Author Archives: Ann Lovejoy

Simple Garden Syrups

Simple syrups are just that; extremely simple mixtures of cane sugar and water, boiled for a few minutes until the sugar is completely dissolved. Before electricity and freezers were common, most fruits were canned in simple syrups, which helped preserve their quality and flavor. Simple syrups can be flavored with all sorts of things, from vanilla beans and peppercorns to toasted fennel or coriander seeds. In summer, it’s delightful to capture the fleeting scents and tastes of herbs, flowers, and even fruit in such syrups. The primary rule here is to use only organically grown fruit, flowers, and foliage, as pesticide residues are definitely not edible.
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Posted in Easy Care Perennials, Pets & Pests In The Garden, preserving food, Recipes, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living, Vegan Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jammin’ In The Kitchen

Pick a day when you are tired, distracted, and already busy. Search large kitchen of rental house for all needed tools which you put away with creative imagination several months ago. Measure out sugar and mashed fruit, heat not quite enough jars and lids, dust off rather elderly packet of pectin. Umm, pectin doesn’t go bad, does it? Surely not. Bring fruit to boil, stir in pectin and boil as directed, get ready to fill jars. Discover sugar still sitting in it’s measuring cup on the counter. Oops. Add sugar in wrong order, cooling off the boiling mass instantly. Oops. Bring jam (possibly?) back to a boil, despite probably over-cooking the pectin. Result definitely looks odd.

Decide what the hell, and proceed with filling and sealing jars, discovering that you are short several lids. And jars. Find more of both and put in hot water as jam cools. Reheat jam (tastes fine, looks funny). Discover large lump of something (sugar? Pectin?) on bottom of jam pan. Stir it in anyway. What can possibly go wrong? Spill a good deal of hot jam when you drop ladle. Process filled jars in hot bath for ten minutes. Put jars on cooling rack, scalding yourself several times. Listen with satisfaction as they all seal promptly. Decide who amongst your acquaintance would be kindest about the result and make gift labels.
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Harvesting & Preserving Herbs

I like to wander through the garden clipping a little of this and a bit of that, then grind the herbs with flaked sea salt to create seasonal blends that grace anything from fish or poultry to desserts (but of course; sea salt with lavender, chamomile, and pepper is brilliant on berries). As a rule of thumb, you can add anywhere from a teaspoon to a quarter cup of goodies per cup of sea salt. However, it is imperative to oven dry the more richly endowed blends or they can mold despite the preservative qualities of salt. You can use any kind you like, but I prefer to use medium flaked sea salts over coarse ones (which don’t melt evenly) or very fine ones, which don’t maintain their relationship to the herbs very well. But that’s just me.
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Festive Food For An Explosive Occasion

The Dark Side Of Fireworks Here on scenic little Bainbridge Island, The Grand Old Fourth Of July has become something of a circus. When my kids were small, we often participated in the all-island parade, which used to mainly consist … Continue reading

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