Tag Archives: canning

Seasonal Canning: Picklefest 2012!

Thanks to everyone who made it out to last month’s Picklefest editions of our seasonal canning workshops.  We learned the ways of hot water bath canning, as well as making a plethora of different pickles.  As always, it was great to hang out in the garden of the Compost Ed Centre at the end of a hot summer day to talk and make food together.  It feels even better to leave an evening like that with some jars of pickled beets, zucchini dill pickles and pickled blueberries to line the walls of your pantry and make you feel all stocked up for winter.  Click through for some recipes from the workshop as well as a round-up of tasty looking pickle recipes. Continue reading


Seasonal Recipe Round-Up: Zucchini Edition

Photo by clayirving, used under Creative Commons license

At this point, it’s pretty much a dusty old cliche that every gardener is frantically trying to unload squash on friends and neighbours at this time of the year.  However, some stereotypes exist for a reason, and this is one of them!  If your zucchinis are busting out of the garden faster than you can eat them, if you’ve started resorting to leaving baskets of zucchini on strangers doorsteps, or if you’ve ever played a rollicking game of summer squash baseball (the zucchinis are bats and the overgrown pattypans are the balls, in case you were wondering), this recipe round-up should help you out!  Continue reading

Urban Homesteading Book Reviews

I tend to spend a lot of time reading about urban agriculture projects (both because I have a rad job that allows me to do so and because I am a nerd who would do so anyway) and recommending resources to folks looking to get started on an apartment balcony garden or amp up their sustainable urban ways.  I’ve put together reviews of four urban homesteading books I’ve read recently (all of which are available at the Victoria Public Library), and would love to hear about what books or online resources you’ve read and enjoyed as well. Continue reading

Seasonal Recipe Roundup: Cherries!

Photo by Wonderlane, used under Creative Commons license

As I type this, there is a huge bucket of cherries from one of the trees on-site here at the Compost Ed Centre sitting on the office floor.  We are all gorging ourselves on cherries, but I can still see tons more hanging off the branches of the tree outside the window.  I’m not telling you this to boast (honest!), but to mention that cherry season is here, and if you’re not taking advantage of it, I highly recommend doing so as soon as possible!  In case you get sick of just gobbling them down fresh (it seems impossible at first, I know, but I’m getting close to my saturation point and it’s only been two days), I’ve put together a seasonal recipe round-up with some rad and unusual looking cherry recipes.  You won’t find any jams or pies or cobblers, but there are some shrubs, pickles, and fruit leathers that look pretty damn fine. Continue reading

Seasonal recipe round-up: Peas!

One of my favourite parts of summer is eating fresh pod and sugar snap peas right from the garden.  Honestly, I don’t usually plant enough to actually have any left over to cook with after my snacking frenzy has abated (with the exception of my year farming when I was drowning in peas but lacking in time to cook them), but I made an effort to plant more this year and am hoping to try out some recipes.  I’ve collected some delicious looking options below — hope you dig them!

Minty Pea Pesto:  If you’re still only making the standard basil/parmesan/pine nut pesto, it’s time to start branching out.  Not just because pine nuts are now approximately the same price as gold, but because because there are so many other tasty flavour combinations to check out.  This minty pea pesto from The Cozy Herbivore is vegan (miso subs for parmesan to create a similar depth of flavour while cutting out the dairy) and looks incredibly flavourful.  Pesto freezes well, also, so this could be a good way to stock away your excess pea harvest.

Pickled Sugar Snap Peas:  This recipe for hot water bath canned pickled snap peas from Blazing Hot Wok would be pretty fast to make, and looks amazing (of course, that statement is coming from someone whose judgement is altered by a fairly serious pickle addiction, so keep that in mind).   The author suggests the pickles as a good companion to charcuterie, but I suspect they would be pretty totally great just fished out of the jar and eaten on their own as well.

Fresh Pea Salad:  Heidi of 101 Cookbooks describes this dish as a “jazzed up pea salad with a spicy mint-date dressing [with] some shredded romaine lettuce and a few toasted pumpkin seeds for added crunch and texture.”  I’ve long been a fan of Heidi’s simple but original recipes, and this one is no exception.  The mint-date dressing sounds like it could be pretty versatile as well — you could always make a double batch and try tossing it with grains or pasta as well.

Chilled Pea Pod Soup:  This soup recipe from Chocolate and Zucchini is most excellently frugal, as it makes use of your pea pods after you have already shelled and devoured their contents.  The author describes it as “the nose-to-tail philosophy applied to the vegetable kingdom,” which is a pretty fantastic idea.  I had never realized that I could do much of anything with my pea pods besides toss them into the compost, so I’m stoked to try this simple but delicious looking chilled soup.

