Rhubarb Round-Up

We send a weekly newsletter focused on a single-topic related to preserving, cooking, local food, foraging, gardening or something else.  Our goal with the newsletter is “to be the most useful resource in your inbox.”  The newsletter includes links to many other websites with ideas sharing knowledge about the topic as well as original content, announcements and occasional contests from us as well.  As an added bonus we send all subscribers the link to a file for labels that Dana hand-designed so you can print your own designer labels to decorate your jars.

Rhubarb Round Up round ups Rhubarb

You can sign up for the newsletter here.

Every Wednesday we share the links from the previous weeks newsletter as we know that some of you would prefer to read these on the site and that sharing the links here increases the reach/ exposure of many of the writers working so hard to share their passions.  These links celebrate the work of so many people working hard to share knowledge and their passions of cooking, preserving and the love of the kitchen and we want to help spread the work of great sites and blogs.

Here’s the list from last week:

[Read more...]

How Does Asparagus Grow?

Have you ever seen asparagus grow in a field?  I hadn’t either…

How Does Asparagus Grow? Asparagus [Read more...]

Asparagus Round-Up

We send a weekly newsletter focused on a single-topic related to preserving, cooking, local food, foraging, gardening or something else.  Our goal with the newsletter is “to be the most useful resource in your inbox.”  The newsletter includes links to many other websites with ideas sharing knowledge about the topic as well as original content, announcements and occasional contests from us as well.  As an added bonus we send all subscribers the link to a file for labels that Dana hand-designed so you can print your own designer labels to decorate your jars.

You can sign up for the newsletter here.

Every Wednesday we share the links from the previous weeks newsletter as we know that some of you would prefer to read these on the site and that sharing the links here increases the reach/ exposure of many of the writers working so hard to share their passions.  We had almost 20 links to other sites; you can find them as well as the links to some of our asparagus archive below:

Asparagus Round Up round ups Asparagus [Read more...]

Foraging Round-Up

The following is the weekly round-up; this weeks topic is foraging!  There’s almost 30 links reviewed below; all are from last weeks newsletter (We Are WellPreserved is emailed on the weekend).  The newsletter is free and we send all subscribers a template for hand-designed labels that fit on mason jars.  This weekends’ topic will be asparagus.

Foraging Round Up round ups Foraging

Here’s part of last weeks newsletter – the round-up of links to foraging articles from around the Internet: [Read more...]

Looking Ahead to The Terroir Symposium (Terroir VIII)

 

Dana and I celebrated milestone birthdays last year.  We celebrated by taking the vacation of a lifetime; 17 days of eating and drinking our way through Spain.  It was unbeleivable.  We enjoyed every moment; though I remember sitting on a sun-drenched patio and slightly longing for home.  I turned to her and said,

Terroir is today.  It’s our first time missing it in 4 years.

By the look in the face I knew that a small part of her longed to be there too.

I have no shame in admitting that, in the middle of the vacation of a lifetime, that a small part of me wished I was attending an industry conference.  Even if it was for an industry I didn’t work in.

Looking Ahead to The Terroir Symposium (Terroir VIII) [Read more...]

Turnip Round-up: How to Preserve and Store Them

As announced last week, we’re experimenting with sharing the round-up posts from our weekend newsletters on our website.  Although some people read the site and others read the newsletter, we recognize that many prefer one over the other.  We’re hoping that providing the round-up of the newsletter here (a week after it’s shared to subscribers), that these round-ups will provide ideas, inspiration and recipes for a single ingredient, topic or technique.

This week was the last of the winter veggies: turnips!  Each of the links were hand-selected (we spend hours combing the Internet for content that we think you’ll like) and we’re excited to share the love of so many people who are doing such great work.

Turnip Round up: How to Preserve and Store Them turnips Turnip round ups [Read more...]

Container/ Balcony Gardening Round-up

We’ve been writing a weekly newsletter for more than a year.  It’s gone through a few transitions – the most current format is a single-topic focus (such as carrots, cabbage, gardening or more).  The goal of the newsletter is simple: to be the most useful resource in your inbox.

