Colors in Jars

canning by bird and bicycle

I am still new to preserving and canning food in jars. I don’t know everything, but I do know what I like. As a maker, I like to experiment. As a Taurus, I am a rule follower and like to not mess with food safety or the “rules” of canning home foods. The combination of cooking and canning is a wonderful chemistry experiment, with delicious results! However, I do add lots of sugar, honey, vinegar, and all that to make sure my jams and salsas and pickles will be perfect in every jar.

I love doing a lot of work one day, to eat amazing foods for months to come. I love having the taste of hot summer days in the middle of grey winter clouds. I love having sweet treats that are very easy to prep to give to my family and friends. The benefits of canning and preserving food are truly wonderful, and the colorful jars you get are a delight. Let’s start with the rainbow, Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet. OH MY GOSH doesn’t violet jam sound fantastic? I may need to figure that out.

RED

Hot Pepper Jam

hot pepper jam by bird and bicycle

Can you see the suspended peppers in this jar? The orange base with the minced bits of hot and bell peppers are so bright and fun. You can see I didn’t skim a ton of foam off the jam before ladling it into the jars, it is the light yellowish orange rim on top of the jam. It isn’t harmful at all, so no worries there.

hot pepper jam - food in jars - bird and bicycle

This jam is impressive, easy to make, very affordable ingredients, and a great instant snack. I tend to reheat this jam for about 15seconds in the microwave and mix it with goat cheese. The hot pepper spread is amazing on fresh bread of crackers. So delicious!

Tomato Jam

vanilla tomato jam by bird and bicycle food in jars

This vanilla tomato jam is the magic of my entire canning season last year. I was trying to replicate the tomato jam my grandmother made every summer. She would send home the little jars of her super sweet tomato jam, a bright red orange color that was almost sheer on toast. I don’t have her recipe, but this one was a great attempt. This tomato jam is an intense red, the vanilla beans I used giving it a heavenly scent. I can’t wait to make more of this next year. The liquid pectin came out super solid to make this a very smooth spread. I only made four jars of this jam. I gave one to each of my sisters and have saved this jar in the back of my cupboard all winter. I can’t wait for the rainy day when it’s time to crack this baby open.

Plum Jam

plum jam by bird and bicycle - preserving jam

Plum jam is by far the easiest fruit to preserve. Plums seem to grow in everyone’s backyard, are cheap and you don’t even peel them. A little secret: I didn’t like plums until I made this amazing plum cake. Once I made the cake, I made more plum jam than was probably ever necessary. Plums. There are many types of plums, and each have their own uniqueness, but they all have these fibers in them as you can see from the picture. You don’t really notice them when eating, but to me they are gorgeous. Plums are red to purple, and always surprise me when their flesh is yellowish green.

ORANGE

Nectarine Jam

nectarine sauce by bird and bicycle

This is my spiced nectarine jam. It is chunky and spiced with ginger, cloves and cinnamon. I wanted a thick compote from this, so I left half the nectarine’s in very large spoon sized chunks. I love the spices mixed in, creating a sense of warmth. The spices I used absolutely colored and darkened these nectarines, to a rich almost rust or burnt sienna. Matching food to colors of the rainbow is challenging.

Honey-Roasted Nectarine Compote

honey roasted nectarine compote - preserving food in jars by bird and bicycle

I am pretty sure I used a recipe in the Food in Jars book for this. Oh, here is the honey roasted nectarine compote recipe I used. I bought that book, along with checking out and reading about 5 or 6 canning books this past summer. Her blog has fantastic recipes, go there for real information on canning and preserving foods. The honey roasted nectarines had an extra step (the roasting part) but it was so worth it. I eat half a jar in one sitting. They are pure magic.

YELLOW

Peach Sauce

peach sauce bird and bicycle food in jars

This peach sauce is one of the best and most beautiful things I produced last summer. I love my local farm stands, and I was lucky to get a giant box of peaches and some vanilla beans. The dark brown flecks are from the vanilla bean, scrapped and boiled with the fruit. It smells like heavy and is magical on pancakes or in a peach melba. I bet it would rock a smoothie too. The golden color and heavy scent of peach takes me back to July.

 

Ok, that is enough of my pantry exposed for today. I will continue the rainbow tomorrow!

Valentine’s Day Love

I am very lucky to have an adorable little niece, born a few days after my own kid, who lives in Kansas with my sister and her family. I have just the one boy, so I get to sew all the adorable little girl clothes for her, my niece Nicole. Here is my sister Anndi and her adorable daughter dressing up recently.

She is a little doll, and I can’t wait to visit her soon!

Here is a little valentine’s love I whipped up just for her.

First is a Japanese linen and cotton crocheted lace bag to carry her cards back and forth to school in. When I was little, I had a denim bag with a heart stamp on it. I wanted Nicole to have something equally fun and sweet.

Bird and Bicycle japanese linen valentine's day bag

Next up, is a darling little dress. An Ottobre pattern of course, Busy Forest maybe? With the birch organics cotton I think? I am not sure. I made myself some leggings out of it as well. It has excellent stretch and recovery and washes like a dream.

Bird and Bicycle ottobre designs knit dress

Next is the special Valentine’s Day tunic in case she has a special party to attend. The Ottobre pattern is so sweet! The sleeves are in two parts with wonderful gathers to create this puffed effect. Strawberry Shortcake fabric is just precious. I kinda want to wear it myself.

Bird and Bicycle ottobre designs pattern

The tiny little binding on the cuffs and the front pocket are the sweetest details.

Bird and Bicycle ottobre designs pattern

I love the neck especially!

Bird and Bicycle sewing for little girls

The tunic, despite being made from a woven cotton, is actually quite roomy and not restrictive at all. I was quite pleased with the size of the cuffs and neckline, and here is the back detail. A washable bedazzled bow button.

Bird and Bicycle

Fall in 2014

Photos I never published from the past come to life!

From Fall 2014:

Imported Whale Fabric from Korea – so cute! Especially wearing his Dad’s flips.IMG_0759

IMG_0412

My Marigolds are gigantic this year!

IMG_0425 IMG_0417

My husband is a graphic designer and designed all the signage and “way finding systems” through the Snowqualmie Falls area. We went hiking to check them out.

IMG_0928

IMG_0926

Little man grows bigger.

IMG_0841

IMG_0840

 

 

Whipped up a couple cute knit tops with my scraps for a co-op kid we adore.

IMG_2039