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.

Advertisements

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?

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!

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

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.

How to Grow Alfalfa Sprouts in a Jar

alfalfa sprouts 2

Growing sprouts is one of the easiest things you can do on your own. They are tasty and add a delightful crunch to a sandwich, salad, taco or soup.  In addition to being delicious, they are also packed with health benefits. According to Livestrong.com, alfalfa sprouts are a great source of dietary fiber, protein (important for vegan diets), and B vitamins.

To grow your own alfalfa sprouts at home, you just need a quart size mason jar (or other similar glass container), cheese cloth, a rubber binder, organic sprouting seeds, tap water and about 4-5 days.

I buy organic alfalfa sprouting seeds here. They are very inexpensive.

  • Add 1 tbsp seeds into a clean quart jar and fill with tap water until the seeds are submerged. About 1-2″ of water. Cover jar with cheese cloth. Soak overnight.
  • After the seeds have soaked 12+ hours, pour the water out that they were soaking in and rinse once more. Cover with cheese cloth. Turn the jar horizontally and slowly rotate to spread the seeds out so that some will stick to the sides of the jar. Store in a dark place (such as a dark corner of the counter top or in a cupboard), out of direct sunlight at room temperature (ideally 68-72°F). Store the jar on it’s side. You don’t want the seeds in a wet mass in the jar or they may mold. 
  • Repeat the steps of rinsing the seeds daily until the seedlings have grown 1-2″. It takes about 4-5 days.
  • My mom has grown sprouts for decades and she tells me to place the jar in sunlight for about 20 minutes once the sprouts have grown to their edible length. This gives the sprouts a chance to turn darker green.

alfalfa sprouts.jpg

alfalfa sprouts 1

Soak over night, or for at least 12 hours

alfalfa sprouts 4

Rinse daily and gently rotate the jar so the seeds can spread out and grow

THAT’S IT. IT’S SO EASY. Kids can’t get enough of these things. Once the sprouts are big enough to eat, I take what I need from the jar and continue to rinse and let them grow on my counter for a few days. If longer term storage is needed, store them in the fridge.

Enjoy!

Delicious Korean Tacos with Kimchi: Recipe

IMG_4031

A couple years ago my aunt found a restaurant in south Minneapolis, the Nokomis area, that served Korean Tacos. They soon became her favorite go-to meal for the evenings she didn’t feel up to cooking or didn’t have enough time to. Unfortunately, after the rent was raised at the restaurant, the owner had to close down and this left my aunt saddened by the loss of her favorite tacos. 😦 So for her birthday dinner last year, I was determined to make a Korean taco as equally satisfying for her and that’s when I came upon Bakedbree’s Crockpot Korean Taco recipe. I altered the recipe to my liking and changed the recipe to one that is baked in the oven, versus being cooked in a crockpot, so my recipe will be done in 3 hours instead of 8-10.

Ingredients:

  • 3lbs. Grass Fed Chuck Roast
  • 1/2 Cup Organic Brown Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup BRAGG Liquid Aminos (or Coconut Aminos)
  • 1 Whole Medium Sliced Onion
  • 10 Garlic Cloves, Sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Grated Ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
  • Optional – Red Pepper Flakes
  • Olive oil, (or other high heat oil)
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Sea Salt
  • 1 cup of Water

Lime Cream Sauce:

  • 1 Cup Plain Yogurt
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1 Lime Juiced
  • Salt to taste

Toppings for serving:

  • Kimchi (I use my homemade kimchi recipe, but store bought is just fine!)
  • Lime wedges
  • Siracha
  • Corn tortillas
  • Cilantro
  • Bean Sprouts

Pre-heat the oven to 275°F. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a dutch oven and heat over medium high heat. Sprinkle sea salt, garlic powder and onion powder over the meat. Sear the chuck roast on one side, for about a minute until it’s browned. Flip the roast over to the other side and toss in the onions and garlic.

IMG_4010

In a bowl, stir together the BRAGG Liquid Aminos (or coconut aminos), brown sugar, vinegar, grated ginger, 1 cup of water and sesame oil. Once both sides of the roast are browned, remove the pot from the burner and add the liquid to the roast.

IMG_4016

Cover the roast and bake for a total of 3 hours, check on it after 90 mins and flip the roast over. Remove the cover for the duration of the cooking time. Add a 1/4 cup or 1/2 cup of water if the pan looks dry. At the 3 hour point, your roast should be very tender and pull apart easily. If it isn’t, cook another 30 minutes and check again.

IMG_4023

At some point while the roast is cooking, create the Lime Cream Sauce (see ingredients above) and mix together. Set in the fridge until it’s time to grub.

IMG_4022

Once everything is ready, grab a corn tortilla, and top it with a little of everything and ENJOY!

IMG_4028

YUM!

Beautifully Fermented Watermelon Radishes: How to Ferment Radish Pickles

12642493_1125229114183403_775556442885661367_n

About a month ago I tried my first watermelon radish. I quickly fell in love with the beauty that was unleashed once I cut it open.  The color burst found inside is one of a kind. I have come to prefer watermelon radishes to the regular red radish, as they are not as harsh tasting; they are a mild version of what I am used to and they are much more aesthetically pleasing.

Initially I tried roasting the radish with other root veggies and I fell even more in love with my new found friend. I was unsure what to do with the remaining radish and so naturally I decided to ferment it. 🙂 If something is good raw, it’s going to be even better fermented… that’s what I’ve come to find anyway.

I only fermented one radish and that filled up a pint sized mason jar.

To Make: Wash the radish, cut off the ends and slice it up. I used a mandolin to thinly slice the radish. Pack the slices in a jar and cover it with brine.

The brine is made up of 1 teaspoon of sea salt (or kosher salt), stirred into 2 cups of water (filtered water is preferable but not required) until dissolved. Remember to leave about an inch of space from the top of the mason jar to curb spill overs as the radish ferments. I used a glass jar weight to keep the radish from floating above the brine and molding. If you don’t have a weight, you can sanitize a rock and use that. Cover the jar with cheese cloth and let it ferment on the counter for a few days. I like to taste my ferments daily and decide when it has the taste I prefer. I fermented this just 4 days. Once the desired fermented flavor is met, put a lid on the jar and refrigerate.

watermelon radish 2

Normally I add garlic to everything but this time I really wanted to taste how the radish fermented on its own. The beautiful pink color from the center of the radish leached out into the brine and made a gorgeous pink color out of it. The radish pickle tastes even less like a radish now and is a treat to have on the side of a meal or even chopped up and added to a salad or sandwich. My 5 year old even approved of them and she’s the true test after all.

Previous Older Entries

(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-41549617-1', 'wordpress.com'); ga('send', 'pageview');