It’s Fresh Cranberry Season in Minnesota!

Fermented Cranberry Relish from Can It & Ferment It, by Stephanie Thurow

Cranberry season in Minnesota is almost as exciting to me as apple season is for most home cooks. Why? Because they are so incredibly versatile. Most people initially think “cranberry sauce” or, if you were really lucky growing up (like me!), you’ll think of that canned cranberry sauce that falls out of the can, molded into the shape of the can — mmmm, appetizing 😉 . But, cranberries can be used for so much more than just the traditional cranberry sauce. They are delicious dehydrated, juiced, used in holiday cocktails (or mocktails), made into chutney, jams, jellies and salsas, or even a relish. Cranberries are also healthy! They are high in antioxidants, low in calories, good for the urinary system and they are high in vitamins C, A and K.

Plus, when you live right next to the state that produces the largest crop of cranberries in the country, and supplies nearly half the world with them — thank you, Wisconsin –, you may as well embrace the beautiful, vibrant, red gems.

Beginning in October, us Minnesotans start to see fresh cranberries trickle in at the markets. Yay! Lakewinds Food Co-op in Richfield offers them seasonally as well as the Downtown St. Paul –  Lowertown Farmers’ Market. They are inexpensive and incredibly delicious.

I already purchased my first box of 10 pounds and have made a double batch of cranberry sauce for the holiday season, as well as a new recipe I’m working on for Cranberry Coulis.

Here is a recipe that I developed for FERMENTED CRANBERRY-ORANGE RELISH, published in Can It & Ferment It (2017), Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. I hope you give it a try!

This sweet and citrusy cranberry ferment is full of flavor. The deep red color of the finished fermented relish will surely brighten up any plate!

Yield: 1 pint jar

Ingredients:

3 cups whole fresh cranberries

½ tsp. organic orange zest

2 tbsp. fresh squeezed orange juice

2 tbsp. raw honey

Directions:

Pick through the cranberries and discard any damaged, soft or unripe berries (pink or green colored). Rinse thoroughly and strain. Use a food processor to chop the cranberries; it will only take 2-3 seconds. Transfer the berries into a pint jar and add in the orange zest, juice and honey. Mix together well. Use a canning jar lid and ring to tightly shut the jar.

Keep the relish on the counter at room temperature, preferably between 68-75°F to ferment. Once a day, open the jar, stir the ingredients, pat them back down and tightly shut the jar. This is a 3-day ferment. Once complete, refrigerate relish for up to two weeks. Enjoy!

I have many more recipes for cranberries in Can It & Ferment It as well as WECK Small-Batch Preserving.

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Can It and Ferment It – Canning and Fermenting Class in Minnesota

Last month I taught a 2.5 hour cooking class about canning and fermenting to 10 local adults. It was a lot of information to squeeze into a short time frame, but we managed to do it.

I taught the class all about the canning process, terminology and the materials needed and then they got to get hands-on in the kitchen. Each student cleaned, prepped, packed and water bath canned their own pint of colorful carrot pickles. I brought a variety of spices for them to add to their jars including fresh garlic clove, black peppercorns, coriander, pickling spice mix, crushed red pepper flakes and dried dill seed. Each student seasoned their jars to their liking. Once everyone’s jars were water bath processed, they cleaned up and we started the second part of class.

For the next portion of class, I briefly talked about the process of fermentation and the benefits of fermenting food. I explained the different terminology and the various fermentation vessel option. Then, the students got to once again get hands-on by packing their own pints of cherry tomatoes with basil and garlic and made a salt-water brine to ferment them in. I also provided each student with a little WECK jar glass lid to use as a weight, as they are the perfect size for small-batch jar fermenting.


At the end of the class, I shared some canned and fermented goodies that I had made, so the students could taste a variety of things. You never know what to expect when you get a group of strangers together, but each person was a fantastic addition to the class. Everyone had a great time and I look forward to the sauerkraut-making and fire cider classes I’m developing for the winter session!

To get on an e-mail list to be notified of future canning and fermenting classes in the Twin Cities, shoot me an e-mail at:  minnesotafromscratch(at)gmail(dot)com with the subject “Future Classes”

Thanks,

Stephanie

 

What is a Certified Master Food Preserver and How Do You Become One?

