I must confess something, my pets: I’m not as houseproud as I once was. The proof of this is pictured well below – brace yourselves for it – but as it’s important to accentuate the positive whenever possible, do let’s focus first on plum sorta-jam.
Last Thursday I made an ENORMOUS batch of plum sorta-jam, which I further cooked down in three batches this Monday for another seven hours. The plum sorta-jam turned out very yummy, although not quite as dreamy as the peach sorta-jam. Valuable lessons learned:
- Keep the weight of the fruit to be processed to a max of 15 lbs. Larger amounts – like 23 lbs of plums, peeps – makes for much longer cooking times. Go figure.
- The more liquid-y the chopped fruit, the longer it takes to cook down. No surprises there, but I could really see and taste the diff’rence betwixt the richer, drier peaches and the thinner, waterier plums.
- As much as I absolutely love eating sorta-jam, I find that making batch after batch of it is rather tiresome. Next year I’ll choose one fruit or a medley of fruits, and just make one big batch to cook down and preserve.
Moving from the sweet-but-time-intensive, let us turn to last Wednesday’s I’m-glad-it’s-clean-now-but-damn-was-that-gnarly cleaning session. In my defense, you can see that I’d dutifully cleaned around our old stove, but I’d never pulled it out to clean behind and below. Frankly, I hadn’t known that I could move it without blowing up the Houseproud homestead. The grime that was revealed after the stove was removed was VERY FOUL, very foul indeed. I suspect that some of the grime was inherited from the previous tenant, because we rarely cook in a way that would produce such an oil slick, but we have been here for 16 years. Oh, how my houseproud heart ached when I saw what had lurked under and behind our old stove for so long…
Helpful tips for cleaning up years of accumulated greasy, dusty grime:
- Have copious amounts of the following supplies on hand: Dawn dish detergent; baking soda; and plain white distilled vinegar. Have some Bon Ami or other cleaner handy, just in case. You’ll also need one sturdy sponge and at least 10 rags.
- Explain to the VERY NICE appliance installer (aka, the VNAI) that you’ll need a few minutes to clean. It will probably take you about 10 – 15 minutes.
- As the VNAI is struggling to bring your ancient stove out of your home and the lovely new stove in and unwrapped, squirt a liberal amount of Dawn onto the floor’s grease spots. Sprinkle generously with baking soda. Wet sponge with a combo of water and Dawn, and wipe down the walls. Rinse sponge. Use a rag to wipe up grease from floor. Repeat as necessary. If there’s grease on the walls, add vinegar to the water-and-Dawn combo you use on the sponge. Make sure that the sponge and rags are grease-free before repeating these steps or you’ll just spread the grease around. Be sure to focus on the areas that the new stove will be covering.
- On the final round of cleaning, wipe down the walls with a clean sponge wetted with vinegar and water, and dry off with a clean rag. Use the sponge to scrub any stubborn grease spots from the floor, using Bon Ami or another cleaner if necessary. Throw away the used rags and sponge. Admire your clean stove area, then step aside and let the VNAI install your new stove.
- If possible, make sure that the new stove can be moved away from the wall for yearly cleaning, and learn how to turn off the gas spigot. If you move the stove without turning off the gas, I will be very disappointed with you. Also, you might blow up your home, which would be bad.
Let’s take a moment to admire that new stove, shall we? She’s a beauty AND she works like a charm. I will mention that we are now unable to dry things out in the oven overnight (the new stove clicks on through the magic of electricity instead of having constantly burning pilot lights). Also, both the Mister and I will have to re-calibrate our baking temps, as using our old oven was rather akin to using a wood stove’s oven: one set a general temp, compared the two conflicting oven thermometers, and hoped for the best. Trust me, neither one of us is complaining about the new stove.
And that’s it fer this post, my dears. There’s a slight possibility that I’ll stop by later this week to show pics of the marathon Hatch chile prepping session that the Mister and I had last Friday. However, there’s this lovely little project that I would really like to finish, and I think my free time this week will be thusly claimed.
And with that and very fondly, until next time, yr little munakins.