2015 Canning/Fermenting Season Yield

This year has been my top producing year for canning and fermenting! I made two batches of strawberry rhubarb jam, three huge batches of garlic dill pickles, 35 jars of pickled jalapenos (possibly more), cinnamon and nutmeg spiced pear jam (from MN grown pears!), one batch of pickled beets and I even tried something new – Cowboy Candy! I’ll be canning some cranberry-apple jam this weekend as well. I also made spicy garlic pickled eggs!

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Spicy pickled eggs! These are the perfect snack to have around!

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Cinnamon and nutmeg spiced pear jam! This was A LOT of work since the pears are tiny and had to be peeled. I also had to cook it down for 3 hours!

Strawberry Rhubarb jam sealing in the waterbath

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam, taking a dip in the hot tub to get all sealed up!

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Pickled beets, which I have not made since my very first year canning 8 years ago (HARD TO BELIEVE), pickled jalapeno slices and pickles!


It’s so nice to have a little helper… so glad she likes to cook!


Cowboy Candy which is basically jalapenos in a sweet syrup.

I fermented garlicky carrots and garlicky rattlesnake pole beans from the garden, which of both were amazing.  Every  3 weeks or so I make a large batch of kimchi – I’m totally obsessed and have been since childhood. I’m working on fermenting green tomatoes from the garden today.


Fermented garlicky rattle snake bean poles and carrots. All of the purple color came off of the beans as well as my cosmic carrots during fermentation, leaving the brine pinkish. And then more pickles… I love a good relish platter, especially when it’s all homemade!


We had to pick all of the green tomatoes and peppers due to the deep freeze we got the other day, so spicy fermented green tomatoes it is!

Tell me about your yield! What did you preserve this year and which method did you use? Which turned out to be your favorite?


Homemade S’mores, Made From Scratch – No Artificial Flavors, Dyes or Preservatives!

Hello MinnesotaFromScratch readers!  Today I have a very special guest blogger taking over. Rachel owns Capturedtimebooks, which is a wonderful blog about crafting and cooking. Rachel is a digital scrapbooking genius and a culinary wonder in the kitchen. A couple of years ago, Rachel put her daughter on the Feingold Diet and saw a dramatic change in her daughter’s behavior. With Memorial Day weekend coming up, I thought she’d be the perfect person to ask to guest blog about making homemade S’mores from scratch – without artificial flavors, dyes or preservatives.  So taking over the floor is Rachel….

Rachel here from Capturedtimebooks!  I was asked last week by Stephanie  to guest blog about S’mores.

Homemade Smores From Scratch - www.minnesotafromscratch.wordpress.com

I have a daughter with ADD, whose symptoms have been greatly reduced by eliminating Artificial Colors, Flavors and Preservatives from her diet.  We live on a lake north of Minneapolis so in the summer, bonfires and S’mores are a common experience.  What’s a girl to do when the “go-to” marshmallow ( Kraft Jet Puff) has blue dye in it??  Blue?  Who would have thunk it??

kraft-jet-puffedI had no alternative; I had to make my own.  I found my hero, Alton Brown, had not only made them but made a VIDEO – Yeah Alton!!  I love the video because it provided me with one of my favorite kitchen phrases – “Culinary Napalm”.  Don’t let that scare you though, they are really easy to make, last FOREVER, melt way better than store bought and they taste amazing.  What you will notice about these marshmallows, in contrast to store bought is this:  when you try to “roast” a store bought marshmallow it is HARD work.  You must be very careful not to put the mallow too close to the flame or you end up with a fireball and once blown out, it has a black crust with a cold hard mallow on the inside.  In contrast, with these homemade mallows, you need to only gently put them to the flame, they brown easily and the best part is that they warm throughout.  So you end up with beautiful brown roast, as you want it and an ooey-gooey melty warm marshmallow.  Plus it has the true caramelized sugar flavor that commercial Jet-Puffed marshmallows lack.

Roasted homemade marshmallow - www.minnesotafromscratch.wordpress.com

Alton Brown Marshmallows, with my alterations included:


  • 3 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup ice cold water, divided
  • 12 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 cup organic light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar * I use Trader Joe’s
  • 1/4 cup organic cornstarch
  • Nonstick spray  *I use spray Coconut Oil


Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.

How to make homemade Marshmallows - Minnesotafromscratch.wordpress.com

In a small saucepan, combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240° F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.

Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high.

Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes.

Homemade Marshmallows - www.MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans as follows.

Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.

Homemade marshmallows - www.MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan.

Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later.

Homemade marshmallows - www.minnesotafromscratch.wordpress.com

Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Homemade marshmallows - www.minnesotafromscratch.wordpress.com

Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners’ sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

For the graham crackers, there are two routes a girl who is avoiding artificial colors, flavors and preservatives can go.  The easy route – which I fancy quite a bit.  Use Trader Joe’s Honey Grahams.IMG_1879 Trader Joe’s is my bestie in this category since they have pledged that anything with their name on it has NO AF, AC or Preservatives.  YEAH!!!  So you can grab these if you have a TJ’s in the area). If Trader Joe’s has not come to your area yet, you can try option two: the homemade graham which I have explained how to make in great detail over at my blog. So head over!

For chocolate, you can use any organic dark chocolate you can find. TJs has a great dark chocolate we use.

The perfect S'more - www.minnesotafromscratch.wordpress.com

Thank you so much for guest blogging today, Rachel!

Take care, Stephanie

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