Pepper Pickled Broccoli- Putting Up with Erin

Happy sunshine, happy Thursday, happy science! Earlier this week I had a “Wait a minute, what am I doing with my days? It’s time to get back to being productive and back to being serious about science” moment. In my over-enthusiastic moment of glory, I may have went a little overboard in printing papers, stocking up on notebooks, and buying highlighters (I haven’t been this excited about fluorescent pens since the age of 6 when I discovered the supply closest at my mom’s office). Today I’m playing hooky from campus and instead opted for a comfy coffee shop couch as the day’s workspace. On that note, and I apologize ahead of time, I’ll be away in Biddeford, ME all next week playing scientist. If you notice a lack of blog posts there’s the reason why.

What’s the word with all of you lately? Is anyone canning anything new, preparing crops for a late summer canning explosion, getting excited about canning workshops, etc.? As expected, the local farmers’ market here in NH is still to packed to the brim with leafy greens and spring onions. I’ve noticed that a few other canning blogs have recently been featuring fruity strawberry creations. Fresh strawberries have yet to hit the local markets in my area, but once they do you can be sure to expect a boom of blog color coming your way. Today’s pepper pickled broccoli recipe employees a geographically wide list of ingredients: dried chili peppers acquired during a trip out west earlier this year, a slew of seeds and spices picked up over the months from various ethnic grocers across Baltimore city, and fresh broccoli and garlic from the Golden Harvest produce market in Kittery, ME. A very quick and easy-to-modify spicy broccoli pickle that will pair up nicely with any picnic, cook out, and/or lazy night meal. Enjoy!

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Cuban Style Black Beans-Putting Up with ErinCuban Style Black Beans-Putting Up with Erin

Happy Memorial Day! For various reasons including the weather, my birthday, “school is out of summer”, etc., May has always been my favorite month. Fortunately, living in a new state and city during the month of May has proved just as favorable. When I moved to New Hampshire a month ago I was told “fully enjoy the next 3 weeks as the Seacoast region after Memorial Day gets a bit wild”. I now hear that and think, “More wild than April? Oh boy! This could get unhealthy!” 🙂 What weekend festivities do you all have in store for the holiday? The weather in Portsmouth is forecasted to be 75F on Monday, and as I’ve quickly learned during my limited time here, as soon as temperatures sustain above 70F, playing hooky and beach days are in order. I plan on spending they day BBQ hopping, birthday celebrating, and hopefully donning a pair of short shorts and sunglasses!

Not that today’s recipe has much to do with Memorial Day, but putting up beans is always exciting right!? It’s been a few months since I’ve pulled out the good ol’ pressure canner and honestly I can’t imagine a point at which I will feel totally comfortable building a preserved food bomb in my kitchen. These pressure canned cuban style black beans are a great pantry staple for quick use in any black bean soup or rice and bean recipe. So good and so flavorful! Enjoy and have a great holiday weekend!

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Zucchini Pickles-Putting Up with ErinZucchini Pickles-Putting Up with Erin

!!! LOCAL, SEASONAL, ORGANIC !!!

Now that I’ve got your attention, I need your advice/suggestions on how to proceed forward with this notion of preserving only in season, locally sourced, and organic goods. As you’ve probably noticed, the week before last I had some business cards printed up. Not completely thinking it through, I added the tag line “~local, seasonal, organic~” to the top of the card. Over the weekend, I was out looking for pickling inspiration at a veggie market in town, I started talking with one the store employees about canning, mentioned she should check out the blog, handed her a business card and was promptly called out, “you realized that nothing in your cart is local, in season, or organic right?!” RIGHT!? After stuttering my way through a half-assed response, I began thinking about my latest claim to crunchy fame. She was right, and now I sit here wishing I would have either omitted those words from the business card or added the fine print: “when possible…”. The thing is, that in order to stick to those terms the only produce that I could actually use would be from the “local” farmers’ market, and even so, to what radius around town does one consider local? In terms of timing, typically people put up in season food for the winter, and hence the “canning” season, and to that- seasonal in which locale? What I’ve quickly learned in having a year round canning blog, is that it’s absolutely impossible to fill the remaining months of the year with in season, locally produced goods.

So the question remains, do I try to only put up local, in season foods (which probably won’t be an issue come summer) and/or do I add a disclaimer to the blog or on every non-local, non-in season blog post?

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Watermelon Radish Relish- Putting Up with ErinWatermelon Radish Relish- Putting Up with Erin

You know when you move to a new place, meet tons of people right away, but soon realize that even though you’re surrounded by new “friends” you don’t really know anyone yet at all? This is my 4th week in Portsmouth, NH and I suppose one could say that I’ve “settled” in quite nicely. There’s been plenty of bicycling, yoga’ing, working, and figuring out which coffee shops/pubs are my scene. Yet that unsettling feeling of constant state vacation hasn’t lifted just yet. With the warmer temperatures, landscapes, farmers’ markets, and festivals in full bloom I’m not sure the feeling will cease till winter returns. Getting to the point, I’ve found it more healthy to not flounder in that unfamiliar feeling, but rather direct that energy towards work and canning! I’m pretty excited to delve in and share all my bountiful summer creations, seeing that this time last year the blog wasn’t even on my radar.

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Rosemary Rhubarb Jam- Putting Up with ErinRosemary Rhubarb Jam- Putting Up with Erin

Happy happenings to all the moms out there. I don’t know about you, but not only did I hang with mom today (bloody mary’s included), but she motivated me to get going on the early morning farmers’ market this weekend. While perusing the local market for a little putting up inspiration, a local farmer recommended that I visit another local produce market across the river in Kittery, Maine. One french press coffee and a maple doughnut later, I found my indecisive self at said local market excited by the potential of essentially everything and was texting a friend, “oh my geeze, I need to get out of this place” followed by a silly amount of exclamation marks.

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