10 Things I’ve Learned from Preserving That Apply to Business

Last week I wrote an article about 10 Things I’ve Learned In Business that Apply to Preserving – this week I’m flipping the idea and sharing ideas from my kitchen that I apply to work.

In no particular order, here are things I’ve learned from Preserving that Apply to Work of any type:

  1. Patience
    When I’m making a big batch of preserves on a hot summer day it’s important to stay relaxed, loose and having fun.  Someone once told me that it’s “tough to get good at anything you don’t enjoy” and remember to be patient/ have fun when the heat is key to success – in the kitchen or at work.
  2. Time can improve things
    Fermenting, dehydrating or making pickles all take time to develop flavor.  At work this means that the first idea isn’t always the best and letting it sit for a while will often improve the results.
  3. Watch your fingers, especially when tired
    I never plan to cut myself in the kitchen but it happens from time to time; generally when I’m tired or near the end of making something.  I’ve learned to take extra care when I feel the same way at work.
  4. Take pride – but not too much
    There’s a certain satisfaction in what we’ve produced that inspires us to produce more.  It’s fun to take a few moments to look at the shelf of preserves we’ve put up over the last few years – as long as we don’t get stuck in reflecting on the past.  Past momentum helps build momentum in the present to push forward.
  5. Share your work
    Share your preserves and share the things you do at work – the more you do, the more you’ll receive in return.  Sharing creates community, support and collaboration at work and at home.
  6. Taste as you go
    A few years ago I preserved every pea that came into our house.  I didn’t eat a single one fresh and realized once pea season was over.  I’ve learned to enjoy fresh veg and fruit when they’re available as well as taste jam and other things as they’re being made.  Same thing applies to work – check your progress often as opposed to waiting for the end to find out how you did.
  7. Research in advance
    Reading recipes, blogs, magazines and brainstorming all allow me to preserve and cook things that I get great joy from and couldn’t do without preparing in advance.  The same applies to work – spend some time planning what you’re going to do before running ahead.
  8. Keep a secret stash of supplies
    I have am extra set of every size jar that I use, extra rings lids, sugar and vinegar hidden in a box in the basement.  There’s nothing worse than running out of supplies at the time that you need you most and my secret stash has saved me many late night dashes to try to find last-minute items.
  9. Share your knowledge
    I almost excluded this because of point 5 (share your work); the principal is the same but it’s just as important.  I know so many people who are expert preservers who will gladly swap jars but say that they “don’t know enough to share” when it comes to preserving.  The more you share, the more you’ll learn.
  10. Make tasty things
    When I preserve I make food that I’m excited about and it makes me want to make more.  If it didn’t taste good, it wouldn’t be worth it and it wouldn’t excite me to make more.  When I work I try to make things that excite me – they’re far more fun and generally better received by others!

Of course there are exceptions to any of these items but they serve me well – what would you add to the list?

Get Pickled! HomeEcNight #26

It’s time to announce another HomeEcNight!

We’re totally pumped for this theme:

Get Pickled! HomeEcNight #26 [Read more...]

Thanks for the Help!

EDIT (Feb 27, 2013) This post was initially a request for help from our community.  As the voting is now complete, we’ve changed it to a note of thanks.

Thank you to all of you for your support, votes and shares as part of The Homies from The Kitchn.  We’ll know the final results tomorrow; regardless of outcome it’s been an amazing experience for us.  We feel very supported by our community and have met some new blogs who are inspiring and exciting for us!

Thank you all for your encouragement and help!  You really are the best!

Dana and Joel

 

3 Minutes of Help

We interrupt ‘regular scheduled programming’ for a shameless request for help.  We need 3 minutes of your help.

We’ve been nominated by The Kitchn (one of the Internet’s larger food sites) for an annual award as part of their “Homies” awards.  In order to move onto the voting round, we need to finish in the Top 5 of nominated sites.

Nominations close tomorrow and we need every vote we can get (we’re currently in 20th place but know we are within reach of a top-5 finish).

We ask you for your help because a nomination would help us build this community further and help us reach audiences that could enhance this community further.  A larger audience will simply mean that we’ll be able to focus more time, resources and investment on making WellPreserved better for you.

It takes 3 minutes to nominate us (or your other favourite blogs).  Head to this link, and create an account (you don’t need to receive a newsletter or anything like that).  We need your nominations in the “Best Blog from Abroad” Category.

Thank you for considering helping us get the message out!

Help: San Diego Food Ideas?

I’m heading to San Diego in a few weeks.  It’s been almost 2 years since I’ve been there.

And I love it!