Certified Master Food Preserver Graduates (and instructors on the ends) – Summer 2018 ~Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

I’ve received so many messages and e-mails from people asking where they can take a class like I took in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii this past June (2018), so here are some answers. The Master Food Preserver course is offered ALL OVER the place, but unfortunately Minnesota and Wisconsin have cancelled their courses for now and that’s why I went to Hawaii. Other states around the country are also phasing it out, due to “lack of funding”. This seems like an essential course to have, especially for us Midwesterner’s, that live in a frozen tundra for a good chunk of the year. There is nothing like cracking open a jar of food preserved in the summer when it’s the dead of winter, I tell ya….

But, before I get ahead of myself, let’s talk about what a Certified Master Food Preserver is. A Master Food Preserver (MFP) is someone that has completed the intensive certification course (usually offered) through the Extension Service in their county. They have received in-depth training of up-to-date USDA-approved methods of food preservation for preserving food safely and successfully at home. A MFP must also have a desire to teach others how to preserve, because a MFP is required to volunteer 40+ hours (varies per program) within their community each year and teach others how to preserve food. Each program is a bit different, varying from county to county. For example, Maine offers a course that is 10 Fridays in a row and New York offers the course in 3 days, back-to-back.

The course I took in Kona was spread out over 3 weekends, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so I had to go to Kona for 2.5 weeks — OH, SHUCKS ;). Though the class layout and the cost of the class varies location by location, the material taught should pretty much be the same. At the end of the course, there is a long test with multiple choice, fill in the blank and essay questions (they gave us 4 hours to complete it) and as part of passing our class, we even had to present a 20-minute demo in front of our class and instructors, on which we were graded. Oh, and we had quizzes every night too and there was tons of reading and hands on kitchen time. It was A LOT OF WORK but I loved every single minute of it.

Why did I want to become a MFP? Well, because I teach people how to can and ferment pretty much every day. I write books about it and I want to learn everything I can possibly can so I can be an even better resource for YOU. Plus, the course not only teaches you about water bath canning and fermenting, but also goes into topics that I’m not as well versed in, such as dehydrating, pressure canning, freezing and charcuterie. It also has a large emphasis on food safety and proper food handling to avoid food borne illnesses (which is completely avoidable by the way!).

So, how do you become one? I’d start with a general search on google. See what comes up near you. If you need to travel a state or two, be sure to check with the director of the course to make sure you are allowed to attend before purchasing the class.

If you have any questions I didn’t answer, post in the comments and I’ll get back to you!

If you missed my blog posts about being in Hawaii, here is my summary of Week 1 and my summary of Week 2.

To be notified of future food preservation classes in the Twin Cities, please e-mail me at: minnesotafromscratch(at)gmail(dot)com with the subject line “Future Classes”.

Can It & Ferment It – A Year in Review and Look Ahead

July 18th, 2018 marks the one year anniversary of when my first cookbook, Can It & Ferment It was published. Never having written a book before, I had no idea what to expect when I signed my first book deal. The time spent writing, cooking, recipe developing, taking photos, editing, etc… is impossible for me to measure. It took hundreds upon hundreds of hours of work and thousands of dollars to create. I never really thought about how much work went into a cookbook before writing one.

When it was time for my book to finally release, I was nearly petrified at what everyone would think. Would it be well-received? Did I forget an ingredient or direction? Were my photos good enough? The night before release I was almost sick with nerves over it, I wished I could some how make it stop. Then, the day of release, the book didn’t even ship out to all my pre-orderers because it sold out upon release! Had all my wishing for it not to release come true? My editor said she hadn’t experienced that with a book before. Suddenly, I was more eager than ever for my book to get into everyone’s hands… I needed to end the suspense already! Within a couple weeks, reviews of my book started to trickle in. Bloggers posted reviews, messages popped up in my inbox with praise and I started to receive feedback – and you know what? It was good! Why had I been so afraid? I suppose that’s a normal reaction to the unknown.

Now a year later, I have hundreds of photos that people have posted, of recipes from my book that they have made and liked, or even LOVED! I have made so many friends all over the world, online and in person. The best feedback is that people feel I have written an easy to understand cookbook that explains the methods of water bath canning and fermentation without being too wordy, too technical or too overwhelming and that was my goal. Food preservation is something that everyone that has a desire to do, should have a chance to learn – and I’m happy to teach. I get messages almost daily, most days multiple messages, of people asking questions or wanting advice and I LOVE THAT! I am happy to be a resource, so please do not hesitate to reach out to me. I am most easily reachable on Instagram FYI (@minnesotafromscratch).

Here are some pictures my readers have posted online of recipes they have made from Can It & Ferment It!

