Summer Journal: Berry Picking, Part One

It’s not like I need the strawberries. I grew lots this spring and I still have leftovers from last year in the freezer, waiting for me to have two spare minutes to rub together long enough to make jam. But at this point it’s tradition. Caitlyn and I join some friends, we drive up to Skagit Valley, we pick too many berries and we finish with fresh strawberry milkshakes. This year, our late-June was packed. We didn’t make it up to the berry farm until after July 4th, only to discover that the strawberries were done. Spring was gorgeous here …

All wrapped up

Remember this project? Want to see what it became? These bags are officially tradition now. I made about a dozen (some of last year’s bags were returned for refills) of the tutorial size of Jeni‘s Drawstring Bags, which is the perfect size for several bundles of homemade candy. This year, the fabric bags contained the required caramels and English toffee (from Grandpa’s recipes), as well as salted caramels (which might become a staple), peanut brittle and chocolate dipped marshmallows. I was hoping to also include opera cremes, but that didn’t work out so well. And I ran out of time …

Not done yet!

A rough count, so far: 4 pts heavy cream 2 cups peanuts 7 11 oz bottles of corn syrup approximately 4 cups almonds approximately 4 lbs butter and a lot of sugar (Apologies for the less-than-thrilling photography. Yesterday, Seattle had it’s sixth darkest day of 2012, according to our local weather guru. Sure, it’s a dark time of the year, but our cloud cover is so thick that it basically looks like twilight all day long!) Save

If you need me

I’ll be in the kitchen for most of the month. The first batch has been beta tested and deemed a success. I’m still not sure what the final collections will include beyond the essential caramels and English toffee. I’ve got all of Grandpa’s candy books, which mostly means that nothing is impossible. Which leaves me with improbable amounts of sugar. Hooray! Save

In Progress

A couple weeks ago, I shared the start of a project. Here’s an update: Traditions and all that. There are possibly a very limited number of extras. Speak up if you’d like to be on the receiving end!

Making the Tradition Mine

I sort of fell off the Internet there for the second part of December. Wanna know why? After last year’s first attempt was deemed a success by my candy-making grandfather, and with his candy-making tools in hand (omg! marble slab ftw!), I picked up the family Christmas candy tradition. I’ve always thought that someone should carry on Grandpa’s candy making; if it’s me, I get to claim the extras. I guess there’s an ulterior motive for everything. Grandpa made caramels for years. I remember there were a few years when I was a teenager (I think) when he made all …