I aspire to Becky made gifts for most everyone on my Christmas list annually, but this year felt like the first in a while that I actually succeeded in doing that, beyond handing out jars of pepper jelly and pickles and jam. Although this year, I outsourced most of the jam to my friend Daniel the jam god. Between the great canning jar shortage of 2020 and the dire straights of most small businesses this year, it was a no brainer way to support one of my favorite local purveyors while also handing out handmade gifts. Not only is he able to source things like Damson plums, he may be one of the only people I know who is at least as picky about where his food comes from than I am. I know, right? I honestly don’t know why I haven’t outsourced to him before, but I’m totally doing it from here on out.Continue reading
Cucumbers are starting to come in and since I have a bit of reputation for pickling everything in sight, I’ve already started fielding requests for my favorite cucumber preserving recipes. I thought I’d go ahead and put all my favorites into one post, so from here on out, I can just send this link in response to “What are your favorite cucumber pickle recipes?”
I’ve long said that if you like making pickles, then you only really need one book on pickling – Linda Zeidrich’s “The Joy of Pickling”. In fact, I refer to it as ‘my pickle bible’. But I recently discovered another less known gem and I am revising that statement. If you like making pickles, “The Joy of Pickling” is essential, but if you love making pickles, then you also need “The Complete Book of Pickles & Relishes” by Leonard Louis Levinson.
Tuesday afternoons, I lead an after school cooking program at a county middle school for PB&J Fund in conjunction with the local Boys & Girls Club. It’s my second semester doing this and I really enjoy it. All I have to do is show up and teach the kids – PB&J fund does all the lesson planning and ingredient shopping and I swing by their kitchen on Market Street Tuesday afternoons on my way home from my day job to pick up whatever is needed for the day’s class. Continue reading
This past Saturday started out without much of a plan besides the current house reorganization Pat and I have been working on. I slept gloriously, deliciously late (9 am!) and by the time I got up, got caffeinated and motivated, the morning was definitely slipping by. I thought twice about heading to the market that morning – Pat’s gone for the week, Edie’s still at camp, so it’s just me, which means I will only need a handful of tomatoes to eat in tomato sandwiches all week (and I just so happen to have them!). I did have a hankering for some corn though, so I got myself dressed and headed down to the city market. Continue reading
My weekend can best be summed up as “produce dealing”. There was the bag of cucumbers Virginia dropped off that became bread & butter pickles, peppers from the garden that became pepper jelly, a round of watermelon rind pickles started thanks to Virginia trying to get to a watermelon before the little nibbling critters in our garden did, only to cut it open to discover it wasn’t quite ready for eating.
This week’s adventures involved no water fun – instead I opted to stay home and clean, which I know is sort of a head scratcher, but sometimes those time outs are necessary. Not that having a clean house has ever been a priority for me, but since taking on a M-F part time office job in addition to everything else we always seem to have going on, I find the house has moved even farther down the priority list. I despair of ever having a spotlessly clean house, but I did manage to get rid of piles and some mystery odors, so I felt rather productive and virtuous and for the first time in a good month, the den is hospitable again. Continue reading
I ran into my friend Annie the other night who asked when was I going to start taking orders for pickles again. I told her I hadn’t thought much about it, but I suppose I should. And so, here as promised to Annie Friday night at Bang!, is the post in which I talk about the pickle subscription. Continue reading
The canning program I had taken the reins of for Market Central has morphed into what I’m now calling the “Small Business Program”. To recap, I spent the end of last summer and all of last fall teaching a regular weekly canning class with the idea of recruiting and attracting individuals who were interested in learning to can as well as those who might be interested in starting their own canning business. I knew going into it the latter goal was a lofty one, as I know first hand what hard, hot work canning is. It requires a certain passion that’s hard to instill. In addition this passion, one needs cooking skills, knowledge about food (and gardening to some extent, at least the knowledge of the effects of weather can be on a particular crop) as well as the ability to navigate the seemingly confusing food rules and relations, line up suppliers, market to buyers AND be able to keep up with the money flowing in and out. There is quite a bit involved in starting a canning business and I wanted this program to address as much of it as I could. It’s one thing to learn to can, quite another to start your own business based on it. Continue reading
I know at least some of you have heard of Mrs. Wheelbarrow, aka Cathy Barrow, blogger and columnist for the Washington Post, if only because so many of you sent me her star-shaped watermelon rind pickle blog post this past summer. But did you know her food preservation knowledge is now available as a cookbook?