Master Food Preserver Certificate Program: Kona, Hawaii – WEEK 2

I traveled to Kona, Hawaii with my family to take a Master Preserver Course put on by the University of Hilo. Click here to read about my first week of classes.

Through the 50+ hour course, we are taught about food safety and food preservation methods including canning (water bath and pressure canning), fermenting, pickling, dehydration, freezing and charcuterie. In the second week of classes we pressure canned whole chickens, broken down to fit into 8oz jars, pressure canned salmon from Alaska that my classmate caught, and green beans in water. We pickled beets, bread and butter pickles and dill pickles and we made salmon gravlax with dill. We also dehydrated bananas (sliced and fruit leather), mangos (sliced and fruit leather), pears, grapes and pineapple. We also made delicious chicken shen and used it as stuffing for dumplings and we made Italian sausage that we stuffed into casings. At the end of our second week of classes, we got to taste much of what we had made and that was really fun – everything tasted great!

The chicken we pressure canned (without any liquid) had created a natural broth within the jar and I will definitely do this again at home. But when I make it at home, I’ll add onions, carrots and celery so that the broth has more flavor. The Gravlax was amazing, in case you aren’t familiar with it, gravlax is the Nordic process of curing raw salmon with salt, sugar and fresh dill. After about 48 hours, when cured, it’s thinly sliced and enjoyed! Of all the things we dehydrated I enjoyed the dehydrated pear the very best, though it was all good.

Here are some pics from our second week of classes:

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Master Food Preserver Certificate Program: Kona, Hawaii – WEEK 1

For the last 10 days, I have made the Big Island my new home. I traveled here to attend the Master Food Preserver Certificate Program that the University of Hilo offered this month. I have been wanting this certification for years, but it is not currently offered in Minnesota (though it used to be, and hopefully will be again in the future). My family and I visited the Big Island 4 years ago and have been eager to get back, so when this course opened up, we bought tickets the next day. It was a bit impulsive, but I’m certain it was the right decision to make.

In the course, we are taught about food preservation methods including canning (waterbath and pressure canning), fermenting, pickling, dehydration and charcuterie. Last week in our first 24 hours of classes, we started a 15L batch of sauerkraut, and a batch of kimchi, made with Hawaiian peppers. We canned lilikoi (passion fruit) jelly, POG jelly (passion fruit, orange and guava), strawberry, orange, tangerine and guava jelly, strawberry jam, marinara sauce and mango chutney. Much of the ingredient’s were harvested from my classmates’ home gardens/farms, which makes it all that much more special. I’d never tasted lilikoi or guava before, or even freshly harvested mango – mmmmmm they are all so delicious.

There are 12 students in the class, with 2 instructors. The age range varies vastly and everyone is from a different walk of life. We all get along great and have one main interest in common: food preservation.

Here are some photos from the first week 🙂

 

5 Unique Ways to Embrace the Healing Properties of Dandelions

Throughout the last decade, I’ve tried to find unique ways to use the dandelions that grow effortlessly throughout our front and back yards. My daughter has always thought they were beautiful, “Look mom, this is the prettiest one in the yard, see how full it is?” she said to me just yesterday. She picks them and proudly gifts them to me and our guests. I enjoy them more for their medicinal properties, though they are quite cute once you really study them.

Over the years I’ve made jelly with them and fermented the buds (both recipes are in Can It & Ferment It), sautéed the greens and our family-favorite is to bread them in seasoned panko and fry them in coconut oil – yum! But I’m open to trying some new techniques this year and in effort to encourage more of you to try new things with dandelions, I’ve compiled this list of “5 Unique Ways to Embrace the Healing Properties of Dandelions”.

Image source: organicfacts.net

So here is my list of things I want to try this year, and I hope you will to:

**MAKE SURE THE AREA YOU HARVEST DANDELIONS FROM HAS NOT BEEN SPRAYED WITH CHEMICALS!***

Tell me, what ways do you enjoy using dandelions? If you’ve never tried before, what sounds most interesting?

Buy Can It and Ferment It for only $1.99! e-Book Sale Ends 5/19/18.

Now is the time to snag Can It & Ferment It (electronic version) for a heck of a deal. My publisher and Bookbub have selected my book to receive a special flash-sale price of only $1.99! Keep all my delicious canned and fermented recipes at your fingertips.

Hurry, sale ends soon. Spread the news!

Purchase from amazon, here.

Purchase from B&N, here.

