Thankfully I can finally say it, “the holidays are over”! I had a rather low key holiday. I decided to stay home as Thanksgiving was a bit hectic this year, and a break from everyone and everything was exactly what the “doctor” ordered. I considered getting out for a bike ride or hike on the beautiful (50F) day, but instead found myself drinking and pickling these here root veggies. So… how did everyone fare? Get any pickling books, gadgets, appliances? I received a couple more pieces to add to my already excessive Le Creuset collection (thanks mom).
If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been slacking on pickle recipes and have been focusing my attention on jellies, chutneys, and mustard recipes instead. To be honest, with the exception of carrots, it’s hard to get excited about pickling turnips and other brownish root veggies. When I came across a pre-packaged mixture of local, no-spray root veggies from Garens Greens at Riverside Farm, I was instantly reminded of my summer-time jardiniere and figured because carrots, turnips, and radishes are amazing as pickles à solo, a winter “melange” à trois would likely be equally as awesome. Including beets to the mix seemed like an obvious addition here, but I decided to leave them out as I wasn’t trying to discolor the final product.
Unless you’ve hung out with me for quite some time, you probably don’t know the extent of my secret second love: the game of cribbage (or should I say that game your grandp(m)a, old man on the corner, or old man in the elderly home used to play). When asked the random question of “if you could be anywhere, doing anything, what would it entail?”, my answer typically has something to do with 1) pickles, 2) the outdoors, 3) beer, and 4) cribbage. Come to think of it, some part of that answer probably can be attributed to the fact that when I originally learned how to play, all 4 of those items were involved.
The cranberry days are over… The cranberry days are done… (Set to Florence & the Machine’s Dog Days are Over). After a very pink blog, 5 pounds of berries, and nearly 2 months of recipes, I’ve finally made it through the last of my Maine Cranberry Co. cranberries. I had planned on saving back the remaining 2lbs of berries till spring time, but when I found myself in need of a “fresh” item to bring to the December food swap, the cranberries came through. This super easy (but not so high yield) cranberry juice recipe did just the trick. I never knew that 1) making homemade low sugar cranberry juice was so simple and that 2) you can put it up! Make this recipe with white sugar or honey for a more sour twist. Depending on your fine mesh strainer size the juice will either come out like mine, thicker like a concentrate, or more like juice found in the grocery store. Enjoy this homemade juice in your favorite cocktail (think cranberry, lime, vodka) or serve it as is with seltzer over ice.
‘Tis the season for booze infooozed jellies! With little-to-no local in-season fruits in New Hampshire, I was forced to resort to alcohol. Hard life, right? The other evening while rushing around the grocery store for canning ingredients I completely forgot my bag of 6 pomegranates in the check out aisle. To ensure that I wasn’t loosing my mind, I called customer service before I made the trip back to the store at 9pm, and they confirmed my forgetful fate. I figured that maybe it was a sign and that there was probably a reason for my forgetfulness: Ball Jars and liquid pectin! On my second trip through the check out aisle, the manager asked what I was making, which led to the mention of the blog, which in turn led to the manager not charging me for any of my canning supplies. “I feel bad that you had to drive back down here (mind you it was my own damn fault), so these are a gift from me because you have a great blog!” What? Who does that? Thus deeming Portsmouth, NH grocery stores the friendliest I’ve ever encountered (a cashier at Trader Joe’s once gave me a free house warming plant).
Typically when I go to the market I take my sweet time which involves: doing the pickle inspiration rounds, saying “Hi” to each and every (no, really) person I know, and then a final lap to actually buy the veggies. Amidst the unexpected visit to bouncy world, the freezing cold weather, misbehaving auto parts, and a killer migraine, I finally made it to my first Seacoast Winter Farmers’ Market last Saturday at Wentworth Greenhouses in Rollinsford, NH. The only difference between this weekend’s visit and other visits (aside from the location and a bunch of new vendors) was that I showed up with only about 30mins to “market” before the closing bell rang. This meant it was time to hustle, and as you can probably imagine, it’s difficult to hurry when someone (cough) has a talking problem.
Tucked in the back corner of the market was the New Hampshire Mushroom Company‘s booth. New to me as they weren’t at the summer market in Portsmouth this year, I kind of freaked. I began talking with the somewhat scraggly, somewhat older seasoned mushroom man about the company’s mushroom enterprise and before I knew it, the market was about over and the vendors were starting to pack up. Frantically forced to make a decision, I went with blue oyster mushrooms as the vendor offered up a last minute 5 pound box for $12 deal. Blue Oyster (Pleurotus Columbinus) mushrooms contain the same benefits that have been shown with King Oyster mushrooms. Blue oysters have been shown to increase immune response, reduce cholesterol, and have been used effectively as an antibiotic.
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