Archive for the ‘June’ Category

I eat local because I can

I saw the title of this post on a t-shirt recently. It was printed right below a photo of a Ball jar. I thought it was delightful and immediately wanted one of my own, but had to settle for stealing it for a title instead.

It applies because I am hosting a canning Q and A at the Elgin Harvest Market this afternoon, from 4-8 p.m. I’m a little nervous because the market is in a parking lot — which is made of asphalt — and the heat index is well over 100 degrees today… ah well. I eat local because I can, and I want the world to know!

Anyway, I wanted to post the resources I hope to share with whichever brave souls sweat their way over to my little tent this afternoon.

Putting Up: A Year-Round Guide to Canning in the Southern Tradition, by Steve Dowdney. This book was written by a professional, large scale canner who wanted to share his famous recipes and techniques with home cooks. I have found it to be extraordinarily useful. is, by far, my favorite canning blog, and I go here first to find recipes and ideas for all kinds of creative and delicious ways to store food in jars. is Ball’s official website and contains FDA regulations for canning, as well as recipes and instructional guides. This is the place to go if you’re concerned about food safety. It’s also a very neat, attractive, and user-friendly site.

Zucchini Salsa:
This is my own, large-batch recipe, developed over a summer spent with zucchini coming out of my ears…

Shred: 10 cups of zucchini (or any summer squash)
Chop: 4 onions and 4 peppers (sweet or spicy)
Combine all that and add 1/4 cup pickling salt and let sit over night.

In the morning, drain, rinse and put in a very large pot.

Add: 2 tbsp. dry mustard, 1 tbsp garlic powder, 1 tbsp cumin, 1 cup vinegar (I like apple cider), 1 cup lemon or lime juice, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tbsp red pepper flakes, 1 tbsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1 tbsp cornstarch, 5 cups chopped tomatoes, 12 oz. tomato paste.

Bring to a boil, then simmer 15 min.

Add to sanitized jars, seal, and water bath for 15 minutes.

Pickled Radishes from last summer.

And I’m off to the market! Pray that I don’t melt!


June Berry Love

Here is a short list of things I love particularly in June:

1. Organic produce.

2. Friends with extra organic produce who share it with me (thanks Cyndi!).

3. Strawberries.

4. Food in jars.

5. Strawberry jam in jars.

This small-batch jam was made by tossing 3 cups of halved organic strawberries with 3/4 cups of sugar and letting it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours, then dumping them in a pot with another 3/4 cup of sugar until they reached 220 degrees–with the juice of a whole lemon stirred in during the last 5 minutes of cooking time. I mashed the berries a bit before sealing them into 1/2 pint jars. It filled almost three.

Some fresh biscuits may now be in order…

This and a batch of pickled radishes were my last act in the kitchen until the middle of July. I’m headed to Michigan for a conference, immediately  followed by a camping/microbrew/winery tour/vacation down the coast of Lake Michigan back home to Elgin. Aided by the guidance of a dear foodie friend who left part of her heart in Grand Rapids, I hope to return with some bottles of wine, fresh inspiration, and maybe even some more strawberries.

P.S. Dan built trellises for the pole beans and cucumbers today. They look so good and are just in the nick of time! More on that later.