My Kitchen Is Alive!

My countertop fermenation farm:

My countertop fermenation farm: sour pickles, red cabbage kraut, kefir, the pizza dough and apple cider.

There’s something to be said for a quick and easy meal, that can make a hurried, hungry person happy in a matter of minutes.  A fried egg, for example, or a peanut butter sandwich, or a handful of cherry tomatoes fresh from the vine. 

But there’s something very different and just as beautiful to be said for foods that take a long time to create. Fermentation is a hobby of mine, I have to say—I get more excited about creating vast quantities of sauerkraut than consuming it, as delicious as it may be.

When, the other night, I looked at my counter and saw a total of 5 different cultured foods fermenting away (fyi: sour pickles, red cabbage kraut, kefir, sourdough pizza dough, and apple cider), I decided I had to write about it. Continue reading

The Pickled “Beet” Goes On

Finished pickled beets have a lovely color.

Finished pickled beets have a lovely color.

I guess I went a little bit overboard but really, this time it’s not my fault. I planted the beets eight weeks ago and we immediately had a month of constant, unrelenting rain.

Fearing the worst and not wanting to be beet deprived I replanted in another bed. As soon as the seeds were in the ground we had a month of Texas-style heat here in Western Massachusetts.

Once again I assumed a failed crop so I replanted again. Of course a few days back, I happened upon bed number one and discovered a terrific crop of beets. And the second bed has sprouted too, and now I find myself with an embarrassment of beets. It’s far too early for any of these beets to go in the root cellar; I’ll plant a late crop for that so these ‘early’ ones will need to be pickled. And pickled and pickled. Continue reading

Easy Bread And Butter Pickles Simply Delicious

Saving the Seasons is available now at Lehmans.com or Lehman's in Kidron, Ohio.

Saving the Seasons is available now at Lehmans.com or Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

Canning holds a lot of sentimental value for me—the popping lids and steaming kettles of food evoke warm memories of my mother’s and grandmothers’ cozy kitchens and home-canned goodies. That alone makes it worthwhile, but canning has other benefits as well. Buying large quantities of fruits and vegetables in season saves money on our yearly grocery bill. I like knowing where my food comes from and what’s in it.

Pickles are one of my must-can items every year. Home-canned pickles delicious and easy to make, they are considerably cheaper than store-bought pickles and free of the corn syrup, preservatives and artificial colors often found in commercial brands. Continue reading

Add Pop To Your Pickling With Fermented Dills

Click here to get this national bestseller at Lehmans.com.

Click here to get this national bestseller at Lehmans.com. It’s THE book to have if you’re into fermenting.

There seems to be a rapidly growing movement toward returning to traditional methods of preserving foods, such as canning, dehydrating, root cellaring, and even… fermenting.

Fermentation particularly seems to be an unfamiliar concept in our fast-paced culture today. Often times when Americans think of something being fermented, they equate it to being rotten or spoiled. We forget that sauerkraut, in fact, is a fermented food. And it’s highly nutritious for you, as are many fermented foods! Almost every culture around the world incorporates fermentation in their daily food preservation techniques. Americans are slowly beginning to re-learn this forgotten art. Continue reading

“Angelic” Dill Pickles Bring Sweet Memories

stilllifedills

When your cukes, garlic and dills are completely fresh, your pickles will be perfect! Click here to see a popular reference from Lehman’s!

I don’t make dill pickles anymore! I used to, for years. And when I did make them, many in my family like them and feel that the recipe I use is a great one.  But in the past few years, I have not made anymore.  Let me take you back to explain why, and share my pickle recipe with you.

In 2004, husband Norm and I bought our “forever home” in southwest Minnesota.  In October of 2005, we retired from Historic Murphy’s Landing in Shakopee, Minnesota, and moved down here.  Norm got a job and I stayed home, planning to start retirement in January.

On November 22, 2005, Norm fell and hurt his neck.  He had only been working for about 6 weeks, so had no insurance at work.  I took him to the VA in Sioux Falls, where they discovered that his neck was broken.  He spent a week in the hospital, getting a “halo” to hold his neck still so that it could heal, as surgery was not an option. Continue reading