Seasoned Panko Dandelion Flowers, Pan Fried in Coconut Oil {RECIPE}

Fried dandelion flowers have become a springtime treat in our household. My daughter begs me to make them at the first sight of a dandelion in the spring, though I make her wait until other flowers have opened so the bees don’t mind us harvesting. But tonight is the night for us to make these (HOORAY!), so I wanted to share our recipe in case anyone else wants to give it a try! I don’t measure anything, so here is my rough recipe:

**NEVER USE DANDELIONS HARVESTED FROM CHEMICALLY TREATED AREAS**

Ingredients

  • dandelions (20-30 flowers)
  • panko
  • 1 egg
  • coconut oil
  • a dash of sea salt, garlic powder and pepper, to taste

Directions

Harvest however many dandelions you want to cook, about 20-30. Leave a couple inches of the stem intact, as it makes a great handle to hang onto when cooking/eating.

Soak the dandelions in cold water, rinsing thoroughly until all bugs/dirt have been washed away. Dry them.

In a bowl, crack an egg and use a whisk or fork to beat the egg. In another dish, mix together the panko and seasonings.

In a frying pan, heat enough coconut oil so there is about 1/4″ (or so) in the pan. Bring to a medium-high heat.

Once the oil is heated and ready for frying, dip the flowers into the egg, then in the seasoned panko. Place them in the frying pan and allow them to cook until they are golden brown, about 3 mins.

Place the cooked dandelions on a paper towel-lined plate (to soak up excess oil) and ENJOY! You can make a yummy dipping sauce to eat or serve as-is.

 

Sneak Peak Recipe: Pineapple-Strawberry Jam (from WECK Small-Batch Preserving Cookbook – 9/18 Release)

This recipe is one of over one hundred that I have included in my new cookbook, WECK Small-Batch Preserving. The book is designed specifically to teach you to preserve with WECK jars, but I have included alternate directions at the end of this post for those using standard mason jars.

A couple years ago, my grandma gave me a stack of recipes that were collected and written by my great great grandmother and her daughter, my great grandmother – both of which I got to know in my life. My great, great grandmother passed away when I was 10 years old and my great grandma passed in my early twenties. By the time I was born, neither of them really cooked anymore. I can’t recall one time either of them cooked, actually. But I’ve been told many stories about life before my time, and what great cooks both of them were. So I’m honored to have these precious recipes at my fingertips and I love to adapt them to my liking, which is what I have done here with this pineapple-strawberry jam recipe.

PINEAPPLE-STRAWBERRY JAM

from WECK Small-Batch Preserving, by Stephanie Thurow

Yield: 3 WECK jam jars (about 3-4 cups of jam)

Ingredients:

3 cups strawberries, quartered

1.5 cups fresh pineapple, grated

2.5 cups organic or non-GMO granulated sugar

Directions:

Clean and prepare strawberries by cutting off the stems and any flawed/bruised areas. Use a potato masher to mash the quartered berries into a chunky consistency.

Combine all ingredients in a large heavy-bottomed pot and mix well. Bring ingredients to a medium-high simmer and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring often. Once mixture has thickened and most of the liquid has cooked away, the jam is ready to be canned.

Ladle the hot fruit mixture into warm prepared jars. Use a funnel to safely transfer the mixture, leaving ½ inch of head space. Wipe the rims of the jars with a dampened, clean, lint-free cloth or paper towel and again with a dry towel. Place a glass lid with rubber ring in place over the rim of the jar and carefully clip the two metal clamps on the jar directly across from one another.

Process in the water bath for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the jars from the water bath with canning tongs and place them on a towel-covered surface for 12 hours without touching. Remove metal clamps and test that the lid has securely sealed onto the jar. Refrigerate after breaking the seal.

That’s it!

If you are using 1/2 pint mason jars instead of WECK brand, follow the directions as I’ve written them but adjust the head space to 1/4″ instead of 1/2″.

This recipe is from WECK Small-Batch Preserving, now available for pre-order here and set for worldwide release on Sept. 4th, 2018. Can It & Ferment It is now on sale on Amazon, grab it at a discount while you can!

PRE-SALE: WECK Small-Batch Preserving: Year-Round Recipes for Canning, Fermenting, Pickling and More

MY SECOND BOOK IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-SALE

I teamed up with the canning experts at WECK to show readers how to preserve throughout the year with WECK jars. The J. WECK Company has made aesthetically beautiful all-glass home canning jars for over one hundred years. Never before offered, I have created a step-by-step guide to preserving with WECK jars and have developed over one hundred delicious, small-batch recipes to can, ferment, and infuse with them.

Recipes in this helpful guide include Bloody Mary mix, pineapple and strawberry jam, escabeche, kimchi, various sauerkraut recipes, a variety of kvass recipes, numerous infused spirit concoctions including pineapple and mango vodka, orange, clove, and cinnamon whiskey, and so much more!

