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November 03, 2006: Pumpkin and pomegranate

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It's November now, and yesterday it even rained, and there are fall colors and pumpkins and wintery things everywhere I look. This, of course, means that my mind turns toward baking, because winter and baking go hand in hand. Since I had the day off from work today I decided to get a head start on some of that baking. The church bazaar is coming up in two weeks, and I usually try to get a half dozen or so loaves of bread squirreled away in the freezer so that I'm ready to donate a box of goodies for the baked good sale that always does so well.

This morning I made the first batch of pumpkin bread for the season. I would have made more, since I was certainly in the baking mood, but I ran out of eggs and oil after the first batch, and while I was in the mood for baking today, I was also feeling a bit lazy. Days off with nothing much that has to be done tend to do that to me. So instead of making more bread, I let the two loaves cool down and packed one carefully away into the freezer, and then cut into the other one, because it is always important to test your baked goods just to make sure that they came out okay. And it did. Oh my, it did.

Pumpkin bread is one of those things that I refuse to modify for the sake of health or diet or any other reason. The recipe I use is the same one my mom has made for as long as we can remember, and it involves three cups of sugar and an entire cup of oil and four eggs. The only remotely healthy modification I have ever made is to use egg substitute instead of real eggs, but that has never been done in any futile attempt at lightening the bread, but is instead a result of the fact that those are usually the only eggs we ever have in the house and I cannot be bothered to go invest in a carton of real eggs just for this.

I also decided that I should get to work on trying to reset the pomegranate jelly which we tried (and failed, apparently) to make a few weeks ago. For whatever reason, pomegranate jelly is one of the mecurial of jellies to make, in that you can follow the recipe exactly the same, and one batch will set while the other refuses to gel and instead has to be labeled as pomegranate syrup. This year, of the three batches we made, only the first one set. This year, however, we decided that there was enough time to try a few experiments and see if there was any way it could be salvaged (ah, the knowledge one can find when armed with a high speed connection and Google). So I carefully measured out pectin and stirred it and boiled it and created a little highly concentrated pectin soup, and then even more carefully stirred together one cup of unset jelly and a little sugar and just the right amount of pectin and boiled it for exactly two minutes, no more and no less, and sterilized the jar and boiled the lid and poured in the jelly and put it all together and wonder of wonders, it looks like this just might have worked. So now the next step is to do this to all the rest of the jelly (about a dozen jars) and see how many more of them I can salvage, and then next year try to figure out what the magic formula is so I can avoid having to jump through all these extra hoops next time around.

This is a NaBloPoMo entry

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