Tag Archives: preserving

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

Food Dehydration

Photo by alyssssyla, used under Creative Commons license

Big thanks to everyone who participated in last week’s Food Dehydration workshop!  There was a great group of folks with lots of expertise in growing and preserving food, and it was a lot of fun to hear about everyone’s projects, challenges and goals.  For those of you who missed the workshop, you I’ve put together some helpful information and tasty recipes to help you with your food dehydration adventures.  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

Book Review! Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen

This book is amazing!  I got it from the library, but am seriously considering buying my own copy:  such is the radness contained herein.  Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen also wrote The Urban Homestead, which I dug, and I think this book is even better, or at least a fantastic follow-up.  In the intro to Making It, the authors talk about how The Urban Homestead was basically a book of ideas, and they wanted to follow that up with a practical toolbox.  I’m all for this line of reasoning — we need broad and inspiring visions for the future every bit as much as we need the nuts-and-bolts skills for how to get from here to there.

Coyne and Knutzen have a pretty epic urban homestead from the sounds of things, but many of these projects will also be completely within reach for folks who live in apartments and are just starting to learn how to garden or compost or become do-it-yourself makers of stuff.  I like how approachable they make the process of learning:  the book is organised into five sections:  day to day, week to week, month to month, season to season and infrastructure.   Each individual project gives you a very clear idea of the time commitment you’re making by taking it on.  If you’re working from the day to day section, you can start with what the authors describe as “gateway projects that may addict you to a more homegrown lifestyle,” such as homemade oil lamps that take five minutes to make, simple homemade tooth powder, styling gel (just flaxseeds and water, amazingly enough!), and the like.  Week to week tackles anything from easy one-pot meals to old-fashioned vinegar-based sodas like the adorably named switchel to basic sewing skills.  Month to month will school you on indoor gardening, tinctures, cloth menstrual pads and many other handy things.  Season to season contains more ambitious projects like soap-making, saving seeds, and how to espalier.  Basically, this book will inspire you, but also give you the practical tools and instructions needed to turn that inspiration into concrete results.

If you’re feeling inspired already, but your copy of Making It hasn’t appeared o the library hold shelf, I would recommend checking out Coyne and Knutzen’s blog, Root Simple.  They are mega frequent bloggers, posting anything from cool random DIY links to more involved tutorials or descriptions of their projects.  Definitely worth adding to your list of places on the internet machine to check out from time to time.

My initial quick browse through Root Simple turned up some inspiring and varied projects that I wanted to share:  Our New Earth Oven and How We Built It, Ditching the “Flushie” for a Composting ToiletHow to Roast Your Own Coffee in a Stovetop Popcorn Maker, and 3 Things To Do With Citrus Peel are all pretty totally fascinating, clearly presented, and look really fun to work on.  

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!