The Year of the Pickle–Nevermind–Chutney

I’ve found that the single most difficult thing to do is something new.

Plain and simple. Nothing shrouded in mystery.

Of course something new is hard.
2012-09 - rosiedreams - thoughts tomato tomatillo fall harvest late summer
And yet something new kicks me in the butt weekly, which is not to say it kicks me down…or leaves a bruise…or leaves me crumpled in a ball of tears, though at the right moment it’s been known to. But it kicks me with that surprised feeling of Ack. This. Is. So. Hard. That feeling I explain so patiently and with such clarity to my own kids each day creeps up on me and catches me unaware, unprepared. And when I’m all wrapped up in the trying-to-do-something-new moment, everything else simultaneously feels so challenging–kids’ questions, phone ringing, poopy toilets, hungry children. Stimulus overload!

And at this time of year it’s the new recipes that are trying my patience and procrastination. I’m busy avoiding the canner so I can dream of a bigger garden patch to dig, new items to sew and quite often botch, new projects to declare at midnight to a tired husband by a woman who stays at home everysingledaywith3kidsandisoccasionallylosinghermind–in a good way–usually. Yes, and of course the new kid twists are always mixed in there, otherwise known as the kiddie-curve-ball. They strike at one in the morning and three in the afternoon just to make sure you’re still on your toes. Why won’t they go to sleep like they used to? Where did he get that huge knot on his head? Why are they eating so much? Why aren’t they eating enough? Why is she using that tone with me? When are they ever going to…

Anyhow, for the past few years I’ve dreamt of making pickles. Actually pickles and mustard, but i didn’t want to be unrealistic so I didn’t add mustard to the crazy-woman to-do-list.

But pickles? Yes. Pickles. I repeated over and over all summer: Will. Try. Making. Homemade. Pickles. This. Year.

I willed myself. The recipes are simple and bountiful, especially if you read any homegrown blogs (which of course I do). Yet every time I bought a few cucumbers this year. Every.single.time. I let them rot. Subconscious will fighting active demands Ugh. So after buying cucumbers last month and letting them rot once again (because we have no super-cucumber-fans here), I threw in the towel.

So, with pickles sent to the 2013 summer dreams to do list…onto canning. And funny enough, I’ve been having this funny dreadful feeling about dragging down the canner for months now. I love the rows of jars, the feeling of accomplishment, the simplicity of it all…and yet the relative newness of canning still kicks me in the butt, causing sheer procrastination every time I need to get to work on it.
2012-09 - rosiedreams - thoughts berry jams canning day late summer
So I finally dusted off the mega-pot, cringing and wondering the usual herd of thoughts…how long will this take?are these really going to seal?I sure do hope this turns out tasty?

And after putting off canning our frozen berries piling high in the deep freezer, I finally turned the kids outdoors and got started yesterday. Sigh of relief. First raspberry jam, because quite simply, it’s my favorite. Then blueberry, because my man requested it. And then strawberry…because I found a box of strawberries I forgot I’d even ordered. And sixteen jars later and only a few hours later (whew) the sun was setting behind the treeline and our kitchen was a full blown mess.

So what better time to puree another batch of tomatillo salsa? Aha! Why make dinner for hungry kids when you could attempt to ignore them will adding a few more recipes to the mix.

And finally, the green tomato chutney. I’ve been dreaming about this stuff ever since my sis-in-law’s mom gifted us with some last winter. Oh goodness, I’m hooked. I so hope this recipe I got online will be as good as the stuff last year. Because last winter I vividly remember some Malbec paired with goat cheese and a thick dab of chutney on baked crackers that took my breath away.
2012-09 - rosiedreams - thoughts canning green tomato chutney preparation
Anyhow, so suffice it to say that instead of writing about self-censoring…which I meant to finish up on today, I’m talking food and newness and procrastination. Oh well.

PS. If you haven’t planted tomatillos, do consider adding it to your own personal “new” garden plant. Beautiful plant covered with hardy blossoms, tons of fun to harvest fruit, and tasty salsa verde which is quite simple to make, even if it is “new.” :)
2012-09 - rosiedreams - thoughts canning tomatillo salsa preparation
And with that final bit of productivity, which I greatly needed after pretty much despising the kitchen all summer, I can unabashedly welcome the fall harvest, all 3 winter squash nestled in the dieing garden patch and apple sauce making once again without dread. I hope. Because it’s a twisted relationship I have sometimes with these projects. I’m so excited and determined to get canning [or fill in with other Jeanine-concocted project like painting the peeling the bathroom or chopping enough wood for winter]…and really I envision the task happily completing itself, or better yet a husband who miraculously can’t wait to can instead of kick back to watch a movie! But in reality, these little concocted projects of mine are my own responsibility. Now I just need to remember how good this new-synapsis-making is on this sometimes tired out brain.

Mind telling me what your “new” fiascos or dreads are? Leave me a comment if you want some virtual empathy.

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4 comments to The Year of the Pickle–Nevermind–Chutney

  • Sabrina

    You have been one busy mama… I wish I had the capabilities to do the canning chore. All of the items I have planted, I am eating or giving them away, but not canning. I am freezing the zuchinni, but still giving them away! I can not imagine doing the canning thing, but I guess I would actually have to be AT HOME… which I am not! EVER!!! I will make you some zuchinni bread, if you share your salsa verde recipe!! Good job Jeanine!!

    • Canning, like so many other “new” things is so simple. Boil water with jar and new or reusable/sealing lid for ten minutes after prepping. Ta dah! Good to use for the next two years!
      But I totally get you. We are opposites on the Mama-location spectrum. I’m at home all.the.time. You’re out and about all.the.time. And I truly cannot fathom how you do it!
      And I’d be happy to trade you salsa for bread. I’m hoping there are still some tomatillos and tomatoes when we return.

  • Veronica Eisner

    I am totally the same. I love love love to try new stuff. I think I love the challenge and sense of accomplishment. New recipes, dress designs, anything. But I have near given up (temporarily) trying new things if the slightest bit of complexity is involved while the kids are up (or here). I will procrastinate too, or, I have to send them away (upstairs, backyard, grandma’s). IT’S JUST TOO HARD. I have resigned to “save” a lot of those things for when I’m old and dare I say, a grandma? My want list has decreased to easy essentials for now. That said, I’m so glad you have found a way to get things done, and found a much needed (I’m sure) sense of accomplishment. You are daring! Happy harvesting…PS Those jams look sooooo delicious!

    • I think that’s one of the reasons we were friends. You were always trying something new (I’m remembering those little hats, projects in the back yard, painting) and that’s totally my style. It is psuedo disappointing to realize that so many of the “new” stuff I’m dying to try is just a tad beyond realistic (ahem). I too have said aloud “When I retire…” and then I laugh. Um, 35 and talking about retirement?! It’s like when I say something with the word “old” and “I” in it. I have to self-censor so I don’t hear myself, believe it and act like it even more. And dare I say a homeschooling-small business-sewing mom of four is way more daring than myself?!
      The jam better be good. I’ve got the fact that it’s not too hard to mess up on pectic, honey and berries on my side on that one.