Help: San Diego Food Ideas? San Diego [Read more...]

Aging Beer in the Cellar

A few years ago I shared that I might be the worst craft beer drinker in the world.  And, while that story was true, I didn’t share all of the reasons why I may deserve that title.  Allow me to add another argument to that story today…

When Dana and I moved in together, I brought my liquor collection (I didn’t have a cabinet).  Despite drinking hard-alcohol once or twice a year, I ‘ve long coveted having a liquor collection with the romantic ideal that I could offer a guest the drink of their choice should they come to our house with a thirst in need of quenching.

Amongst the many bottles that clinked and clanged their way up our stairs was a bottle of Chimay Blue Label beer.  Craft beer wasn’t as popular back then and the idea of an imported beer in a 750 ml bottle was a novelty.  The fact that it was 9.0% made it even more so. [Read more...]

Pimp My Preserves 2013 – Gift for the Nature Lover

Pimp My Preserves 2013   Gift for the Nature Lover December

More details on this years #pimpmypreserve2013 showcase and how you can show off your preserves at the bottom of this post.

Pimp My Preserves 2013   Gift for the Nature Lover December

Did you pickle fiddleheads this year? If you didn’t, there’s a link to a recipe in this post to put in your calendar for the spring. Fiddleheads are a favorite,  they’re really cool looking on a pickle plate over the holidays and we think they’re a cool gift to give the forrest loving forager or (aspiring forager!) in your life.

 #pimpmypreserves TIP

Get thee to the art supply store! A couple of sheets of thick colored paper and a gold pen and that’s all you need for this. We used ‘Canson Paper’ it comes in beautiful colours, but this year I’m all about goldenrod and grey. Cut a strip to act as a band around the jar, write the name of the contents in gold pen then wrap around the jar and tape to hold the ‘feathers’ in place. Cut a circle out of the same piece so you’re all matchy and stuff. Even the feathers are easy..and kind of fun. fold a piece in half and cut out half a feather shape. leave it folded and snip with sharp scissors toward the fold as tight as you can…unfold and done. I think i’ll use these for all my tags this year too, i’m pretty sure they could adorn just about anything.

I’d give these preserves along with one (or all) of  these favourites of ours:

giftguides_3

  1. Foraged Flavour by Tama Matsuoka Wong (check out her TED talk too, it’s over here on our favourite TED food talks board on Pinterest)
  2. Hunt Gather Cook by Hank Shaw, he’s also got a new book out that’s on our wish list for this year: Duck, Duck, Goose The Ultimate Guide to Cooking Waterfoul, Both Farmed and Wild
  3. Look for a foraging workshop in your area that you could go to together in the spring. There’s a lot of urban foraging groups too
  4. Some nice scissors like these ones at Lee Valley 
  5. package it up in a canvas bag like one of these gorgeous ones from Chester and Wallace (or maybe one from your favourite farmers market!).

 ————————————————–

enter your own #pimpmypreserves jars to win a signed copy of David Ort’s handsome new cookbook “the Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook” .

So here’s how to enter:

on INSTAGRAM:
1.. post a photo of your gift wrapped, customized spruced up preserves for gifting
2. use the hashtags #pimpmypreserves and #wellpreserved
(Make sure you follow us…we’ll regram our favourites and also pin them to our Pimp My Preserves pinterest board)

on PINTEREST
1. pin a photo of your gift wrapped, customized spruced up preserves for gifting
2. make sure you write “Pimp my Preserves” and tag us in the description
3. email the pin to contests@wellpreserved.ca and we’ll pin it to our Pimp My Preserves board.

Each picture is an entry into our draw for your very own copy of David Ort’s  ”Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook”. Winner will be announced in our December 22nd Newsletter along with some pictures of our other favourites. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss it! (top right).

CAN’T WAIT to see what you come up with…

*The name is inspired by the artistry and over the top creativity of customized car culture. See MTV series“Pimp My Ride” 2004-2007. We want to bring the spirit of flashiness to your preserving. If anyone pinstripes a jar…your automatically the winner in my books.

Fermented Radishes

My Father and I have been in cooking school together for the last few weeks.  It’s been an amazing experience with one exception: there tends to be a lot of waste.

Last Monday I saw a bag of almost 2 dozen radishes (radii?).  The greens were wilting but the bulbs were fresh and bright.  I had two options: let them go to waste or take them home.

Less than a week later I’m left with an amazing batch of fermented radish pickles.  They don’t have the intense bite of a radish; in it’s place is the sour note of a good pickle.  You can make them in minutes and eat them as is, add them to salads, cook with them or add them to sandwiches.  They’re also very pretty:

Fermented Radishes Radish ferment December [Read more...]

