Saturday, June 19, 2010

Weekend Cooking

  Beth Fish Reads sponsors this weekly meme where we foodies can chat about cookbooks, cooking gadgets, recipes, or anything else gustatory. Be sure to stop over there to find other terrific weekend cooking posts.

Today I'm chatting about  canning and measuring food.  We picked the last of the spring rhubarb crop early this morning, and two days ago I stopped at one of our local farm markets and treated myself to 4 qts of gorgeous, sweet, red, juicy local strawberries. Hubs is a big fan of rhubarb, and I enjoy few things more than slavering thick viscous strawberry preserves on my morning English muffin.  So we picked the hottest (so far) day of the year to do some canning. 

It was close to 80 when we started, and to put some context into this equation, we don't have a kitchen or living room or dining room, we have a GREAT room. So when you heat up the kitchen, you are essentially heating up the whole house (works great in Maine winters.) We do thank goodness have a "shotgun" arrangement where the front door and back patio door to the river are lined up, so when you open both, you get a great whoosh of air--if anything is moving.  We also have big ceiling fans, and lots of windows on the river side of the house.  However, we do NOT have air conditioning.  So the great big pot boiled away on the stove - first sterilizing jars and lids, and then water bathing jars yums. And the adults boiled away in the steamy air.

Yes it was hot but it was worth it.  Blogs don't do taste testing very well, so you'll have to use your imagination.

Now about measurements.  Many of the recipes I perused had fruit measured in pints, some in pounds, and some in cups.  I know we used to have to memorize that stuff in school, but face it fans, that was almost 50 years ago, and this brain is not computing cups=quarts=pints=pounds too well.  Besides, I was trying to listen to an audio book while I did this.  So, I pressed pause on the audio, went to my friendly computer, and found two marvelous sites with great downloadable pdf charts - one of which is now firmly attached to the side of my frig with a magnet saying "maine defends the right to arm bears"....

Anyway, here's the printable chart and here's a great site for helping do conversions by simply filling the one you have and clicking to see it convert.  It's an online form that doesn't show well here, but bookmark it--it will be a great help.

And here is my favorite:  I really didn't need any of these today, but found it quite amusing.  After all, you never know when I'll have to figure out how many firkins are in a gill, or how many tablespoons are in a hogshead!

Liquid Measurements 
In the United States, liquid measurement is not only used for liquids such as water and milk, it is also used when measuring other ingredients such as flour, sugar, shortening, butter, and spices.
teaspoon tablespoon fluid
gill cup pint quart gallon
1 teaspoon = 1 1/3 1/6 1/24 - - - - - - - - - - - -
1 tablespoon = 3 1 1/2 1/8 1/16 - - - - - - - - -
1 fluid ounce = 6 2 1 1/4 1/8 1/16 - - - - - -
1 gill = 24 8 4 1 1/2 1/4 1/8 - - -
1 cup = 48 16 8 2 1 1/2 1/4 1/16
1 pint = 96 32 16 4 2 1 1/2 1/8
1 quart = 192 64 32 8 4 2 1 1/4
1 gallon = 768 256 128 32 16 8 4 1
1 firkin = 6912 2304 1152 288 144 72 36 9
1 hogshead = 48384 16128 8064 2016 1008 504 252 63

Now here's how I made the Rhubarb Chutney--perfect on pork, grilled chicken or fish or with Indian curries and vindaloos.

4 cups (1.5 lb) chopped rhubarb
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup mixed dried fruits (I used cherries, blueberries and strawberries)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 tsp dried mustard
1/2 tsp ground coriander

Put all that in a big pot, bring to a boil, and then cook, stirring frequently until the rhubarb gets soft and pulpy. Spoon into sterilized jars, and waterbath for 12 minutes.

Enjoy your summer weekend.  Glorious days like this are far too few, and we're thankful to have the opportunity to enjoy them. Bon appetit!


  1. I have many family members who love canning. I've never done it, but do love when they share the finished product!!

  2. you know, I was just wondering how many gills in a cup!

    seriously, I have been picking and freezing my crop of black raspberries as they come ripe and I have been considering turning them all in to some lovely jam. now the problem is I have never made jam...or canned anything...but i am going to start reading up.

  3. No a/c here either (well one room a/c downstairs) -- I gave up on canning. I now only freeze. But that chutney sounds soooooo heavenly. Hummmm.

  4. I have done tons of canning in my lifetime and I swear there is some kind of canning karma. On the very day everything is ready to be canned that will be the hottest and most humid day of the season. Seems to happen every time. The nice thing is that all those canned goodies seem to bring the warm goodness with them in the Fall and Winter when you open the jar.

  5. Somehow, I have a feeling that I will never need a hogshead of anything. But if IO ever do, I'm calling you!


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