Recipes are paired with colorful, stunning photos and written in an easy, approachable format. Perfect for new preservationists and delicious enough for even seasoned pros to appreciate, WECK Small-Batch Preserving is every preservation enthusiast’s go-to resource for year-round preservation.

Amazon offers the “Best Price Guarantee” which means that if you order now and the price gets lower during pre-sale, they will charge you the lowest price offered once it ships as long as you order before the release.

PRE-Order: WECK Small-Batch Preserving: here and while you’re ordering, pick up a copy of Can It & Ferment It while it’s still on sale: here

 

How to Make: Organic, Made-from-Scratch Lotion {EASY!}

A few years ago, my part-time blog partner, Kris, posted a recipe for homemade lotion here on the blog. We have been making different variations of the recipe ever since. Once you successfully make your own homemade batch of lotion, you will NEVER waste your money on the store-bought stuff again. After experimenting with different oils, I have come to find I have two favorite concoctions and I’m going to share them with you today.

Before I get down to the business of lotion making, I want to be clear that this lotion is likely more oily than what you are probably used to. But the oils and beeswax are what lock the moisture in your skin and because the ingredients are organic and good for your body, you will notice that your skin stays soft and healthy-looking for much longer than it does with the other stuff you buy. Plus, a little goes a LONG WAY so if you find it to be oily, use less. Trust me, it’s so awesome – it’s worth trying.

Occasionally I’ll get lazy and buy some organic, fantastic-smelling lotion while I’m out shopping, and it’s always a disappointment. The homemade stuff is just so much better. My husband suffers from psoriasis and years ago, when we started making our homemade version, he noticed a big difference in how his skin felt compared to using other lotions. <—– That alone is reason enough to make our own.

 

Supplies:

  • A glass measuring cup that can be heated (PYREX recommended)
  • 3/4 cup organic oils (My 1st recipe calls for: Jojoba, Olive Oil and Vitamin E oil. My 2nd recipe calls for: 1/4 coconut oil, 1/4 Shea butter, sweet almond)
  • Beeswax, organic (pellets recommended)
  • Essential Oils (optional, for scent)
  • Small sauce pan
  • Blender
  • Spatula
  • Glass jars with lids, for lotion storage
  • Water

Directions:

In a measuring cup, measure out 3/4 cup of oil – You can pick out any oils that you want and mix and match the amounts, but I generally do 1/2 cup olive oil, and split the remaining quarter cup between jojoba oil and vitamin E oil. Add in 2 tablespoons of beeswax.

ALTERNATE RECIPE –  1/4 cup coconut oil, 1/4 cup shea butter and 1/4 sweet almond oil with 2 tablespoons of beeswax.

Fill a sauce pan up about half way with water and add in the measuring cup of oil. You want the water to reach the level of the oil mixture, but not to be too full that it will splash all over the stove when it’s simmering. Turn the heat up to medium high and stir the oil/wax mixture occasionally until the beeswax pellets are completely melted. Once melted, turn heat off, use a hot pad to remove the measuring cup and place it on the stove top to cool for 2 minutes. Add 30 drops of your favorite essential oil to the hot oil mixture at this point. Our favorite is sweet orange.

In a blender, add 3/4 cup of cold water. Turn the blender on “blend” mode and slowly add the hot oil mix to the blender. If the blending mixture stiffens up and stops mixing, turn the blender off and use the spatula to push out any air pockets that are sometimes created during the blending process. You may need to repeat this a few times. Once all of the oil is added to the water and things are blending smoothly, set the timer for 2 minutes and blend away.

Once blended, transfer the lotion from the blender into a heat-tolerant, glass jar, and leave it uncovered overnight, until it is completely cooled. The next day, cover the jar with an air-tight lid.

That’s it!

Couple additional notes…

  • Remember: A little goes a long way!
  • The essential oil scent fades over time. You’ll smell the essential oil during application, but as the day goes on, the smell fades. So don’t worry about the fragrance overpowering your lotion.
  • Play around with oils! Some oils are less “oily” than others. Some will make your body feel better than others. Look up organic oils and their benefits and determine which mixture sounds like the best fit for your body and needs. My husband prefers lotion made with Hemp Seed Oil. He thinks it helps with his psoriasis more than any of the other oils, but I don’t like that one as much because of the “woody” scent it has.
  • Make a few batches at a time. We go through about one batch per month (between the 3 of us), so I like to make 3-4 batches since I have the supplies out anyway.
  • In the summer, keep a jar in the fridge to apply cold. It really cools you down nicely.
  • Homemade lotion makes a fantastic gift. Think of your friends and family when making it!
  • Oils I’ve tried variations of and liked: Organic: Vitamin E Oil, Jojoba Oil, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Olive Oil, and Sweet Almond Oil, Hemp Seed Oil

