Good People and Homemade Jam

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I Scored a TON of goods on my way home from work the other night. TONS of bread. Good stuff too — whole wheat, oat, 12-grain, and whole wheat bagels. All corn-syrup free which is a plus! I’m happy for the new freezer because now it’s practically full of bread.

A couple of the bags had stuff spilled on the outside or were smashed. I transferred the ones with gross stuff on the bag to clean bags and ran the smashed ones through the food processor, toasted them in the oven, and set them aside to use as breading later. Waste nothing!

At another dumpster, I found lots of produce, and a couple cans of orange soda. A truck was parked at the grocery’s loading dock, but I assumed it was just parked there. As soon as I actually got IN the dumpster the driver unloading the truck came out. I headed off any weirdness by just being up front and saying hi to him. He was out for a smoke-break… no weirdness at all. I talked to him about dumpster-diving, cooking, and veganism while I loaded stuff up, and he even helped me with hold some of the boxes as I climbed out of the dumpster. It was a cool experience! He was frustrated with the waste of the system as well and was glad to see someone using the still-good produce they dispose of. Who knows… maybe the seeds have been planted and he’ll investigate some of the things we talked about? Either way, definitely a nice guy!

Also, while cleaning out the refrigerator yesterday I realized I still have a whole pile of peppers from my niece’s gardening success this summer. I probably should have dried them, but I didn’t so I had to find something to do with them since they were starting to get wrinkly. So I made one of my favorite things on earth… hot pepper jam!

I’ve never made jam before, so I did some recipe research. I went for easy, and it came out great. I can’t wait to make more homemade jams! I don’t even know I’d call what I did a recipe… for a basic jam all you need to do is combine equal amounts of smashed fruit and sugar, then bring the mix to a boil on the stove until it’s between 220-250 degrees (putting my new candy thermometer to use!) — the hotter the thicker it will be.

I wanted to add something sweet to the hot peppers (mostly cerranos, a couple jalapeños, and one big banana pepper) so I added a couple handfuls of grapes to the mix. I debated cantaloupe since I had some frozen, but I didn’t want to go too exotic with my first batch ever.

I didn’t bother canning the jam since it was a small batch. I shared one jar with a friend, and kept a jar and a half for our house. I don’t think it will last too long! I’m really excited about making more jams both as a great way to use up excess produce and to experiment with flavors… I think strawberry-banana and zucchini-apple are next up on the list!

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