Anyway, reaching the one year mark of my release has me thinking a lot about the past year and all that has happened.

Here are some highlights from the last year:

Our local newspaper put my interview on the front page of the paper! 🙂

 

Reminisce Magazine added Can It & Ferment It to the SPOTLIGHT section of their magazine!

 

Make It Minnesota invited me to guest contribute to the kitchen section of their DRIVEN magazine. Full digital copy here: https://issuu.com/makeitminnesota/docs/mim-vol2-no2-digital-edition

I had an awesome book release party with family, close friends and some new friends too. Read my blog post about the launch party here: https://minnesotafromscratch.wordpress.com/2017/08/09/can-it-ferment-it-release-and-book-launch-party/

 

I hung out at the St Paul Farmer’s Market – Lowertown, met some readers and gave away some books!

 

I had a meet-and-greet at Lakewinds Co op in Richfield and got to meet friends from social media!

 

Harris Farmer’s Almanac chose Can It & Ferment It to turn into a magazine as their annual special “canning” magazine!

 

The owner of Golden Fig brought Can It & Ferment It on her pickling segment of Twin Cities Live! Full video here: http://twincitieslive.com/article/stories/s4986749.shtml?cat=10692

 

I had the opportunity to become a Certified Master Food Preserver in Kona, Hawaii

Here are a list of other media and blogs that wrote about Can It & Ferment It:

Also, within the last year, I also managed to write my second book, WECK Small-Batch Preserving: Year-Round Recipes for Canning, Fermenting, Pickling and More. My new book is currently on pre-sale and will release on Sept 4th, 2018. In this book, I teach you all about the beautiful variety of WECK jars and different ways to utilize them. The WECK company has been around for nearly 120 years and their jars are wildly used all over the world, but especially in Europe. Being that the jar and lid are both glass, it makes them completely non-toxic (no chemicals leach into your preserves) and that’s what initially drew me to them over 10 years ago. In this book I have written water bath canned recipes, fermented recipes and even some infusion recipes. I included lots of colorful photos and “notes sections” on nearly every recipes and in the back of the book, as I did in Can It & Ferment It. Fortunately, I am not experiencing the nerves I did with my first book release; I am eager and excited for this one the hit the market! I definitely don’t want summer to end, but Sept 4th can’t come soon enough.

Throughout the rest of the summer and into the fall, I will be doing several meet-and-greets around the Twin Cities as well as teaching some classes in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Keep an eye on my social media for updates and class notifications.

Connect with me:

Twitter: @StephLovestoCan

Facebook: Minnesota from Scratch Blog Page

Instagram: @minnesotafromscratch

In celebration of the one year anniversary of the publication of Can It & Ferment It, I’ve collaborated with my favorite fermentation crock shop, Stone Creek Trading to giveaway a gorgeous, handmade 5L crock! The giveaway is posted over on my Instagram account and ends today (7/19/18), so hurry over and get entered to win.

Thanks for a wonderful year!

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 grav lox 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 grav lox was amazing, in case you aren’t familiar with it, grav lox 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:

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 🙂

 

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

 

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

Make It Minnesota Magazine – Minnesota Kitchen – Can It and Ferment It Recipe

This month I was invited to take over the “Minnesota Kitchen” portion of Make It Minnesota Magazine. Each issue of the magazine has a theme, and the theme of this issue is: Driven. In the article, I explain my drive behind preserving food and I also share one of my favorite fermented recipes, Strawberry Chutney, from my book, Can It & Ferment It, that is coming out this summer (7.18.17).

This magazine is available in print as well as in a digital format. To view the magazine online, click here.

6 Delicious and Unique Recipes Featuring Rhubarb

Pic from one of our 2015 harvests, when we made some jam. 🙂

The rhubarb in our home garden started appearing in early March and I still have 20 cups of it (cleaned and chopped) frozen from last year’s harvest. Year after year I make dozens of jars of strawberry-rhubarb jam and apple-rhubarb jam and today I’m in the mood for something new. After some time spent searching the internet, I created a collection of 6 recipes that piqued my interest. I intend to give 1 or 2 of these a try this week!

  1. Rhubarb BBQ Sauce
  2. Rhubarb Simple Syrup
  3. Stewed Rhubarb 
  4. Spicy Rhubarb Chutney
  5. Rhubarb Butter
  6. Rhubarb Kimchi (Fermented)

If you have a favorite rhubarb recipe not listed, please let me know in the comments.

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