Summertime. Time to pickle and ferment.

DSC07965I love fresh vegetables. I also love pickles of all sorts. They have to be SOUR though. It is really hard for me to find GOOD, SOUR pickles here in the States. They are never sour enough for me. I have long made my own pickles, although the last few years I didn’t really have time, so we were without pickles.

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This year I made some. Veggie pickles. We love them! I made them SOURRRRRR and some have also garlic and one spicy one for my husband. All of them have dill from my garden to season. I also added mustard seeds, peeper and turmeric.

Super easy and fast and now they are in the water-bath to be canned. I can’t wait to taste the first few!

I won’t put up a recipe for this, since there are TONS online already ;) Just use the google machine lol

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I have some apple cider vinegar fermenting right now. Only a few days so far, but it already smells and starts to taste like vinegar! SO EXCITED!  And I am in the process of setting on some Sauerkraut.

I am off then to chop the cabbage and massage some salt into it. More of the kraut and pics of the finished vinegar  in a later post.

 

And now for something completely different….Balckberry sirup

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We have TONS of blackberries ripening these days all around. We already  had blackberry pie, and it’s not quite enough to make a preserve, but it was enough to make sirup! Mine is still cooling off, as you can see. But the bit I tasted was fantastic! <3

How is it done, Bridgett? Why, quite simple, really.

Grab some blackberries (or really any fruit you want sirup from) and mash it to bits with a bit of water (maybe half a cup). I put mine in a blender on puree until it really is a nice saucy consistency. (If you have stone fruit, please take out the stones first!)

Now strain it (I really don’t like all the little seeds in my sirup, but if you don’t mind, by all means, skip this step).

I used 4 cups of berries and added 2/3 cups of sugar to it. You can use a converter and add any other sweetening agent you like to this at this point.

Pour it all into a saucepan and heat to a boil. Let boil for approx. 2 minutes, then take off heat and let cool completely. If you want thicker sirup, let it boil and reduce  little longer. I made my sirup to go and flavour sparkling water or tea.

Fill in bottles (you can also can it at this point to make it last longer, otherwise, please use it up within 2 weeks).

Enjoy over ice cream, in water, or tea, Italian sodas,for baking, or even in coffee, if you feel like it.

…. and a pillow of moss, for the dreaming head.

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I made a pillow and since it is dropped off with the recipient, I can show it off here. :)

It is a birthday present for my friend.

The one with the socks pictures and the apple butter recipe.

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The summer is in full swing, even up here in the Pacific-very-North-West. We do get the odd days of rain, but mostly it’s sunny and warm. That means the greens are growing and the fruit is getting ripe.

We live right smack in between two empty fields. Which makes weeding blackberry brambles pretty much a full time occupation in our yard. But in summer we are glad we have the huge bushes to our left and right. It makes it possible for us to have blackberry preserves without having to go buy them, or hike into the sticks to get them.  Yesterday, my daughter went to go harvest a few and we had blackberry pie. (sorry, no photos.. it was gone too fast)

She also brought in some apples from our tree. It did not bloom quite as exuberant as last year, but there are still a number of apples more to take care of than we usually know what to do with. (We share with the neighbor and this year we are contemplating to let the local Food bank gleaners get the majority of them.)

The apples my daughter brought in yesterday were posthaste made into apple butter! YUM! (Well… it wasn’t too fast, since I made it in the slow-cooker.)

If you want to make your own apple butter, here is what we did:

You need:

  • About a pound of apples (we took about 6 medium sized apples, some were nice and ripe and some were still a bit tart. You want to  make sure to have a good mix of both)
  • 1 tbsp Cinnamon, 4-5 cloves, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (we have ready ground cinnamon at hand and have whole cloves and nutmeg to grind when needed. I ground the nutmeg, but left the cloves whole)
  • Optional: 1tsp lavender and rose petals each (from our yard, so I know they are not treated with anything)
  • 2 cups of sugar (you can do a blend of white and brown, or use a bit of agave sweetener,, or honey if you don’t want all that sugar. I use what I have on hand, so this last time it was two cups of white sugar.)
  • Slow cooker

Peel, core and dice the apples into bite size pieces, place in the slow cooker, add the sugar and spices and optional ingredients and stir. Let stand for about 10 minutes. Turn slow cooker to high and let cook for a few hours, stirring now and again. When the apples start to break apart on their own, it’s nearly done (this takes about 3-4 hours, depending on how small you cut your apple bits). This is when you turn the slow cooker down to low and let it simmer for another two hours. Turn slow cooker off and let the whole thing cool over night. Stir well the next morning, then put the whole thing in a blender (you can fish out the cloves now if you like, or leave them in). Blend until the whole thing is pureed and then fill it in glasses. You can now proceed with canning the apple butter, or freeze it. If you just stick it in the fridge as is, you may want to eat it within a relatively short while.

Presto! Not that hard and not that much washing up either. It’s a one pot job lol.

 

In knitting news: I have made a pair of socks for my daughter’s birthday. (I also have knitted other things, but can’t show them right now, since it is a birthday present as well)

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I am also working on a custom order crochet blanket. BRIGHT colours and fun! Pictures of the finished project fur sure, but here is one of half the colours for now. The customer picked them all. Aren’t they FUN?

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Zucchini Noodles

We are having Chicken cacciatore and zucchini noodles today.

How do you make zucchini noodles, you ask?

Why, it’s simple enough. All you need is a big, giant zucchini (small ones will do just as well, but they won’t look quite so spaghetti like) and a grater / mandolin.

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Take the zucchini and wash it well. Cut the top and bottom off. You can peel it, if you like, but we prefer a bit of natural colour in our food.  After it is washed (and peeled if you like) you just push it over your mandolin lengthwise.. (If it’s a big zucchini, you want to cut out the seed part, as it won’t “pastafy” where the seeds are (it simply breaks into smaller bits and won’t look as pretty, so we cut them out).

Once the whole zucchini is grated (or however much you need for your family) put it in a bowl and put a little bit of salt over it all. Mix up, so all the zucchini get a bit of salt on them and let stand for about 10 minutes.

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Drain the liquid out of the bowl and squeeze more liquid out of the zucchini. They will be a bit “limp” after this step. Dry the “pasta” off a bit for the next step.

Now you have a few choices how to handle the “pasta” from here on. You can either bring a pot of water to a boil, add a bit of salt and boil the pasta for about 2 minutes. Drain and serve with your favourite sauce.

You can also saute the zucchini. Heat a pan, then add a bit of olive oil, or butter (make sure the pan does not get too hot for the butter. It will smoke and blacken and you don’t want that.) When the bottom of the pan is coated with a thin layer of oil, throw in the pasta and give it a good stir.  Heat the zucchini well in the pan, until it becomes soft (or the consistency you like for your “pasta”). You can add any kind of seasoning you like to it, or just leave it blank and let the sauce do the seasoning.

You could also just eat it raw in a salad. Or you could microwave it for a bit, in a microwave safe bowl with a tiny bit of water, to make sure the pasta does not dry out. Microwave for about 2 minutes, drain excess liquid and serve.

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Presto! Done! Enjoy!

Let me know when you try it out and what kind of sauce you prefer with your zuchini pasta, or how you prepared them.  <3