Thursday, May 26, 2016

Adventures in Preserving


As we enter a new gardening season I have a renewed hope for a bountiful harvest of fruits and veggies coming from our property this year.  I have been researching methods of preserving it all so I don’t waste a morsel and I am hoping to share it all on this blog.

I started by listening to podcasts by Theresa Lowe of Living Homegrown.  Each podcast is about a half hour which is about how long my drive to work is so the timing is perfect.  Theresa also offers an on-line class called The Canning Academy which I have almost completed.  There is a wealth of information that can be printed out from there also.  Some things have changed since the days of watching my Grandmother do all this for safety reasons and also new technology so it is good to have her guide me as I get started on this new adventure.  I am really not totally new to canning, but some things I did because that is all I knew and now I am equipped with a whole lot more information from a reliable source.  The Living Homegrown website introduced me to fermenting in one podcast.  In the past I thought fermenting was just how you made sauerkraut and I liked sauerkraut, but not enough to actually make it.  Well, I now own a Kraut Source and have made several batches of different fermented foods including strawberries.  My first batch though was with kale I grew and added some cabbage and carrots and more and it turned out a very tasty sauerkraut unlike anything I have tried from the grocery store.  I can’t wait to do more fermenting and canning.

I have been making my own yogurt also.  I made a few batches in the past, but gave it up because it was always runny and sour tasting.  Well, after listening to one of Theresa’s podcasts on making yogurt I found Cultures for Health and got a culture for a mesophilic  yogurt that you can make with no effort in a jar sitting on the counter for a day or two.  It was a lot less sour, but still runny.  It was great for smoothies and I have some popsicles in the freezer from that batch.  I got inspired though to try my hand at other yogurts though and have since had great success at some cooked variations using different cultures from Cultures for Health and even Fage yogurt for my culture.  I want to keep my posts on all this subjects short so I think I will divide the topics and cover yogurt with my recipe in more detail in another post.

As things go when you are hoping around on the internet ‘researching’ I stumbled upon a link to a new book just coming out called Batch by Joel MacCharles and Dana Harrison.  They spent 3 years putting this book together.  They are in Canada and I am so glad that I found them because their book and Facebook page called Well Preserved, have inspired me so much.  The book was just released about 3 weeks ago and I got my copy right away from Amazon.  It is so well laid out alphabetically by produce with recipes of how to use what you can, ferment, infuse and more.  They even cover salting and smoking.  The few days leading up to the release of their book they were doing some short videos on their Facebook page using some of what you would find in the book and it was very helpful actually seeing it done.  Joel made everything seem so simple.  He likes to make things in batches so when you are cutting up strawberries for a jam throw some in a jar with a few extra ingredients and ferment them or I added some in a jar to my Braggs vinegar and a few days later I strained them out and had a tasty vinegar to add to dressing and drinks.  I even found it was great to add to fresh berries to eat with my yogurt.

There is a whole new world in food opening up to me and I hope to many others as we grow our food and find new and exciting ways to use it.  I have so much more to share here on my blog…

more to come…keep it growing!


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