Archive for the ‘putting food by’ Category

Strawberry Preserve Workshop, June 18

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Local strawberries are beginning to make their way into Seacoast farmers’ markets and farm stands. Early season varieties are particularly suited to preserving — take advantage of their arrival and learn basic canning skills while making strawberry jam at this upcoming workshop sponsored by New Eden Collaborative in Newbury, MA:


Strawberry Preserve Workshop

New Eden Collaborative of First Parish Church

20 High Road – Route 1A, Newbury, MA 01951

Saturday, June 18, 2011

10 a.m. – 12 p.m.


Join us in the kitchen for an introduction to food preservation with Strawberries!


There’s nothing that compares to the taste of ripe June strawberries, except your own strawberry preserves in January. Participants will learn how to save the flavor bounty of summer fruits using the simple hot water bath canning method. All will take home a jar of strawberry jam, the recipe, and a list of resources for further food preservation fun. Note: this workshop might run past noon.


Fee: $23 per person or $28 per couple taking home 1 jar of jam with online registration; $25 per single or $30 per couple the day of the event.


Workshop leader Charlotte Dion is a Permaculture designer, organic gardener, hen herder and suburban homesteader. She is a consultant to Transition Newburyport, the New Eden Community Gardens, and The Green Artists League. She teaches a variety of workshops on regenerative solutions around the North Shore and Boston. Charlotte is also the founder and organizer of the North Shore Permaculture organization.


For more information:

Market Notes: Store Local

Sunday, September 19th, 2010


If you’re like me, the shorter days and cooler nights of September bring with them the overwhelming urge to store away food for the winter. Fortunately, the organization CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture), based in Western Massachusetts, has just added a new feature to their website on storing winter crops at home.


Store Local has tips on storing potatoes, winter squash, sweet potatoes, garlic, and root vegetables such as carrots, beets, and celeriac. They include a link for those storing in apartments or with limited space, and also a list of food preservation resources.


Certain varieties and, in general, in an unwashed condition are better for long-term storage. Remember, if you’re unsure if the vegetable is suitable for winter storage, ask your farmer.

Yes You Can! Canning Demonstration, August 25

Saturday, August 21st, 2010


Come and learn more about how to can foods properly — the UNH Cooperative Extension is holding another canning demonstration and program on Wednesday, August 25, at the Rockingham County Complex in Brentwood. This program is free and open to the public, with 60 people attending the most recent workshop there!


Yes You Can! Food Preservation Program

Wednesday, August 25, 6:30 – 8 p.m.

Location: Hilton Auditorium, Rockingham County Nursing Home, 117 North Road, Brentwood, NH, 03833


Drop by for a FREE Canning Demonstration and Program by Claudia Boozer-Blasco, UNH Cooperative Extension Educator


Learn about…

• Use of proper canning equipment

• Techniques for canning acidic fruits and vegetables safely in a water-bath canner

• Using up-to-date canning recipes


Open to the public and handicap accessible


Click here to view flyer


Also, an additional workshop is scheduled for Thursday, September 2, at Massabesic Audubon Center in Auburn, NH. To register or for more information, call Lynn Harrison at (603) 679-5616 or email

Cooking & Wellness Class: Food Preservation, August 19

Thursday, August 5th, 2010


Holistic health counselor Tracey Miller has teamed up with Willow Pond Farm to offer an upcoming class on food preservation:  

If your refrigerator is overflowing, learn some ways to preserve your food and don’t let it go to waste. Join us at a “food preservation” class to support Willow Pond Farm on August 19th in Brentwood.

Food Preservation: How to preserve the summer and fall harvest — A Cooking & Wellness Class supporting Willow Pond Farm

Date & Time: August 19, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Location: 8 Wendell Drive, Brentwood, NH

Fee: $25 (all proceeds go to Willow Pond Farm)

With Tracey Miller, health coach and cooking instructor, Joanie Pratt, Apple Annie, Leslie Haslam, Director, Exeter Adult Education, and Sheryl Rome, Willow Pond Willow Pond Volunteer Coordinator.


For more  information or to register, contact Tracey Miller at or 603-380-1080.

Market Notes: Bok Choy x 10

Monday, June 14th, 2010



For Audrey at Pickpocket Farm, who probably thought I was crazy for ordering 10 not-so-small heads of bok choy, and let me have them anyway. And for those CSA members who might have bok choy piling up in their fridge—you know who you are—here’s what I did with them:


Heads 1–2: Cut up and braised with white wine, along with cod from Eastman’s CSF.