Pimp My Preserves 2013 – Book Giveaway

Pimp My Preserves 2013   Book Giveaway pimpmypreserves December

Pretty much everyone loves getting your home made preserves for a gift at any time of the year. Though the holiday season is a special time to reap the rewards of all your hard work…you’ll save cash on extravagant presents and I’m willing to wager, people will LOVE YOU MORE if you gift them your preserves. But you wouldn’t show up at a party in your track pants right? So you’ll need to dress up your preserves a bit before sending them out into the world.

So it’s time to get creative and we want to reward you for doing just that. We have a signed copy of David Ort’s handsome new cookbook “the Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook” to giveaway. We will be posting a complete review of it soon, but suffice it to say you don’t need to be Canadian to love the recipes and ideas in this book. We can’t wait to dive into our copy and start making some of David’s awesome recipes.

Pimp My Preserves 2013   Book Giveaway pimpmypreserves December

So here’s how to enter:

on INSTAGRAM:
1.. post a photo of your gift wrapped, customized spruced up preserves for gifting
2. use the hashtags #pimpmypreserves and #wellpreserved
(Make sure you follow us…we’ll regram our favourites and also pin them to our Pimp My Preserves pinterest board)

on PINTEREST
1. pin a photo of your gift wrapped, customized spruced up preserves for gifting
2. make sure you write “Pimp my Preserves” and tag us in the description
3. email the pin to contests@wellpreserved.ca and we’ll pin it to our Pimp My Preserves board.

Each picture is an entry into our draw for your very own copy of David Ort’s  ”Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook”. Winner will be announced in our December 22nd Newsletter along with some pictures of our other favourites. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss it! (top right).

CAN’T WAIT to see what you come up with…

In the mean time…we’ll be doing a couple of posts for inspiration. We’ll also be sharing previous years inspiration over on pinterest too.

matching sets

#pimpmypreserves  TIP

Matching Sets: you can look all ‘put together’ pretty easily. Just pick a simple colour scheme and group your jars together. I’m a big fan of wrapping presents in plain old Kraft paper (it’s recyclable and multi-holiday/seasonal and cheap as dirt). So I usually start with a neutral kraft base…then every year pick a different accent colour and get some little add ons…like colored paper tape (or washi tape), and some divine twine. You can design your own labels and print/photocopy them onto whatever colour of paper you want.

Or if you sign up for our newsletter, we’ll be giving a code away to download this  “HomeMade For your enjoyment” printable graphics page for FREE up until the 24th. All you have to do is print it on the colored paper of your choice, cut it all out…get a bit nutty with a hole punch, some string, ribbon and/or tape and you’re ready to go.

Hopefully your gift of home made preserves will inspire others to give it a try next year (and you’ll have more friends to help in the fun). If you want to add to the gift here’s a few ideas:

 

giftguide_1

  1. Our friend Sarah (eatlocallyblogglobally.com) wrote “We Sure Can” a few years back, it’s a classic and makes a great gift for the beginner and experienced preserver alike. We’re in there along with a recipe for our pickled garlic. It’s a great inspirational read with amazing recipes that Sarah tested and perfected.
  2. If you really want to get them going…how about a Canning Starter Kit?
  3. A nice set of empty jars can also be the push they need to put something up!
  4. Another book from our shelf is Jam it, Pickle It, Cure it: and other Cooking Activities by Karen Solomon

 

*The name is inspired by the artistry and over the top creativity of customized car culture. See MTV series“Pimp My Ride” 2004-2007. We want to bring the spirit of flashiness to your preserving. If anyone pinstripes a jar…your automatically the winner in my books.

10 Uses for Dill Pickle Brine

There are all sorts of ways to use the brine from dill pickles in your cooking.  Let’s start with 10 easy ways to incorporate it into your cooking.

Before we give our list, there are two things to keep in mind:

  1. Not all brine is equal.  I’m basing these ideas on homemade pickles (which tend to be more acidic compared to the sweetened version that many commercial manufacturers sell).  I’m also basing this on a vinegar pickle (as opposed to a fermented pickle which will be even more diverse as it’s flavors are often less pungent).  At the end of the day let your taste buds guide you – taste a small amount of the brine to see if you want to use it!
  2. If cooking with brine/ acid sounds odd, don’t let it freak you out.  Many Chefs consider acid to be almost as important as salt and will add it to almost any dish.  Here’s some more info about cooking with acid.

10 Uses for Dill Pickle Brine November [Read more...]