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!

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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.

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!

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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