The 5 Easiest Vegetables to Store

The 5 Easiest Vegetables to Store - These crops are so simple to store they should be a staple in every garden or "stock up" item from the farmers market.

In this post I’ll discuss the easiest vegetables to store and how to store them.  These crops have all moved onto my “must plant” list because they  require little or no processing and last reliably in storage for months.  I also have a quick video of our awesome new root cellar makeover.  August and the boys did a great job adding a ton of storage to the root cellar under our front porch. [Read more…]

Maple Candied Walnuts, Plus How to Process Walnuts for Long Term Storage

Maple Candied Walnuts, Plus How to Process Walnuts for Long Term Storage - Curing Walnuts, The Best Nutcracker, Soaking Nuts for Easier Digestion, Storage

While the main focus if this post is how to process walnuts, this recipe for Maple Candied Walnuts from The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen is lovely and couldn’t be easier.  They make a tasty and unique gift. [Read more…]

Pickled Dilly Beans with Garlic and Cayenne Pepper

Pickled Dilly Beans with Garlic and Cayenne Pepper - this easy vinegar pickle will allow you to can green beans without a pressure canner.

Our green bean season is all but finished here in northeast Wisconsin, but a friend of mine down in Texas mentioned that she just planted her fall crop of beans and it is coming along nicely.  So, for my southern gardening friends, and for northern gardening friends to pin for next season, I’m sharing the dilly bean recipe that I made up earlier this year.

Home canned dilly beans are another recipe that always reminds me of mom, like the pickled beets I shared a couple of weeks ago.  Vinegar pickles of all different types were a staple growing up on the farm, from the jewel red beets to the slippery pickled mushrooms.  I remember one year when mom did a huge crock of some sort of cucumber pickles in a corner of the kitchen, but I don’t remember what recipe she used.  I have to ask my siblings and see if anyone else remembers.  Pickled veggies add a great crunch to any meal and may help aid digestion by adding a bit of acidity to the mix.  Pickling (adding vinegar and salt) also allows you to water bath can vegetables that would otherwise require pressure canning. [Read more…]

How to Make Hard Cider

3 Easy Ways to Make Hard Apple Cider- Hard Cider Recipes

The most basic hard apple cider can be made on your counter top in a matter of days, and is one of the easiest home ferments.  For long term storage, you need a bit more equipment, time and patience, but it’s still a fairly straightforward process.  I’ll share three ways to make hard cider in this post.

Did you know that back in colonial times, most apples were pressed into cider?  And since there was no refrigeration, the only fresh apple cider came right off the cider press.  The rest was served as hard cider.  The book Wild Fermentation notes that in Massachusetts in 1767, annual hard cider consumption was greater than 35 gallons per person – that’s a lot of cider! [Read more…]

Gram Irene’s Pickled Beets

Gram Irene's Pickled Beets - Pickled beet recipe that's pretty enough for a crystal bowl on a holiday table but easy enough to enjoy anytime.

When I was growing up, I remember many afternoons of sitting on the porch steps with a canning kettle full of steaming beets, peeling off their slippery skins to get them ready for pickling.  Although they been cooked, drained and covered in cold water, they could still hold a lot of heat, so tender fingers needed to toughen up in a hurry.  (My boys still squawk about how hot I keep the dishwater.  I think they need to peel more beets.)  Soon the canning shelves would be filled with jewel-like red jars.  There was always a jar of pickled beets in the fridge on hand for meals, and for the holidays they’d be served up in a fancy crystal dish.  Mom always canned up a big mess of beets each year, but I rarely made pickled beets since no one in the house would eat them except me.  Fast forward, and my eldest son has decided that he now enjoys pickled beets.  Given that he’s built like a linebacker, he can go through quite a few of them, so I figured it was time to dig out the pickling spice.  Here’s momma’s recipe.  It’s similar to the Ball Blue Book “Beet Pickles”, but just a little simpler on the spices. [Read more…]