If you have been reading for a while, you know that I love food preservation just as much as I love to cook. There is something about shopping in my own pantry and freezer that makes me slightly giddy with joy. Over the years, I have written books on all sorts of food preservation: Canning and Preserving for Dummies, Canning and Preserving All in One, Fermenting for Dummies. Each one is filled with good ideas and recipes for creating homemade meals from the farm kitchen.
I never could understand why the art of pressure canning wasn’t as popular as it once was. I think it fell out of favor when people had access to frozen foods and that meant a lot less work. The rise of convenience foods meant the decline of doing things ourselves.
Pressure canning is an important part of my everyday life, and I am excited to be bringing you another book on the subject. I am working on a book titled Modern Pressure Canning, and it’s going to be unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
It’s not just a traditional canning recipe book, and I will be sharing many of the fun and funky recipes that help me be creative cook throughout the year. I’m excited to see what you think, and will be blogging my journey from recipe box to full color book. Stay tuned!
Do you pressure can anything? Share in the comments below!
At the farmer’s market this morning, I bought a large root of horseradish. Actually, I only bought half of the piece, because it didn’t smell that spicy, and I was worried it would be too mild. Isn’t it lovely?
Making ground horseradish is pretty important for our winter’s diet. The spicy oomph that it brings to the heavier dishes, can’t be beat. Even the kids like it mixed with mashed potatoes or to make a spicy dip for fries. For our family, having 4 jars of this condiment is a must have.
The strange thing about horseradish, is that it loses its flavor when cooked, so I can’t seal the jars. Although they are not sealed, it stays fresh and delicious just sitting in the back of my fridge.
To make horseradish yourself, find a fat root of it at the market:
After washing (it can be pretty dirty), peel the skin and ends.
Chunk it up and place into a food processor, with a pinch of salt and 1/8 cup of white vinegar.
Blend until smooth.
WARNING: After blending, keep your face away from the top as you open it. The fumes are very strong. Then, place in your canning jar with a lid and band. Place in fridge to store.
For more info on horseradish,
Horseradish also makes a fantastic flu tonic
A post I did for EarthEats.org
Yes, yes. I know the whole story about eating whole foods, local produce and buying from small farms. Heck, of course I do ( Its my life!) However, like any good intention, I do think we get a little too nutso about it.
Although we eat food that I mostly raise and process or butcher, my kids are not denied foods because of it. I do have to say that I don’t give them junk food or (gasp) fast food, until they were old enough to ask for it(more than once). I still can get away with buying them that sort of stuff once in a blue moon. I truly think its because they never developed a taste for it when they were young. May be I am off base, but that’s my story and I am sticking to it.
Anyways, there are foods that you can use to fill out a meal and make it feel fun, for mere pennies. I am talking about foods that might get the poo poo from families, based on the local or pureist stance that they take with food. I find most of the extremists are people without families, those that can afford to eat a Freegan lentil soup for 7 days and still live to blog about it. 🙂 But what of the people feeding children?
I feed our family of 7 and my husband’s mother for less than 500 a month. Its not always pretty, but I get it done. Now, eating food on this sort of budget leaves very little room for junkfood. I don’t do boxed or prepared foods anyways, so that is not an issue, but sometimes, a kid just wants something fun to eat. Even if they have never tasted the fast food version of it. Case in point, here are 5 things I buy, that make a meal fun. Not one of them is purchased from a local farmer:
1. Koolaid – I do buy the invisible one.. Make it with ¾ cup of cane sugar and serve.
2. Jello – c’mon…its J..e..l..l..o! No seriously, from ice pops to whipped jello, this is a cheap, yummy treat. Add fruit, use it to make jelly, make it and offer a sick child as a drink when dehydrated. Just make it and serve with whipped cream. Its pretty versatile. Yes I know its made from cow hooves…I am ok with that. Better than throwing them out.
Chocolate chips – I cant ever believe I am defending these, but CC are perfect for making any cookie dough more spectacular. I double or triple the dough amount and keep the CC to the single batch size..works every time, no one even misses the extra chips. OR mix with raisins and make cookies that way. They visually look loaded with chips. Just saying..
Sugar – Yes, I eat sugar. It isn’t something we pound into our foods every day. I don’t get all sweaty about it. We just eat a dessert that has sugar in it. I made it, I know whats in it. I do buy cane sugar though. NO matter what anyone in any office says, sugar is NOT sugar. Cane sugar is Cane sugar.
We also love Agave, honey, molasses, maple syrup and stevia drops. They don’t scare me either. We use them, not live on them.
I guess my point today is not to sound high and mighty. It is just to illustrate that a grocery store shouldn’t appear to be frightening or dangerous for healthy eating. In all honesty, we should have the option to buy foods as we can afford them. If you are frugal, you can still eat treats and fun things..just make them yourself, and keep them a treat. That means once in a while and enjoy every bite.
Photo: Flickr user Ricketyus
Orange Cranberry Muffins
There was a bakery back in Ogunquit Maine, that sold the most delicous muffins. They were photo perfect, and the size of 1/2 loaf of bread (ok may be not THAT big). You could easily share one with a friend and both feel satisfied.
I loved those muffins. Ever since those days, during my home cooking adventures on the farm, those muffins were the catalyst for experimenting with flavors and textures. My muffins are never as pretty, they are sort of misshapen and squishy looking; but the flavors have been a big hit over the years.
Today’s recipe is Cranberry Orange Muffins. These started from a simple muffin recipe in the Betty Crocker Cookbook, and I jazzed them up with a few extra flavors.
Start with your favorite muffin recipe. Mine are based on the plain muffin recipe from Betty Crocker recipes.
I have to double, since there are 7 of us. I added a hint of nutmeg, the zest from one medium orange and 2 cups of cranberries that I had in the freezer, and then chopped right before adding.
I changed the crumble on top from white sugar to brown and voila!
Here is what happens when the season is not warm enough to ripen the tomatoes, but is plenty warm enough to grow them! What? That isn’t too many you say? Well, this is ONE box. We have FIVE and a 5 gallon bucket of them, in storage.
So, what do I do with all these tomatoes? Tonight, I am making fried green ones. Because we love to deep fry them, I make a slightly different recipe than many southerners would recognize. Trust me, they are still delicious!
The coating(based on a fish and chips coating):
1 1/3 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 1/3 cup water
-Mix dry ingredients in one bowl
-Mix vinegar and water in another bowl
-Pour wet ingredients into dry and whisk until smooth.
That’s all there is too it!
For the tomatoes, choose firm tomatoes of any size. Slice 1/4 inch thick(this will be slightly thinner than usual).
(EDIT: If slices are particularly juicy, you may want to coat them with flour first, to allow the batter to stick).
Dip into batter and let excess run off for a few seconds before dropping in HOT lard.
Fry for 2-3 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Yes, this means you have permission to taste one. 🙂
This batter is slightly salty and adds a great flavor to the tomatoes. You can use the same batter for deep frying any vegetables. Let me know how you like it!