for me too on getting my OMG project finished by the 31st--we can do it --we can do it!!
enjoy, di

June D said...

Can't imagine what chive jelly tastes like when you taste the chive! It's fun to make jelly though. Last year I did my first ever canning. Grapefruit marmalade. I enjoyed the taste, but made way too much. This year I'm just juicing lemons and making wonderful lemonade when I can't find recipes to include it in dishes for meals.

Your black and white plus color blocks are really pretty. I am having trouble figuring out how you put them together though since the center color parts seem to be in one piece? I have been making slap color blocks for RSC, it would be fun to do something like you did with those pieces.

Thanks for sharing.

Sandra W said...

That quilt is going to be spectacular. Is there a pattern/instructions for it? I note you mention cutting half of the black/white one way and the other half the other way. I see why but think I might get messed up on this. I did google Rainbow Jubilee and was sent to many sites with quilt patterns very different from yours! Where did you get it? Thanks for help.
The jelly looks beautiful. If you saved some of your chive vinegar you could used that vinegar next year as the vinegar in the recipe.
I like canning--it makes me feel thrifty. But as I am at my cottage from May to November the canning season mainly occurs when I am here. We use well water from a community well and while it is "safe" it is full of minerals and a lot of iron so I am hesitant to use it in a recipe that calls for water. When I've processed jars with the water (using store-bought water as the ingredient) the glass looks cloudy. It can be washed off, but it worries me.
So glad you follow proper canning rules. Some people are very carefree and I'm leery of eating some of the canned goods I see around.

Dorothy Finley said...

Smitty=Pure Bliss ! Do I look like that after a glass of wine ??? I absolutely love your RSC. I may have to change what I am doing for it :-)

Judy H said...

After 5 years in Montana and not having access to 'fresh' strawberries, I'm back in North Carolina. Just in time to hit the strawberries. I have a ton of strawberry jam in the jars now, much to my family's delight. I like my jam a bit 'runny' so I can use it on toast and to top ice cream. Peaches are next!

piecefulwendy said...

That jelly looks so pretty! Interesting that the chive flavoring doesn't come through more. Just the same jelly on toast is a grand breakfast in my book! I love the blocks and seeing them come together. The contrast between the colors and the black/white is fun. Smitty's face is perfect; kind of like mine with my first sip of coffee in the morning :-)

Danette Stankovich said...

Thanks for the website for the herb jellies! I just made strawberry/rhubarb jam last night. I always have so much rhubarb, just from one plant. I love herbs, too, so I will be trying some.

Brown Family said...

It is very pretty jelly! The rainbow chalange is amazing. It will grow colorfully each month!

Linda said...

Love your string blocks with their black and white triangle frames. It will be a great quilt.

grammajudyb said...

As in the past, I love your RSC18 strip blocks. Yummy! Thanks for reminding me that I can make just 4 jars of jelly at a time. I don't have to make it am all day project with gallons of juice! I am going to try to remember that as I see fruit that needs to be used up!

quiltzyx said...

So much happy color in this post! The Chive jelly is so pretty. Have you tried drinking any of your "drinking vinegar"? I got some fresh cherries from our "fruit guy" that comes to the office most weeks. OMG are they good! If he comes tomorrow I'm getting more.

Silly Smitty on the 'nip again....

Your RSC is going to be wonderful!