Strawberry Lime Jam

Strawberry Lime Jam-Putting Up with ErinStrawberry Lime Jam-Putting Up with Erin

I call this my “happy 4th of July jam”. I get that today isn’t the 4th of July, but I made this Jam on the 4th, so that counts for something, right? If you recall from last summer, I’m pretty pumped about pick your own (PYO). My experience thus far in picking my own fruits and veggies is limited to apples, blueberries, raspberries, kale, herbs, and cauliflower. Picking your own veggies is so much cheaper and so much more fun. With the narrow picking window for strawberries, I had to get on it, as I’ve never picked strawberries nor made a strawberry jam before. Also, blueberry picking season just started!!

So what is it about picking my own? For me, it has to do with many things: saving money, keeping it local, helping out the smaller farms, etc. The one thing that I love the most though is the meditative aspect of it. Bare feet and a short skort I was looking for only the best berries at Applecrest Farm Orchards last week. The greatest feeling ever… Too small, too tart, too yellow… not for my jam.

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Curry Maple Pickled Kohlrabi

Curry Maple Pickled Kohlrabi-Putting Up with ErinCurry Maple Pickled Kohlrabi-Putting Up with Erin

Ever since hearing about the beau’s trip to SE Asia last week, I have been craving ethnic foods like no-bodies business. “Erin, what do you want for dinner tonight?” “Asian, Thai, Chinese, sushi, Indian!” With an Asian flare in mind, I decided to play around a bit with curry brines for this here pickled kohlrabi recipe. I liked the idea of adding a coconut flavor, but nixed that idea as I wasn’t sure a) how the coconut flavor would come across, and b) because I wasn’t convinced of the safety of canning coconut or coconut sweeten milk. Instead (with the input from several foodie friends), I opted for this sweetish curry maple kohlrabi recipe. The amount of maple syrup that you add is completely up to you. I initially added only 3tbsp for 3 pints of pickles, but after tasting my brine decided to double the amount for a stronger maple punch. Eat these pickles straight from the jar, as an appetizer to any Asian meal, or sliced atop your favorite Chinese chicken salad. Kohlrabi courtesy of Heron Pond Farm located in South Hampton, NH.

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Fermentation: Kefir

Fermentation: Kefir- Putting Up with ErinFermentation: Kefir- Putting Up with Erin

Did I ever mention that I co-authored a text book chapter on fermentation and the use of starter cultures? While it was quite a laughable learning experience, I do feel a bit more educated in something that before a year ago I knew little about. As many young “hipsters” these days do, I’ve had my share of fermentation fun: kombucha, kimchi, sauer kraut, and now kefir. About a month ago, I was offered a kefir starter culture for some pickles at the Seacoast Food Swap. I had tried store bought kefir before, but never really bought into the phenomenon because I honestly just thought it was another drinkable yogurt product. My first batch went horribly wrong as for some reason I thought fermenting milk at room temperature for 7days was OK (duh). But, now that I’ve got the hang of it, I’m kefir wild! It’s soooo much better and cheaper than the pasteurized kefir products you find at the grocer. I’ve actually started skipping my morning routine of yogurt and fruit for a cup of this slightly tart ferment mixed with local maple syrup. Plus, with the summer temperatures arise, I’m forced to take a break from my other fermentation hobby (kombucha) due to defeat by god damn fruit flies…

You may be wondering, “what’s all the hub-bub about with this kefir stuff?” I am still learning about the history, health benefits, etc. of kefir, but I thought as I’m super excited about this new found glory, that I’d share some interesting stuff I’ve learned over the past couple weeks with you. Because it’s late and I’m feeling weird, I’ve opted to share the odd things about this here fermented product.

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