Can It & Ferment It – Release and Book Launch Party

Although Can It & Ferment It released on July 18th, 2017, the pre-ordered books did not ship out until just a week ago due to the book selling out at release (WHAT?! That’s awesome!). The book is on the third print, and now (FINALLY) almost everyone that pre-ordered has the book in their hands. I cannot tell you how much fun it is to see the posts on social media that fellow Instagrammers and Facebookers are posting. Here are a few:

If you post pics of my book or recipes you’ve made from the book, please tag me (@minnesotafromscratch) and/or use the hashtag #CanItandFermentIt so I can easily find your picture.

Last Saturday I had a Book Release Party at GYST Fermentation Bar in Minneapolis. Here are some pics from the event!

I even got to meet one of my Instagram friends in person, how cool is that?!

I had a lot of great prizes to giveaway at the party including prizes from Le Parfait Wordwide – gorgeous jars sent all the way from France, GYST, Lakewinds Food Co-opFermentation Creation, as well as Stone Creek Trading and NWFerments!

The owner of Stone Creek Trading drove up from Chicago to celebrate with me too, and she generously gave away the awesome fermentation crock shown in the background of the pic of me and my Instagram buddy a few pics above (they are giving away another on Instagram in the next week or two, so be sure to follow my account!)

It was a fantastic event and I’ll post future book signings and demos that I will be scheduling in the next few weeks.

In other news since the release of Can It & Ferment It, New Jersey Monthly Magazine published an article about my book. Check it out here.

Also, REMINISCE Magazine featured Can It & Ferment It in their SPOTLIGHT in their August/September issue!

THANK YOU for all of the support! If you like my cookbook, please take a moment to leave a review on whichever website you purchased it from. 🙂 If you purchase the book directly from me, while supplies last, I will send a Can It & Ferment It bookmark, magnet AND sign your copy!

 

 

All professional photos of the event were by Joe Croissant of Photojo’s Photography, joecroissant@gmail.com, 612-986-3528

Happy Earth Day! Exclusive Promo: Join MightyFix For Just $1!

Earth day is Saturday, April 22nd – Make a change for the better! 

Long before MightyNest was around, I wished for a store that offered all-safe products, free of BPA, PVC and other harsh chemicals and toxins. I had a newborn baby at the time and I found myself spending endless hours searching the internet to find the safest products available. I wanted a place to take the worry out of my shopping experience and that is EXACTLY what MightyNest has done. Everything sold at their shop is safe and toxin-free. Truly a dream come true!

Now MightyNest has deployed an awesome program called MightyFix. It’s a subscription program where each month, you are shipped one amazing product that is eco-friendly and promotes more sustainable living. Each item sent monthly is valued more than the monthly subscription fee (which is only $8.25-$10/depending on plan) and it ships for free! Not only does your MightyFix item ship free, but you can purchase any products from the MightyNest website and that will ship for free with your MightyFix order! Who doesn’t love FREE shipping?

This month I was sent 5 Reusable Produce Bags as part of the MightyFix subscription. These reusable bags are perfect for bagging produce at the grocery store but also work wonderful for bagging bulk items such as: beans, nuts, and dried fruit. They also serve as washable bags to toss small items in when traveling or going to the beach. They also can be used to protect your delicates in the washing machine!

Here are some jaw-dropping facts about plastic from theworldcounts.com:

  • 160,000 plastic bags are used globally EVERY SECOND.
  • The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is a floating landfill of garbage in the Pacific, is twice the size of Texas and is mostly composed of plastic.
  • Whales and other sea life are dying because they mistake plastic for food and eat it.
  • Plastic bags are produced using petroleum, natural gas and other chemicals. Its production is toxic to the environment.
  • Plastic remains toxic even after it breaks down. It doesn’t biodegrade, it photo-degrades, which means that after it degrades, it breaks down into smaller and smaller toxic bits of itself and bleeds contaminates into the environment.

Now why are we using plastic bags again? MightyNest is making it really easy for you to take the first step in your personal life to making better choices.

MightyNest is offering Minnesota from Scratch readers a special promotional rate of just $1 for the first month of a new subscription! Just use the promo code: MINNESOTAPRODUCE at checkout or click hereYou will be sent these awesome Reusable Produce Bags for just $1. Such a crazy great deal!   You can cancel your subscription at anytime, so what have you got to lose?

Happy Earth Day!

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