Each week we send a bunch of original content to our subscribers.  You’ll find a few articles, announcements and news that you won’t find on our site.  The centerpiece of the newsletter are several link round-ups which include a big list of links to websites other than ours that we think you’ll find useful related to the topic of the week.  Subscribers also get bonuses (like our free printable labels that we send to everyone when they sign up).

We know our newsletter and our website audience are often different groups. We thought we’d experiment with sharing the links from the newsletter here as a Friday round-up series.  So pop-bye here every Friday to see a round-up of links from the previous week (and if you want to see these sooner, sign up to the newsletter).

Container/ Balcony Gardening Round up round ups [Read more...]

Bacon Jam Recipe with Bourbon, Maple and Espresso

We’re getting ready for another HomeEcNight (our monthly pop-up food event) and, since the theme this month is jam, we’ve decided to join the party and bring samples of bacon jam.

Bacon Jam Recipe with Bourbon, Maple and Espresso

Bacon jam, unlike most jams, isn’t safe to preserve in a jar and water bath (though you could freeze it).  Small portions are generally made and kept in the fridge.  It’s a great addition to hamburgers, toast, sandwiches or served with eggs.  My version has a slight bite and is more savory than sweet. [Read more...]

Alternatives to Cheesecloth

Yesterday’s post (The Most Surprising Ingredient in Cooking School) shared my surprise about the amount of times cheesecloth was used in the cooking courses I’ve been taking over the last few years.  Ingredients are frequently wrapped in a ‘bag’ made of cheesecloth and used to flavor food while it cooks and then removed later.

Several comments (on the blog and twitter) asked me about what could be used in lieu of cheesecloth – people were looking for something that was resusable/ not disposable.  I’ve been asked (in the past) about finding alternatives that are also not bleached.  Since people use it for cooking (and preserving), I thought it would be a good idea to share some alternatives to cheesecloth.

I use multiple alternatives to cheesecloth (and, yes, even use it from time-to-time) when cooking.  There isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution; the right tool for the job is generally determined by a combination of 3 factors:

  1. Can it be strained?  If I’m making stock, jelly or gravy, I know that I can strain the liquid to remove solids.  Peppercorns are easy to strain from soup but impossible to strain from a soup that’s filled with solids (such as chunks of vegetables).
  2. Is it hot?  This is really a subset of the straining question but an important one – I occaisionally use plastic (i.e. reusable coffee filters) for straining liquid.  I tend to avoid hot liquids (the irony of using a coffee filter for this is duly noted) and tend to avoid pouring scalding liquid through plastic.
  3. Is speed important?  If I’m making jelly I want to remove the solids in a hurry so I tend to use a tea diffuser (it also removes the clean-up step).

By understanding the answers to the question above, I use many different things to replace cheesecloth including:

  1. A tea towel.  IfI’m straining ricotta or yogurt an un-dyed tea towel can easily replace cheesecloth to strain the liquid from the solids.
  2. Re-use muslin bags.  This idea is often better sounding than in practice; many of the cheaper bags are technically reusable but you may find that they fall apart after only a few watches (which is why many are sold in larger quantities).
  3. A nut bag.  Used for making nut milk (like almond milk) these bags are reusable and durable.
  4. A blender.  I know this answer is cheating!  Sometimes I simply puree the ingredients to make the solids disappear (of course they are still in the dish but the consistiency is uniform).
  5. Use a metal strainer.  I have 4 in our house; all with different sized holes which makes straining a breeze.
  6. Use a plastic (but reusable) strainer.  A coffee filter or rice sieve are common.
  7. Use a tea strainer.  The metal kind that diffuses flab or into hot water is a great replacement for cheesecloth.
  8. Use a cloth teabag.  Yep, they exist too!
  9. Make your own reusable tea bags.  They’re relatively easy to make!

What are your ideas for replacing cheesecloth?

 

 

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?