Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Beginning of a Summer Kitchen

Our old gas grill was really feeble, so we replaced it this year with a Big Camp Chef III grill.  It has three propane burners and a grill box that can be placed on two of the burners.  It is fabulous.  I called several places and searched multiple websites over several weeks until we found the best price (amazon, a few months ago when we bought it).

Next year, we're hoping to launch our grand plans for our summer kitchen (see my Pinterest board for some of my ideas!), but this year, we are getting used to the grill and seeing what it's like to cook and can outside.
grill box on, pot of boiling water on the available burner
I love boiling corn - the burners are 30,000 BTUs which means I can get a huge pot of water boiling in what feels like minutes (I should time it one of these days).

now our butter will stay this way all summer

Last week, I did my first canning project:  dill pickles.  Inside, I would have heated the jars in the oven.  Outside, I heated them in hot water in the canner.  I boiled the pickle brine on another burner.  I kept the lids and rings hot in my slow cooker.  Everything worked beautifully (except that I ran out of salt, vinegar, and garlic mid-project - seems like the first canning project of the season must always be ill-supplied).  

grill box off, three burners available

This year, I added a grape leaf to each jar; supposedly, the tannic acid in the leaves will help to keep the pickles crisp.  I also carefully sliced off each end of the cucumber, which also supposedly makes crips pickles.  I'll report back.

I also made a half-gallon of fermented dill pickles following the loose directions in The Art of Fermentation.  They are in the fridge now after their 3-day ferment, puckery and crisp, but not vinegary which is what I think of for a pickle.  We like them a lot.

Have you thought of setting up a summer kitchen?  Do tell!


Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

What a wonderful start to your outdoor kitchen.. [and all that canning heat is outdoors....great idea]

Our garden is just now coming the canning is beginning. I made pickles and chow chow last week.

Unknown said...

I can outside since I have a glass topped range. I use our propane camping stove, works great! I use a steam canner, so no pressure canning for me. Just acid foods.