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...]

Immune Boosting Herbs in Finger Gelatin

Immune Boosting Herbs in Finger Gelatin - combine anti-viral and antibacterial herbs with fruit juice and honey for a healthier sweet treat.

If you’ve been watching the reports about an unusually strong respiratory virus sweeping across the U.S. and looking for more ideas to give your family’s immune system a boost, you may want to give this recipe a try – or make your own variation.

I made “jello flu shots” by infusing immune boosting herbs in finger gelatin made with fruit juice.  Call them what you like, and enjoy some extra anti-oxidants and cold and flu fighting herbs. 

These are not made from the prepackaged gelatin dessert.  The color comes from fruit and vegetable juices. They are thickened with plain gelatin, or agar agar can be used if you need a vegan alternative. [Read more...]

Gummy Zucchini Candy Recipe – Naturally Sweetened

Naturally Sweetened Zucchini Gummy Candy Recipe - Tastes like commercial gummy treats with no artificial flavors, colors or refined sugar.

Overwhelmed by zucchini or summer squash?  Make some zucchini gummy candy!  I saw a recipe online that made them with drink mix and sugar, and coated them with more drink mix – more sugar and artificial color and flavor than I prefer.  So I decided to experiment with a simpler version using fruit juice concentrate.  It worked out great!

Naturally Sweetened Zucchini Gummy Candy Recipe

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Getting Started With Dutch Oven Cooking

Dutch Oven Cooking - Cook anywhere and anyplace. Indoors, outdoors, in a stove, over a fire, in a hearth, on a wood stove, even in a sun oven. #castiron #castironcooking

If you can cook in a dutch oven you can cook anywhere and anyplace–literally and figuratively.  Yes, you can cook indoors and outdoors, in a stove, over a fire, in a hearth, on a wood stove, even in a sun oven, which is all pretty amazing. But there is something about that knowledge that spills into other parts of your culinary life.  Maybe, it’s the nostalgic images of our ancestors cooking over an open flame in a dutch oven that gives you confidence that the way has been paved, perhaps it’s simply the knowledge that if you can’t get it to work the way you want with one method you can find another, or maybe it’s just the attitude of if they’re hungry they’ll eat it as people have done for centuries because what is cooking in the dutch oven is what’s for dinner.

Getting Started with Dutch Oven Cooking

Dutch ovens can be made of ceramic, clay, or cast iron. I will be focusing on cast iron dutch ovens in this post as they are the most common and most versatile dutch ovens. [Read more...]