Friday, September 05, 2008

We've been inside for a few days

Though our area was a near miss for hurricane force winds, we have gotten rain, rain, and more rain. Last night, after I thought it was finished, we got even more rain. In other words, we have spent a good bit of time inside. The time was not wasted.

We made pear preserves.

Pear preserves are the most labor intensive of the fruit based canning I do, because you have to peel the pears, core the pears, then slice the pears before you can start cooking. Mississippi pears are not like the pears of the cooler climates. They are hard - hand cramping, claw producing hard. Peeling and coring are a labor of love. My husband helped peel since he was stuck in the house all weekend.

Once peeled, I run them through the food processor to slice them because I'm all about efficiency and uniformity of slices in the jar. In fact, I slip the end pieces in my mouth. Once sliced I sprinkle them with lemon juice so they won't turn brown before I get a chance to cook them.

Once the pears are peeled, cored and sliced you add sugar, lemon slices, and some water and cook. I find that the pears will get done before the syrup is thick, so I remove the pears at the end and cook the syrup longer until it is the color and consistency I like. Then, I return the pears to the syrup and make sure everything is hot before I put the preserves in jars.

Pears are a low acid food. Even though I use liberal amounts of sugar and lemon, care must be taken in the water bath or pressure cooking. By all means make sure you release all air bubbles and don't scrimp on the recommended times in the canning guides. You don't want to poison anyone.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


dnshepard at

  • Barracudas are fearless marine fish known for their fierceness and ambush style hunting. They lie in wait and catch their prey by surprise.
  • Barracudas have a large mouth filled with teeth that look like tiny daggers.
  • Great barracudas don't nurture their young.
  • Barracudas eat young barracudas.
  • Barracudas sometimes hunt in a group by herding small fish into shallow water.
  • Barracudas strike anything that moves.

With barracuda swimming around the Republican National Convention, McCain (There was a moment there that she got so excited, I think she forgot she was not the presidential nominee. Did you notice?) and the rest of the country should know the predator. Information is good. More information is better. Becky has great links, too, as usual.

I'll leave you with the lyrics of Kris Kristofferson's song Killer Barracuda which I got from here. You should hear Helen Reddy singing it.

Look into water, see the barracuda
Patient as the devil
Hanging still
Like a shadow in the water
Pretty barracuda,
Dagger of the devil
Waiting to kill

Little girl beware, of killer barracuda
He rules these waters like a king
He'll cut your heart out slicker than a dagger
Not 'cause he's hungry 'cause he's mean

You can see the shark now
Glidin' through the water
Ugly as death.
Eats anything
But the pretty barracuda, don't touch no leavins
Takin' what he wants to
'cause he's king
And you can't scare him or entice him
He won't move for the devil, 'til his own time
Then quicker than heartbeat
He'll turn you away girl just to
See you fall, and leave you dyin'

Little girl beware of the killer barracuda
He rules these waters like a king
He'll cut your heart out slicker than a dagger
Not 'cause he's hungry
'cause he's mean

Barracuda information provided by these fine sites.