For the past 2 years I’ve found myself partially admiring and partially envying the canned goodies at the Bonlee Grown Farm stand at the Durham Farmers’ Market. Every Saturday, I swing by for a taste of their latest flavor, but secretly I’m looking for inspiration… Their set-up is always super inviting with their grandmother’esque tablecloths and smiling staff. This past Saturday, pepper relish on my mind, I couldn’t pass up a conversation with the farmers’ daughter Ramy, and grabbed some of these beautiful yellow and orange bell peppers. While I was at it, I picked up a couple different varieties of peppers, including some Lombardo peppers Puerto Rico peppers, from Four Leaf Farm.
“Wait, you have a canning blog?” David and I have become regular friends at the Durham Farmers’ market. “We’ve been chatting for over a year, how did I not know you have a food blog!?” David is usually my source of homegrown shitake mushrooms, so when I spotted this beautiful bounty of garlic scapes at last week’s market, I was delighted to finally feature Heeks Farm. As I wasn’t too keen on the texture of plain pickled garlic scapes that I made a couple years past, and having heard about garlic scape pesto, I knew I was looking to make something I could spoon onto meat or bread. Garlic scape relish, Yahtzee! A quick modification of the garlic relish recipe I found over at Fresh from the Farm, I spiced things up by adding fresh minced jalapeño and some cilantro leaves. Mustardy, sweet, and with a great crunch, I suggest letting this relish sit for sometime to let the whole mustard seeds mellow out. Producing 8 quarter pints of lustful green relish, what perfect item to trade at tomorrow’s Bull City Food Swap. 🙂
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.
Hey everyone, sorry for being MIA lately. With the holidays, family in town, some pretty harsh deadlines (science), and the snow, life has been a bit hectic lately. Also, with our local farmers market series on hold during the summer to winter market transition, my selection of local ingredients was limited. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been having a hard time mustarding (my way of saying mustering) up the creativity for a second year of new fall/winter produce recipes. With the return of my long-overdue “canning hour”, I had planned on putting up yet another cranberry recipe (mainly because I still have 3lbs of berries left). But seeing that Thanksgiving has already passed, I decided that I would toss them in the freezer and use them later when one of my brown winter recipes is in dire need of some color.
Last night on the way back from a meeting at Redhook Brewery, I decided to swing by a local grocery spot to pick up some veggies for the weekend. I typically try to stay away from big-name grocery stores for my canning items, but I couldn’t pass up a 2 for $1.50 pomegranate deal!! So I bought 3 packs… but… then, when I got home 10 minutes later, I realized that I had forgotten the bag with all the pomegranates in the checkout line… damnit! I haven’t re-visited chutney making since my somewhat disappointing apple adventure last fall. I knew I wanted pears, pomegranates, and jalapeños to be the base of this recipe, but wasn’t really sure where to run with it. Luckily my flavor muse of a boyfriend was around to lend a helping hand. Ginger, red wine vinegar, dried currants? Yes, yes, and hell yes! Not only is this savory pomegranate pear chutney pretty amazing, but I learned quite a bit about chutney making during the process. For example, did you know that you can hear and see caramelization while it happens? Yes? OK, well I didn’t… Enjoy this tart and savory chutney with a holiday pork chop, or take it to a Christmas party for absolute all around enjoyment. 🙂
I’ll go head and apologize ahead of time for the nostalgic sentiment of any upcoming blog posts… I’m pretty excited about the 1 year anniversary (heck that’s longer than most relationships…) of this here blog (blog’versary?). It’s that time of year again when “canning season” starts to slows down and putting up in season, local goods requires a bit more creativity and effort than the obvious applesauce and pumpkin butter. As you’ve probably noticed, I’m not really one to make the same thing twice (except for this salsa verde) so it’ll be interesting to see how the season goes.
I had no clue that tomatillos were a late summer/fall fruit, I always thought that like tomatoes they popped off during July and September. Yes and no depending on where you live; tomatillos are meant to be planted 75-100 days before the first frost. When my friend Elaine surprised me this past weekend with 10lbs of tomatillos that she picked from her garden I was ultra ecstatic. I had been waiting for these green husked beauties all summer, AND she said that “there will be more”! Last summer before Putting Up with Erin was even an idea, I came across some tomatillos at the Baltimore farmers market and made a rendition of this salsa verde. I had hopes of mixing it up this year, but I quickly found that most tomatillo recipes don’t pass the safe canning test (i.e. the low acidity of tomatillos- even with added citric acid- doesn’t ensure a botulism free environment). Not to be discouraged (tomatillo and pear jam will happen once I get a pH meter), I decided to put up some of this tried and true roasted salsa verde from Food in Jars. The recipe below is the same as the original recipe just quadrupled. It’s EXTREMELY important that you don’t mess with the ratios in this salsa for the acidity point noted above.
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