Tomato paste is a wonderful thing to have on hand. It’s thick and rich with flavor. We use it for thickening spaghetti sauce (which can be a challenge when you make your own homemade spaghetti sauce***), enriching the flavors in stews and soups, and for adding some zing to grilled cheese sandwiches. Have you tried tomato paste on grilled cheese?… Read More
Preserving Your Harvest
From garden to table, I will show you preservation techniques. Enjoy a jar of spring berry jam in the fall or corn on the cob in the dead of winter.
Mixed berry jam is perfect for this time of year. The strawberries are just wrapping up for the season, the raspberries are abundant, and we’re starting to see some blueberries on the low bushes. None have appeared on the high bushes, but they’ll be here before we know it. This is the recipe I make, but feel free to change… Read More
1 to 1. That’s the average ratio of fruit to sugar in most jam recipes (commercial and homemade). I’m not going to lie, your standard jar of sugary homemade jam tastes divine, but do we really need to be starting our day with that much sugar? Is that really much better than handing my kids a donut for breakfast?… Read More
Do you have a bunch of squash on hand? Freeze it for later! Freezing spaghetti squash is super easy and takes less than an hour from start to finish. It’s a great way to save your favorite gourd for winter. After you learn how to freeze spaghetti squash, be sure to scroll down to the bottom for some excellent recipe ideas.
Summer is winding down and before you know it all the glorious fresh herbs we’ve been taking advantage of will no longer be available. It’s time to talk about how to dry herbs. You can simply bring them indoors and hang them as bundles from hooks (I like doing this with lavender). You can also make racks/screens like these ones. When you need to preserve a lot at a time, it’s easiest to dry herbs with a dehydrator.
I love dill pickle spears. I prefer spears over coins because they stay crisper. Yes, late at night I sneak to the kitchen to eat them right out of the jar. Shhh, don’t tell my children. There are a lot of dill pickle recipe ideas online, but there is something they all lack. The secret to a crispy pickle. Leaves. Plant leaves.
Specifically, I am referring to grape leaves. Grape leaves contain tannins that inhibit a naturally occurring enzyme in cucumbers that cause them to soften. Other types of leaves (such as oak and cherry) work, but may cause a bitter taste in your pickles.
I love applesauce. I eat it not only as a snack, but I transform it into other goodies. Don’t worry, I’ll share a few of them at the end of this post. Applesauce is very easy to make and it’s preserved using water bath canning, so it’s good for the beginning canner. Straight apples are enjoyable when you make it at home. You may think you know what applesauce tastes like, but you have no idea unless you’ve had it made fresh with no preservatives and gunk. Sometimes, however, I like to give it some pizzazz.
Canning tomatoes can be very rewarding, but it can also be very tedious and time consuming. The hardest part, in my opinion, is peeling all those tomatoes. Do you have any idea how many tomatoes are in fifteen pounds of tomatoes? It’s a lot. Enough to make your fingers wizzled.
I’ve got a way to get through the peeling phase so much faster. This method is great for those of us in colder climates who only get a few tomatoes at a time.
Canning and freezing is a great way to preserve produce for a long winter, but sometimes you want it fresh. If you are buying produce at your local grocery store out of season, I guarantee you are paying too much. Wouldn’t it be better to just grab an apple or a head of garlic from your own storage?
It sounds like a curse of sorts, doesn’t it. Maybe something you would say when the jelly you made doesn’t set up to the right consistency. In fact, flipping jelly is an old-school canning technique that involves pouring very hot jellies or jams into jars, tightening the canning lid, and turning the cans upside down on a towel for 5 minutes or so. After the five minutes or so, you flip the jars right side up and allow them to cool and (in theory) ping. The fancy term for it is inversion canning. It’s also occasionally referred to as open kettle canning.
As the first wild onions become well established in their usual nooks of our yard, I begin pickling the first batch. Wild onions look and taste much like green garlic but have only slightly plumped bulbs. The lovely brine gives a wonderful flavor to garlic cloves, sliced shallots, green onions and other vegetables, as well.
You know those things that you buy regularly, only to realize they are super easy to make? Canned pumpkin is one of those things. It is ridiculously easy to make at home with high quality pumpkins. What’s more, it’s sort of fun to make as well. My kids love helping me make pumpkin puree.
It wasn’t until 2013 that I really got into canning. My mother is a canning guru and I enjoyed the benefits of her knowledge and skills. I’d send off a basket full of dirty raw carrots and receive back perfectly canned carrots. Although I saw no real problem with this arrangement, I did think it was high time to learn the magical art of canning.
Crab apples are often overlooked when it comes to preserving and cooking. Who could blame you? They are both sour and bitter at the same time. They often look funky. It takes some real creative genius for making them taste just right, but fear not… I’ve done the work for you.