Strawberry Mojito Jelly

Strawberry Mojito Jelly-Putting Up with ErinStrawberry Mojito Jelly-Putting Up with Erin

Mojitos… what do mojitos make you think of? Summer, bathing suits, rum? For me, it’s a standard mojito that I once ordered at an overpriced Cuban’eqsue bar in Baltimore. A spot where I recall years back hanging with my good friend John sipping minting sugary drinks from a pitcher. Located in a more “bro-dude” part of town, I remember my tom-boy ways, always comparing myself to all the tanned, tiny, sorority type of girls adorned in pastel dresses and beige high heals. Running my fingers through my short pixie hair and looking down at my cutoffs and chucks, I say to John, “compared to all of these pretty girls, guys like “that” would never go for a girl like me.” “Erin (!!), you’d never go for guys like that.” Bam, I knew he was absolutely correct, but my self doubt and body consciousness was still at question. Things have changed, I now realize that I too am and always have been a “pretty” girl. I highlight this quick memory for Body Positivity Week. OK, onto this super sexy jelly…

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Strawberry Mustard

Putting Up with Erin- Strawberry MustardPutting Up with Erin- Strawberry Mustard

I’m not exactly sure why, probably the strawberries…, but it seems only appropriate that I drink a glass of home-brew strawberry mango kombucha while I write this strawberry mustard blog post. Sensing a theme here? STRAWBERRIES!!! I am up to my ears in strawberries. A little over a week ago the wild strawberries on my property started to ripen. My initial thoughts were “this is amazing, I am going to have fresh strawberries everyday.” A week later… “god damnit, I have to get home so I can pick them before the nasty roly polys beat me to it!” Honestly, I feel like I’m at war with the little strawberry buggers. Don’t get me wrong, and I’m definitely not complaining, I’m having tons of fun with it. Everyday is like Easter for fruits: I get to hunt for the ripest, juiciest, reddest berries amongst the bugs and weeds. Oh man, now I  can’t wait till cherry tomato season.

Thinking of ways to mix it up and get creative, I decided for this initial bloom (boom?) that I’d play with some savory ideas. Initially planning on doing a strawberry relish (not sure if that’ll actually work), I came up with this whole grain strawberry mustard instead. A super easy mustard recipe and depending on your desired taste you can modify by adding more or less strawberries. Enjoy this sweet and tangy mustard with cheese, crackers, and perhaps another savory jam or jelly. The strawberries featured in this recipe were picked locally at Lyon Farms.

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Chive Blossom Vinegar

Putting Up with Erin-Chive Blossom Vinegar

Wondering what to do with those pretty purple blossoms that you’re seeing atop your chive plants? I spent the majority of my morning running around the Durham Farmers’ Market shopping for herbs for my new garden. After careful planning, mental designing, and avoiding plant conflicts, I finally settled on chives, dill (duh?), basil, thyme, and oregano. When I got home this afternoon, I was routinely picking the the wild strawberries from the property, when all of a sudden I came across an herb garden… a decorative herb garden that my previous landlord Emily-Kate so smart-fully and generously planted with tons of the same herbs that I just purchased… damnit. Nonetheless, I still plan on planting my own crops as practice makes perfect (right?) for this kill happy (of plants) California gardener. In full bloom, the chives were running rampant with these beautiful purple…rain… chive blossoms. A few quick thoughts… “what can I do with those purple blossoms?” and I decided to go for infused chive blossom vinegar.

Super easy: (1) wash the little buggers out of 2 cups of chive blossoms and pack in quart jar, (2) bring 3 cups white vinegar, white wine vinegar, or champagne vinegar to just a boil, (3) pour hot vinegar over blossoms, (4) cap and let set for ~ 2 weeks, (5) strain and enjoy!

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Fennel Pickled Asparagus

Putting Up with Erin-Fennel Pickled AsparagusPutting Up with Erin-Fennel Pickled Asparagus

Thank god that the downtown summer Durham Farmers’ Market is back in season. Not that I didn’t love freezing my ass off racing around the 2 hour only winter market with all the other eager shoppers, but…. With the summer market, comes spring and summer crops and man am I excited for the fresh bounty. For the past several Saturdays Lyon Farms, located in Creedmoor, NC, has been slinging asparagus like crazy. 3 bunches for $9. Yes, please. With the upcoming Bull City Food Swap I needed something to pickle, and these green, in season beauties did just the trick.

Out running errands for my new garden, I picked up a couple bulbs of fennel from the local grocer, sliced them thin, and voila… fennel pickled asparagus. Enjoy! Oh, I almost forgot… The winner for last week’s Ball jar giveaway is #6 Ali. Congrats, I’ll get ahold of you shortly with more details. Thanks to everyone that commented. Reading everyone’s favorite thing about canning reminded me why I can myself. Beautiful really.

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Sweet Pickled Green Strawberries

Putting Up with Erin- Sweet Pickled Green StrawberriesPutting Up with Erin- Sweet Pickled Green Strawberries

Holy hell you guys…. I caught my kitchen on fire while pickling!! OK.. before you and my mom freak out, it may have been just a small scrap on the burner and the pickles are fine, but, nonetheless I caught my stove on fire! That’s like a right of passage for canners, right? 🙂

A couple years ago, an old friend suggested that I pickle green strawberries. What? Weird. It never actually came to fruition as I waited too long and said green strawberries became red strawberries… but I never forgot the weird, funky suggestion. Fast forward to this morning when I was working in the yard (my first raised bed garden, btw) when I noticed a hundred tiny, wild, green strawberries just begging to be pickled. Careful not to pick the large, juicy, almost pink ones, I managed to collect several cups full of green berries.

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