A Day in the Kitchen

Yesterday I did all the outdoor things I had wanted to accomplish this weekend. I did it yesterday because today was set aside as a canning day. My goal was to be finished around noonish, which of course, I didn’t make.

The three things on the canning menu were: Mango butter, banana butter, and pasta sauce. I threw in a blueberry pie and some dinner rolls to boot for the day.

Since the pasta sauce takes about three hours to finish, I started with it. I figured while it cooked, I could get the rest of the stuff ready. If I timed it right, I could do the water bath for the pasta sauce, and take the jars out just as the mango butter was done. Then I could do the banana butter while the mango butter was in its water bath.

Well, of course it didn’t pan out that way. All was going well until the mango butter decided not to cooperate. I don’t know if it was the humidity or I didn’t have just the right reduction boil, but it took about 45-minutes longer than I planned. I then thought maybe I could get the banana butter finished instead and just reverse the order.

But half-way through the banana butter, it hit me to see what the mango butter would do when it cools. If it gelled, then it was actually ready. Wouldn’t you know it, it was actually ready. There I am with two things basically ready to go in and not enough space to put them all in. I ended up going ahead with the mango butter, just letting the banana butter simmer on the stove a little longer. Luckily the water bath for the mango was just 10-minutes.

In amongst all this, because hey, didn’t want to make it too easy on myself, I’m making the dough, mixing the blueberry filling, rolling out the dough, baking the pie and trying to make sure the crust doesn’t burn, all while watching my butters cook. Hurray for me right! [Note: Don’t try this at home, it can raise the blood pressure just a little bit. But, the pie was good, so maybe it was worth it after all.] I did make the rolls, but at least everything else was finished first.

All in all, a productive day. We now have nine quarts of pasta sauce, 12-1/2 pints of mango butter, and 10-1/2 pints of banana butter. Those should last us through the winter. Next weekend, if my new strainer arrives in time, apple butter, blackberry jam, and some peach concoctions are on tap [Peach Truck peaches are arriving a little early; I’ve already marked my canning recipe book for all things peaches, plus I am actually going to make a pie this time.]

Some kitchen idea takeaways from the day.

In working with the mango, I’ve never gotten the whole dicing then “flipping” out the skin to slice off the meat. What worked for me today was to slice along the seed on both sides, then halve those two pieces. I then took a paring knife and carefully cut along the skin to get the mango meat. Went faster than I thought it might and was still easier then peeling the mango, then cutting and dicing.

After trying cold milk instead of ice water on my last crust, I used milk again this time and I like it more than using water, as it seems to stick together much better.

One lesson learned. In my anxiety over not rolling the dough large enough to cover the pie pan, I rolled it too thin and had a lot of overhang. Need to dial it back a little so I have a thicker crust.

Happy canning and baking everyone!

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