Fresh Green Peas and Sugar Snap Peas in Sesame Dressing:  You can’t get much simpler and faster than this double-pea recipe from Epicurious — the peas are just-cooked and tossed with an easy but flavourful looking dressing.  It looks like a great summer side dish, and you could easily adapt the idea to any flavourful dressing or sauce.

Peas and Lettuce:  I have always, perhaps unfairly, been slightly suspicious of cooked lettuce.  Maybe it’s just a lack of imagination on my part, but it kind of weirds me out, frankly.  With that said, this recipe for peas and lettuce with its allusions to simplicity and adaptations of traditional French cooking techniques makes a reasonable case for lightly cooked lettuce.  Plus, it’s a good candidate for an all-garden meal, with the main ingredients being peas, mint and lettuce, all of which many of us can pluck straight out of our yards.  I should probably at least give it a try in the interests of not narrowing my culinary options:  if cooked lettuce proves to be amazing, I will feel like a bit of a jerk for neglecting it all these years.

Seasonal Canning Workshop: Strawberry Rhubarb Butter, Tuesday June 19th, 6-8 pm

The weather’s warming up here on the Island, and that means the local strawberries are coming into their own! At this hands-on workshop,
we’ll celebrate these fruits by combining them with rhubarb and flavourings to make a batch of heavenly, spreadable Strawberry Rhubarb Butter.

As a change from the typical fast speed of cooking jam, this recipe is made in a slow-cooker, which is a neat tool to add to your home canning skill set. As we can the fruit butter in glass jars to preserve it, we’ll also cover the basics of modern hot-water bath canning techniques, equipment, safety issues, and resources for the home canner. Each participant will take home a small jar of fruit butter and the recipe.

Location:  The straw bale building at the Compost Education Centre, 1216 North Park St, Victoria, BC

Suggested donation:  $10 (no one turned away)

Please email slugs.coordinator@gmail.com to register!

Seasonal Recipe Round-up: Radish Rampage Edition

I was thinking that I must be ridiculously behind on the gardening front since I’m still getting lots of radishes and not a ton of other produce from my garden, but my informal survey of pals tells me that due to the cold, wet spring, we’re all pretty much in the same boat.  As such, the theme of this month’s recipe round-up is a radish extravaganza.  As good as they are to eat straight out of the garden or sliced in salads, it can be good to switch it up once in awhile.  Hope you get a chance to try some of these recipes and that you dig them!

Quick Pickled Radishes:  Marisa McClellan of Food in Jars doesn’t really seem to be able to write a non-compelling recipe.  As such, this quick radish pickle looks great.  She suggests this recipe as a great way to deal with a glut of extra produce (it’s so easy to make that it would be easy to scale up), and notes that the recipe is a bit of a blank slate and is great to customize with whatever seasonings suit your fancy.

Zero-Waste Radish Green Pesto:  I’ve never really sorted out a good use for radish greens, so I was stoked to find this pesto recipe from The Cultivated Life.  The recipe itself looks delicious (Meyer lemon peel and pistachio = maximum tastiness), but I think you could also veganize it or sub radish greens into a favourite pesto recipe of yours if you’d like to switch it up.

Radish Butter:  Described as her “most favorite radish recipe ever” by the author at Grow It Can It Cook It, this radish butter recipe looks kind of totally amazing.  For one thing, you can use even your more ugly cracked, split radishes for it; for another, it is pretty much as easy as mixing it all together, and finally, c’mon, it’s a bunch of butter — you can’t go wrong.

Baked Radish Chips:  If kale chips are getting a little old and you’re trying to avoid cozying up with a bag of potato chips too often, these radish chips from Simple Comfort Food look like a great option.  They get bold colour and flavour from turmeric and curry powder, but you could likely tweak those seasonings to good effect, if you were so inclined.

Spicy Radish Relish:  This radish relish recipe from Milkweed Diaries would be mega fast if you had a food processor, but a good meditative process with just a hand grater as well.  The author says it makes a potent relish that can be used as a topping or palate cleanser, but she also suggests it as a great healing tonic for the winter months when your immune system is feeling less than peppy.

Radish Salsa:  This Mark Bittman recipe was a total essential for me the year I was farming.  We were essentially drowning in radishes all through the spring and I rapidly exhausted my existing repertoire for radish recipes.  This salsa is easy to make as well as shockingly delicious.  Give it a try!