End of Season Report: Canning Tomatoes

Houseproud End of Season canning tomatoes IMG_2924Unlike previous years, I only put up one small batch of tomatoes this year, but I did it in record time by using grated tomatoes. The lovely thing about this process is that it’s as simple as possible, but still makes for some mighty tasty results. I’ve written about canning tomatoes in previous years (see, for example, my post on October 14, 2013, “This, That, and Another Thing”), but this post captures the streamlined process I use now. As an added bonus, the process scales up or down nicely. Ready to play along at home? Alrighty then! Continue reading

They’re Great Grated: Ripe Tomatoes

Houseproud Great Grated IMG_3249

Perfectly ripe farmers market tomatoes are close to perfection – the next best thing to home-grown. Unfortunately, rot will set in quickly. Have you more ripe tomatoes than you can eat in a day? Slice those excess beauties in half, grate them over a bowl, and pour the resulting puree into a glass jar, which will keep in the fridge for about two or three days before it becomes foul. You get extra points if you toss the tomato skins into the jar with the grated pulp. Et voila: you’ve saved those glorious tomatoes from the compost bin. Just remember to use ‘em up within a few days! Now, if you have a little more time to spare, here are three ways to use tomato pulp and skins:  Continue reading

End of Season Report: Fermenting Jalapenos


Houseproud End of Season jalapenos IMG_3118

Ah, fall is here and summer’s abundance of produce has faded away. This will prob’ly be the last week for hot peppers at my farmers market, so I’m planning one final small batch of fermented jalapenos. Given the volume and variety of fermented jalapeno products currently filling the Houseproud fridge to capacity, you might ask yourself, WHY, LORD, WHY? The Mister is asking that very question, lemme tell you. Continue reading

Fermenting Jalapenos, Part 1: It’s Easy and Fun

Houseproud fermented jalapenos part I IMG_3219

After spending the last two months making batch after batch of fermented jalapenos, I can confidently report the following: it’s easy, inexpensive and ridiculously fun. This post is the first in a series – other posts will follow with particulars. The purpose of this series is two-fold: it will record what I did this season with hot peppers, and it might convince you lovely peeps to start your own batches of fermented jalapenos before the season’s caput. Ready? Continue reading

A Good Little Portable Knitting Project

Houseproud knitted wristlettes FO closeup IMG_3159Hello, my pets – I’ve accomplished all sorts of things in the last week, including completing the final batches of summer preserving, and while I haven’t the strength to talk about that now, I will in the coming weeks. Instead, let’s chat this week about a little knitting project of which I am quite fond: knitted wristlettes. These lovely items are a perfect portable project: they are simple to work and are small enough to carry around easily.  Once you get over the fiddly bit of starting them, they are easy to pick up and put down. I’ve knit them on trains, in cars, at cafes, while on conference calls, etc etc etc. Continue reading

Houseproud Field Trip: Picnic on Bay Farm Island

Houseproud fieldtrip picnic Bay Farm Island IMG_3071Yesterday I peddled off to have a small adventure, a picnic on the shore of Bay Farm Island to celebrate the birthday of my MIL (who is off having adventures in the afterlife and who is sorely missed by thems that knew her). I’m still basking in the glow of an afternoon well spent, and not all of that glow is from my resulting sunburn. The reason why my impromptu picnic was a fitting memorial to the Mister’s mum is something that would take quite a few words to articulate, but as I simply MUST get to the hardware store to buy a replacement bathroom faucet this afternoon, and then there’s the gym, and oh, another 10 lbs of jalapenos to process at some point (brine fermented this time, I think), as well as over 5 lbs of fermenting eggplant that really ought to be checked before I leave the house… Continue reading

Houseproud-ish? Also, Plum Sorta-Jam…

Houseproud jar of plum sorta-jam IMG_2800

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. Continue reading

Peach Sorta-Jam and Other Curatives

Houseproud peach sorta-jam IMG_2626Hello, hello and hello again, my pets. Just popping in to let you know that I have been thinking about you this week, although there’s been little here to prove that. I would have stopped by earlier, but I’ve been stricken with a severe attack of lack-of-focus-itus, which has resulted in a large number of half-started sewing and knitting projects, and a general inability to get anything of substance done. This lack of focus, coupled with the way I generally feel these days after hearing the news, has made me uncharacteristically out-of-sorts. On the off chance that you occasionally suffer from the blahs yourselves, here are a few sure-fire methods to revive your sense of hope and purpose, all of which I’ve employed recently: go for a walk; do the hokey pokey*; fuss about in the garden; and make jars and jars of peach sorta-jam.  Continue reading

Test Run: Fermented Jalapenos

Houseproud WIP denim day-tripper bag IMG_2531

This is not a picture of jalapenos.

I’ll have you know that some of my most effective puzzling through a project has been accomplished whilst running at the gym. There’s nothing like a grueling pace to help one focus on the proposed steps of a project – and if nothing else, thinking through a project is a welcome distraction. But as helpful as this process can be, usually the actual making of a new thing can be tricky: materials or ingredients can behave unexpectedly. Therefore and thusly, when working on something new, test runs (heh) are a good thing. As a case in point, I’m making a zippered tote bag from mid-weight denim for the first time, and I’m slightly unnerved by the heft of the material. So I decided to start by making a matching heart charm and a key fob, to learn how the material handles before I take on the bag itself. Continue reading