Adventures in Preserves and Pizza.

I recently cracked open a jar of that pickled eggplant.  As part of the ongoing series of canning classes I’ve been teaching, I’d been asked if I could please lead another pickling class because ‘pickling is fun’.  Indeed it is.  I knew I could still get eggplant, so I figured I should actually sample the pickles before making them again.  Served on some nice baguette with feta cheese and a drizzle of olive oil, pickled eggplant is a lovely antipasti. Continue reading

Green Tomato Pickles

Outside of my family, my friend Mollie is the biggest guinea pig for my culinary experiments, especially of the canned and pickled variety.  So when she declares that Green Tomato Pickles are hands down, my best pickle, she would know.  It wasn’t until this past summer when she asked for the recipe and started asking questions about the one I handed her that I realized I had sort of made up my own recipe for them.  I know, I’m slow on the draw about that, as this is not the first time I’ve realized I’ve made up a recipe unintentionally, after the fact.  I promised Mollie I’d get the recipe to her, so here it is.

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Pepper Jelly

One of the lingering after effects of the The Summer of Abigail is pepper jelly.  Abigail turned Edie onto the wonders of an afternoon snack consisting of crackers, cream cheese & pepper jelly.  When Edie realized I could make this for her, she immediately put it on my “to be canned” for her list, right behind pickled peaches.  After sampling several versions of it, she further decided I needed to get Mollie’s recipe (which was actually her mother’s recipe).  A quick email to Mollie’s mother Carla and I had it in my hands.

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Well, this.

For a few months now, I’ve mentioned various projects I’ve been working on but haven’t explained here exactly what they all are. As the time has been right for each one, I’ve shared them. This particular one that I’m about to share is probably the biggest one I’ve been working on, but have been the quietest about in this space.

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What to do with tomatoes.

I have two gardens this year, the usual one in the yard as well as an ‘off-site’ one in the community gardens.  Both have tanked this year.  Squirrels, rabbits, groundhogs and deer have feasted mightily.  The deer took out both the taller netting we put up to stop them as well as kicking down the wooden fence on one side of the community garden. It’s become a free range buffet to those beasts. The on site garden hasn’t fared much better. Two gardens and all I have to show for it is a bowl full of cherry tomatoes and a handful of peppers.  Even basil, supposedly so easy to grow anyone can do it, has been devastated by bugs. The Malabar Spinach I planted has failed to take off because it hasn’t been hot enough. (It did not get out of the 80’s once here the entire month of August.)  Major garden fail on every level.  I’m considering not having a garden next year, because the amount of work, not to mention money I’ve dumped into harvesting practically nothing is beyond frustrating. Continue reading

And go.

IMG_1943I often hear I should sell my pickles, particularly after I’ve shared them with someone.  I’ve kicked around the idea, done some research, but have hesitated to actually move forward with it.  For starters, some of those pickles are work.  I don’t want to become such a success that I can’t continue to hand pack each jar, because I’m afraid my pickles will lose what has been called ‘the taste of love’. Continue reading

Homegrown, in jars.

IMG_8949It was hard to capture exactly how loaded our cherry tree was this spring with cherries.  Last year, being the first year we harvested any fruit from that tree – a banner two pounds! – I was hoping to get as lucky, if not luckier this year. Continue reading