Eight weeks ago I attended my first yoga class at Empower Yoga in Portsmouth. The class was great and exactly the “chilling out” that I needed after moving and driving 8 hours from Baltimore the day before. As a tradition, every Friday a group of ladies go out for post yoga coffee. Not only was I the newest coffee club member, but I was also the youngest attendee by a good ~20 years. After interrogating me on everything from my status (cough… 29/F/single) to my blood type we moved onto the epic topic of canning. Within seconds a new friend exclaimed, “I have a garden the size of half a football field, please come out and harvest things to put up!” For some ridiculous reason, probably because at the time I didn’t have any wheels, I didn’t jump at the instant mention of this phenomenal opportunity. After much hassle of wrangling plans/rides I finally made it out to the estate last weekend, and I think I can safely say that I harvested enough rhubarb, mint, mustard greens, cilantro, etc. to last me until next spring. 🙂
Because I’m a pain in the ass and insist on doing everything a little different, I decided to dismiss the whole strawberry rhubarb thing this week and opt for a cherry rhubarb creation instead. A food savvy friend recommended I throw some mint into the mix (genius) and voila: ladies and gentlemen I present to you mint cherry rhubarb jam. The flavor and consistency is almost perfect, the only thing I would change is maybe upping the mint a bit more. I was a little worried that the sweet cherry taste would overpower the overall flavor of the jam, but after letting it sit for a couple days the tart rhubarb notes are definitely starting to peak through! Enjoy.
Have you ever been to a food swap? I was talking canning with a new foodie friend this past weekend and mentioned the Portland, ME food swap and how I wanted to attend the next event. We got to talking and discussing food swaps in more detail and quickly came to the conclusion: let’s just start a food swap here in Portsmouth, NH… 24 hours later and not only was the Seacoast Food Swap FB page created (with 70 likes within the first 3 days), but also a venue, volunteered help, flier, and an event date nailed down. High five for making things happen! To be honest, when I somewhat irrationally created the FB page at 1am this past Sunday, I didn’t really know what I was committing myself to, nor did I fully understand what a food swap entailed. Luckily with a little bit of digging, my understanding and excitement for the bartering/silent auction event only grew. Whew! On that note, if you live in or around the Seacoast region and are interested in attending the Seacoast Food Swap event in July it should be a great time. You can find out more about the event through the Facebook page or by contacting me directly. You know I’ll be there slinging my wares.
Today’s honey pickled kohlrabi recipe was kind of a last minute “crap I have an extra 2 pints worth of chopped kohlrabi but I’ve ran out of the main recipe ingredients” type of recipe. As I typically do, though this time may have been a bit more frantic as the hot water canner was set and ready to go, I consulted the magical world wide web for kohlrabi pickle inspiration… Sure enough, traditional chinese honey pickled kohlrabi was one of the top search results and I had all the ingredients plus some. As the recipe notes, I added star anise while preparing the brine but ended up removing the pods before canning as I wasn’t sure how well the overwhelming anise flavor would bode. Enjoy!
Curious canning newbie: “What are you up tonight?”
Me: “Canning jam. You?”
Curious canning newbie: “Ha, aren’t you the party animal…”
Me: “You know me, wild Friday night. Want to get weird and come over to learn how to can?”
Curious canning newbie: “OMG that sounds amazing, I’ll bring the wine!!”
Don’t you just love it when others are equally excited about your nerdy hobby as you are?!? Last night a couple of friends joined me at my place for an impromptu canning demo. Completely as expected, chaos ensued and the story involved an emergency dash to the neighbors to borrow a whisk, one too many glasses or wine/cider, and magenta jam all over my tiny kitchen. I decided to revisit the idea of using beer as a jam base and this time employed Earth Eagle Brewings‘ Barelyberry pilsen gruit saison. EEB’s Barelyberry is an ale brewed with labrador tea, sage, yarrow and blackberries. Light fruit character throughout with a refreshing spice and faint blackberry finish. I hadn’t planned on adding anything other than pectin, sugar and lemon juice to the ale based jam, but after further thought and MANY taste tests 🙂 , I decided to go ahead and throw in some fresh blackberries to boost that “faint blackberry finish”. If you have any issues tracking down a berry gruit, just substitute in any other berry ale of your choosing.
I met Josh (pictured below) from Meadow’s Mirth farm a few weeks back at his stand at the Portsmouth farmers’ market. Meadow’s Mirth is “a small organic farm on New Hampshire’s seacoast cultivating a wide variety of field grown vegetables, flowers, herbs…”. Instantly impressed by his assortment and display, I found myself intrigued by his mid season green garlic. Not quite familiar with green garlic or ready to commit just yet, I sat on the idea of pickled green garlic for a couple of weeks until this past Saturday when I took the plunge and bought a couple bunches of these scallion look alike beauties. Enjoy these pickled green garlic stocks as a quick pickle snack, or use them as you would green onions or garlic, noting that it is stronger than the former but milder than the latter.
Please excuse the brevity of this post, the weather in Portsmouth is absolutely amazing today and I can hardly contain my inner excitement to get back outside. Until next time, keep pickling and as always thanks for putting up with Erin. 🙂
A few years back, I challenged myself to buy one new unfamiliar item each week from the Baltimore farmers’ market. Being quite inexperienced in the kitchen at that time (let’s be honest, I’m still pretty inexperienced), there were plenty of options to choose from. I started with easy and familiar items like eggplants, radishes, and turnips. One Saturday I came across a veggie that I had never seen before, a veggie that looked like what I would imagine an underwater alien beet would look like. I only bought a small bunch and I recall inquiring about the mystery vegetable. I could have sworn the farmer said it was called cholerae… For those of you who know anything about my area of research, a veggie called cholerae is more than exciting, yet also quite terrifying! Long story short, I got excited about experimenting with my chosen veggie of the week, let it sit in the fridge for 5 days, forgot it’s fake name, and never stepped up to the challenge. Weird veggie: 1- Erin: 0. Failure!
This past week, I was at The Black Birch in Kittery, ME and was lucky enough to sample some of their house pickles. A very nice assortment exhibiting various levels of vinegar spiced flavor. Onions, carrots, cucumbers, the works… and one crunchy pickle I did not recognize… surprise (I know the anticipation was killing you), it was that alien beet veggie, correctly called kohlrabi. You better bet that when I spotted 4 bunches of purple kohlrabi at the Wake Robin Farm stand yesterday at the Portsmouth farmers’ market I had to buy all of them with one thing on the mind: RE-MATCH! The underwater alien beet kohlrabi put up a very strong fight, it was probably one the most difficult vegetables I’ve every peeled, but the pain and suffering resulted in an honest win and these awesome mustard spiced kohlrabi pickles. Crispy, and chock full of flavor I think these pickled kohlrabi sticks would be a great accompaniment to any indian or mediterranean dish. Enjoy!
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