What a dilemma!
To put it bluntly - I’m in a real pickle! If I could find a solution to my vexing problem I’d be a millionaire; a multi-millionaire even! And if that were to come to fruition it definitely would be something worth getting pickled over. The unopened bottle of Glenfiddich sitting on my shelf is safe (for the moment, anyway); however, that’s not the kind of pickled I mean in this instance.
I believe I can trust you with my money-making scheme; one I’ve not yet patented. Because of my immovable faith in our discretion I’ll let you in on my inspirational secret project. I know you won’t tell anyone.
Surrounding me are piles of empty glass jars...everywhere I look, in every cranny and nook, and in between. I’ve been collecting them for the past year or more. Cloaked in darkness, garbed in camouflage - even my car is disguised as a bandicoot to put those other night owls roaming the streets during the wee small hours off the scent - I do midnight runs raiding the neighbourhood recycle bins. I’ll soon be known as Ms Steptoe of the Mountain, if I’m not already. I’ve become an adept creature of subterfuge.
It’s amazing how much grape juice is consumed here on the hill. The hordes of empty wine bottles I’ve gathered will be to my benefit. They’ll serve an important purpose in my plan. If my concept has a positive result the crates of wine bottles I haul home night after night will play a significant role in what I’m endeavouring to achieve.
It’d be nice if the neighbours recycled a few full ones! It’s thirsty work that I do!
I’m intend melting the bottles sadly depleted of wine to make handles for the myriad jars in my possession; jars from pickles, chutney, jams and various other product, which are also collected during my midnight runs. ‘Tis a busy life I lead under the cloak of darkness.
My plan isn’t working for me; not yet anyway, but I’ll soldier on. If and when I work out how to stick the handles on the jars I’ll be rich; either that or I’ll have missed the bus on “my moment” in reaping the benefits of my back-breaking efforts because people will have moved onto the next craze. I’ll be left holding the jars and wine bottles - empty wine bottles – dammit!
That’ll be a jarring experience – one hard to get a handle on!
I find the current fad - one that’s lasted far too long, in my opinion - of drinking from jars very jarring. It’s one of the silliest fads I’ve seen. I get so annoyed every time I see pictures in magazines, newspapers etc., of jars being substituted as drinking vessels. I can see no point to the “popular fashion”. It’s not even unique; everyone and their third cousins are doing it! If an eatery attempted to serve me a drink in a jar I would politely decline and ask for my drink to be served to me in an appropriate drinking glass.
Everywhere I look drink-filled jars with straws plonked in them have taken over the planet! I can see no rhyme or reason for them. The jars look clumsy and unattractive. When I have a drink I prefer to skol from a glass; from a drinking glass suitable to the drink I’m indulging in - not a glass jar. Better still, with a lot of class and practiced finesse, I like to guzzle straight from the bottle. It saves on the washing up - no straws and no jars required!
To add insult to insult salads are plonked, in layers, in jars. Tiered desserts are served in jars! To me, somehow, it’s a being a poseur...in reverse...how perverse!
I elect to keep my jars exclusively for jams, chutneys and pickles etc; never to be used as gimmicky, annoyingly gauche drinking vessels; or for serving salads and desserts. I find this fad idiotically pretentious.
Once upon a time you’d be sincerely concerned about a friend’s financial welfare if he/she served you a drink in a jar. Similarly, if presented with a drink or food-filled jar rather than a glass or plate as the fare demands in an eatery, it would’ve prompted concerns their doors would soon be closing permanently. A jar could’ve been left on the counter for the generosity of strangers to help keep the doors ajar; a jar not only for tips for the serving staff!
I offer no apologies for preferring to have whatever it is I’m drinking served in a glass...a glass made for the purpose of drinking from (or from a cup or mug if the instance demands). And I prefer to eat my salads off a plate or from a bowl; and desserts not from a jar!
And, I know jars are the "In Thing" at the moment, but I'd feel I was insulting my guests if I served them drinks or food in jars. I've never been one to succumb to the latest fads; to follow the crowd in the craze of the moment...particularly to ones that are, in my opinion, pretty damn stupid!
I'll continue to beat my own drum; and if that means I'm not keeping up with the latest fads or "the Joneses - I suppose it should be "keeping up with the Kardashians" - not "keeping up with the Joneses" these days - but as I said...I'll beat my own drum...rat-a-tat-tat!
Now how will I fuse these handles on to the jars?
Chilli-Pawpaw Chutney: Combine in saucepan - 7 black peppercorns, 1 whole nutmeg, 1 peeled, coarsely-chopped pawpaw, 2 peeled, coarsely-chopped apples, 2c light brown sugar, 3c white vinegar, 2tsp coarse salt, 3 fresh, deseeded, finely-chopped red chillies and 2tsp grated ginger; stir constantly over med-heat until sugar dissolves; simmer, uncovered, approx 1-1/2hrs or until thickened. Remove peppercorns and nutmeg; spoon hot chutney into hot sterilized jars; seal jars while still hot; chutney will keep up to 6 months. (And I refuse to call "pawpaws" papayas, too....pawpaws are pawpaws here in Queensland)!
Pickled Broccoli: Combine 2c distilled white vinegar, 2c water and 2tbs pickling salt in saucepan; bring to a boil. Into a 946ml/4c jar, put 4c broccoli florets, 3-4 peeled garlic cloves, 1tsp mustard seeds, 1tsp black peppercorns and 1/2tsp red chilli flakes; pack the broccoli on top. Cover broccoli with the hot vinegar brine; cap jar; cool to room temp. Chill at least 3hrs before serving. It’ll keep 2-3 weeks.
Rockmelon Jam: Prepare boiling water bath and 3x240ml jars. Place lids in small saucepan; cover with water; simmer over very low heat. Combine 2-1/2c peeled, chopped rockmelon, 1-1/2c sugar, 1 split and scraped vanilla bean and the seeds in pot; bring to boil over high heat; cook 8-10mins. Add zest of 1 lemon, 1tbs lemon juice and 85ml packet liquid pectin. Return to vigorous boil; cook 3-4mins, until bubbles look thick. Remove vanilla pod. Ladle jam into prepared jars; wipe rims; seal jars; process in boiling water bath, 10mins. (And a rockmelon will always be a rockmelons to me...not cantaloupe).
Berry Winey Jam: Combine 3c mixed berries and 2c red wine in saucepan; simmer uncovered to jam consistency – about 30mins. After berries break down add sugar to taste; less if using a sweet wine. You can use champagne instead; spoon into jars; chill.
Banana Berry Smoothie: Place 1 large banana, ½ cup frozen or fresh mixed berries (add grapes, if you like), 2tsp wheatgerm, 1/2c milk, ½ strawberry or natural yoghurt and 2tsp honey in a blender; whizz...drink...straws optional! As well as not using jars other than for the purposes they're meant for, I always go for the no-straw option, too!
If you find your bananas are ripening quickly and you prefer eating bananas that aren't very ripe – slice the bananas into pieces and freeze the pieces in portions to be used for your smoothies at later dates.