Five Ideas for Low Key Backyard Summer Fun
Here are a couple of my ideas for getting together with friends and keeping things chill, spontaneous and fun without leaving your own backyard.
I am so happy to say that after about five weeks of living in the guest room, having work done on the house and a significant decimation of some savings, we have a beautiful new bathroom. I don’t want to jinx anything, because it still has to pass the inspection by the city, but it sure is pretty. We got the last pieces today – we had some trouble getting our cabinet doors in – and it’s amazing how polished the bathroom looks now that they are finally in. It’s complete. It just needs to have my drawers be full of nail polish and makeup and stuff, and then it will be perfect.
It’s going to be so nice to have it just be done in my brain. We don’t have any official plans this weekend, and we’re certainly not planning on being productive this weekend, because we have been being productive for a long time running. Maybe instead I will go pick more berries – which I suppose is kind of productive, but is fun, not work and/or home improvement. I’m thinking chilling with friends, eating food, playing some Super Mario U (I am embarassingly stuck on the same castle and have been for a while). It will be good.
Here’s another little thing that I did with our first big batch of berries picked:
For some silly reason, I had assumed that I’d need to get a pressure canner to do jams/fruits. Turns out that is not necessarily the case! My trusty Ball Blue Book informed me that fruits and jams are high-enough acid (usually) to do a water bath process. So now I have this and a marionberry jam that I can’t wait to try! This one actually has been opened first, because my recipe made an odd number of jars and one of them had too much head space.
That said, my third go at canning went the best of all of them, primarily because I was less freaked out than the past two times. Everything went according to plan. I used a bigger pot than last time so I wasn’t constantly watching it. And the two recipes went pretty easy, really. I think I’m getting the hang of this!
Here’s what you need:
4 1/2 cups blueberries, washed and picked over for stems and such
6 Tbsp. Ball classic pectin – that’s the powdered kind, and don’t sub the low sugar kind – the recipe won’t work.
5 cups sugar
1 tbsp. lime zest
1/3 cup lime juice
Mash the blueberries well with a potato masher. This will be easiest about a cup at a time. I mashed them right in my Dutch oven, adding more berries to the top of the pile when I had mashed all of the ones below.
Stir in the pectin and cook down. Bring to a boil as you stir frequently, and then add in the sugar.
Bring back to a boil and add in the lime zest and juice. Keep at an aggressive boil for one minute, stirring the entire time.
Remove from the heat and process using the hot water bath method (if you are not familiar, I suggest using the Ball Blue Book or your local state extension for a resource).
Adapted lightly from the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving.
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