Strawberry Rhubarb Basil Shrub

Strawberry Rhubarb Basil Shrub- Putting Up with ErinStrawberry Rhubarb Basil Shrub- Putting Up with Erin

Happy spring y’all. Happy or not so happy crazy March weather. I’d be lying if I said I miss those surprise 1foot of snow blizzards of the North East United States. It’s been a pretty busy month on the home front. I’ve been traveling (hello Hawaii) for work, preparing food swaps, planning pickle contests, writing for the local Indy Week food column, and on top of it all gearing up for a move. Oh, and did I mention writing for (stay tuned… guest posts) and prepping shrubs for the Food in Jar’s Mastery Challenge?

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Chive Blossom Vinegar

Putting Up with Erin-Chive Blossom Vinegar

Wondering what to do with those pretty purple blossoms that you’re seeing atop your chive plants? I spent the majority of my morning running around the Durham Farmers’ Market shopping for herbs for my new garden. After careful planning, mental designing, and avoiding plant conflicts, I finally settled on chives, dill (duh?), basil, thyme, and oregano. When I got home this afternoon, I was routinely picking the the wild strawberries from the property, when all of a sudden I came across an herb garden… a decorative herb garden that my previous landlord Emily-Kate so smart-fully and generously planted with tons of the same herbs that I just purchased… damnit. Nonetheless, I still plan on planting my own crops as practice makes perfect (right?) for this kill happy (of plants) California gardener. In full bloom, the chives were running rampant with these beautiful purple…rain… chive blossoms. A few quick thoughts… “what can I do with those purple blossoms?” and I decided to go for infused chive blossom vinegar.

Super easy: (1) wash the little buggers out of 2 cups of chive blossoms and pack in quart jar, (2) bring 3 cups white vinegar, white wine vinegar, or champagne vinegar to just a boil, (3) pour hot vinegar over blossoms, (4) cap and let set for ~ 2 weeks, (5) strain and enjoy!

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Giveaway: New Ball Jar Products!

Putting Up with Erin- Ball Jar Giveaway!Putting Up with Erin- Ball Jar Giveaway!

Happy Friday! Thanks to the people over at Jarden Home Brands, maker of Ball Jars, I get to share their new Spring 2016 collection with you. Everything you see here is for photography and review purposes only. No additional skrilla’ was provided (dang). Now onto the shiny products accompanied by my deepest thoughts…

First up, the Wide Mouth Plastic Pour & Measure Cap. “Erin this is the coolest thing they sent you!” This super efficient and handy accessory doubles as a lid and measuring cup. The inside of the cap is lined with measurements (cups and tablespoons). I plan on picking up a bunch of these for dry goods food storage.The Pour & Measure Cap costs $3.99 when purchased independently or $5.99 for a cap and jar combination! What a steal.

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Introducing the Bull City Food Swap!

MayBIg

Hey Durham friends! After 8 months I just couldn’t handle it anymore, I’ve been sitting on the idea of starting of food swap here in my new home since my first week in town… “OH man this town is just hungry for a swap!”… But I listened to some valuable advice and chilled until I got acclimated to my new surroundings. Now with spring fruits and veggies in full bloom, the time has come.

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Cynar Cranberry Sauce

Cynar Cranberry Sauce- Putting Up with ErinCynar Cranberry Sauce- Putting Up with Erin

Amaro… amaro… such a pretty, romantic word. Before moving to Durham almost 4 months ago now (wow), little did I know that I had in fact tried amaro before in the form of Fernet Branca, a more well known amaro that is hitting the food/hipster world. So aside from just a pretty name, which turns out means “bitter” in Italian, amaro is an herbal liqueur that is commonly enjoyed as an after-dinner digestif. It usually has a bitter-sweet flavor, sometimes syrupy. Thank you Mr. Wikipedia…. The second time I tried amaro was earlier this year at The Portland Hunt & Alpine Club. I had no clue what I was tasting, but I knew I enjoyed it more than Fernet Branca. At the time I was a bit distracted by the amazing aesthetic of the establishment, so much that I didn’t make note of what we were tasting. Fast forward 5 months and I instantly recognized the iconic bottle with an artichoke on it while enjoying a drink at a neighborhood cocktail hangout. Cynara scolymus, known commonly as artichoke, is the predominant ingredient that lends to the drink’s name, Cynar.

In following in the footsteps of my boozy cranberry creations from the past two years, I decided to try Cynar as the main ingredient for this years’ cranberry fun. Port was awesome, whiskey was safe, Cynar is just weird. But weird in a really complimenting way with the tart flavors of the fresh cranberries. For this recipe, I kept it quite simple: berries, spices, sugar, citrus, ginger, and booze. Depending on your palate, I’d recommend tasting your sauce before canning, though know that as the mixture sits and cools, the flavors change a bit. I wouldn’t typically opt for bitter, tart, and sweet together for my canning recipes, but as a friend all knowingly suggested pretending that I was making a strong cocktail surprisingly worked out great. Enjoy!

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