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.
Onions!? As a kid I hated everything about onions… and peppers… and tomatoes for that matter. Spoiled and picky kid for 1, please. Thankfully as with most food things, I grew out of it and have learned to love onions. As I’ve been on a little bit of a roasted jam kick, an old flavor muse challenged me to a roasted onion jam. While it took me a while to pull this savory spread together, I am super pleased with the outcome (heck perhaps even kid version of me would have liked it), plus the sweet aroma coming from my apartment (I could smell it three flights down) after roasting the vidalia onions for an hour was amazing. This recipe is a modification on this sweet vidalia onion jam recipe. I decided to use apple cider vinegar but you could easily swap out the ACV for champagne or white wine vinegar (just make sure it’s at least 5% acidity) for a milder taste. What does one do with a sweet and savory onion jam you ask? How about pairing it with crackers/scones and goat cheese. Atop some bison sliders? Or better yet, and just in time for the holiday season, use it as a glaze on this year’s Thanksgiving turkey. I made tons of this jam, so if you’re interested in snagging a jar I’ll be swapping it at the next Seacoast Food Swap.
What’s new with you guys? Putting up any tasty Fall goods… pumpkins, apples, beets? Though a little late in the season (this depends on your summer temperatures), a friend of mine just surprised me with a flat of homegrown tomatillos. Yahtzee! Since the first time I laid eyes on the young plants earlier this summer, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the harvest of these husked green fruits. You can definitely expect some sort of salsa verde coming to a blog near you.
It seems as if the majority of my latest canning posts have had some sort of adventure/exploit attached to them. Most likely attributed to the season, or perhaps because I have acquired tons of new friends who also enjoy farmers’ markets, pick your own harvests, and tipsy late night jar’scapades, I have recently been reminded of how much I really enjoy the process of this hobby. Earlier this month a science lady friend and I were on our way out to the Great Bay Estuary to grab some mid morning water samples when I spotted a sign that read “PICK YOUR OWN BLUEBERRIES”! “Blueberries!… (looking at my watch, knowing that we were already behind time)… we totally have time, right?!” “Um… right?… yes… let’s do it!” Purple fingers, full stomaches, and satisfied taste buds we justified our spontaneous blueberry detour to Emery Farm and continued on with our science lives. Located in Durham, NH, Emery Farm is one of the oldest farms in the country… we provide our customers with our own fresh fruits and vegetables… dedicated to maintaining a down-home, family farm atmosphere… Upon further discovery, I learned that the farm is the oldest working farm in the Northeast. Of equally exciting news, the farm has volunteered its space for the August Seacoast Food Swap.
While picking and jar’storming (I’m on a role with these word combos tonight…), I consulted my flavor muse who suggested a myriad of different blueberry herb pairings. The result: this beautiful blueberry sage jam. I’d be lying if I said “I didn’t eat all two pounds of these berries that afternoon” requiring me to return the next day for additional recipe ingredients… hard life. 🙂 Stay tuned for a couple more blueberry creations as you can bet that I’ve returned for more pickings since that said morning.