Heads 3–4: Dehydrated, one head cut up, the other left whole leaf. A way of preserving for wintery soups. See photos above, with notes following.


Heads 5–6: Cut up, blanched and frozen. Also soups or stews, goes well with chicken and rice added to the pot.


Head 7: Shredded and made into bok choy and radish cole slaw.


Head 8: Split, brushed with oil and grilled.


Heads 9–10: Preserved as spicy bok choy kimchee.


Which leaves plenty of bok choy bottoms leftover to do this with.


There, that wasn’t so hard now was it?


Notes on dehydrating: Steam blanching (1 to 2 minutes) worked well for a head of whole leaves but the cut-up ones blanched unevenly. Alternatively, blanch in boiling water. Chill the blanched leaves in cold water to stop cooking and set color. Drain and pat dry. Spread leaves out on drying racks or pan. I used an electric dehydrator set at 120° to 125°F for 10 to 14 hours, until the stalks were brittle. Be forewarned and use the dehydrator in a well-ventilated area, the bok choy may be pungent in a spinachy cabbagey sort of way while drying. Surprisingly, the leaves remained green when completely dried (see photo bottom right).

Market Notes: The Winter Pantrytarian

Friday, November 20th, 2009

This is the time of year I find myself taking more food from storage than putting away. A well-stocked pantry and root cellar provides a sense of security knowing that we’ll have local food to eat throughout the winter. This is especially important for those times we’re snowed in or can’t get to the farmers’ market. However, if you’re accustomed to shopping on a weekly or daily basis, planning and storing food for the winter can be a daunting task. The amounts of food some suggest can seem enough to feed a proverbial army.


Both MOFGA’s fact sheet, Storing Garden Vegetables, and article, Root Cellars: Safe and Secure from the Corporate Food Train, are good places to start. “Root Cellars” suggests the following quantities for a family of four:

Quantities and Varieties


Perhaps the biggest question regarding root-cellaring is how much food you’ll need… I recommend starting small – perhaps with a second refrigerator in the garage or basement. If your family is more adventurous and eager to commit to eating the way our great, great grandparents did, you might start with these quantities for a family of four:


Apples: 5 bushels

Carrots: 40 to 60 pounds

Cabbage: green, 20 heads; red, 10 heads

Beets: 20 pounds

Celeriac: (celery root, use instead of celery) 10 to 20 heads

Leeks: 40 plants

Potatoes: 100 pounds or more

Jerusalem artichoke: 10 pounds

Onions: 40 pounds

Garlic: 10 to 20 pounds

Winter radish: 10

Parsnip: 20 pounds

Squash: 40 ‘Delicata’ and 30 pounds butternut

Pumpkin: 5 to 10

Turnip and rutabaga: 10 or more

For my family of two, I started by dividing these quantities in half. I usually skip the few vegetables we either seldom eat or have difficulty finding, and increase the ones we favor. The first time I used this list, I discovered that the amounts of carrots, garlic and onions were not enough to take me through to the next season. These are what I think of as the seasoning vegetables, the ones I reach for on almost a daily basis. To adjust for this, I simply doubled the amounts for these vegetables. In practical terms, we tend to have more potatoes, carrots, onions and garlic, and less Jerusalem artichokes and winter radishes. And I always overbuy on winter squashes, one of my weaknesses.


With a full schedule of Winter Farmers’ Markets ahead of us, there’s still plenty of opportunity to stock up — see you at the Winter Farmer’s Markets!


Other links:

• UNH Cooperative Extension, Harvesting and Preserving — provides instruction, also many links to other cooperative extensions located in cold places.


Suggested reading:

• “Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits & Vegetables” by Mike and Nancy Bubel (Chelsea Publishing, 1979) — the bible of planning and building a root cellar.


• “Independence Days: A Guide to Sustainable Food Storage & Preservation” by Sharon Astyk (New Society Publishers, 2009) — the new kid on the block and a welcome update; I particularly like the chapter on “The Food Preserver’s Year” and it’s description of what to do when.

Market Notes: Oven-Drying Corn

Thursday, September 17th, 2009



Swags of dried corn are one sign of Fall’s arrival here in New England. However, it was only after a visit to the Good Life Center that I realized that dried corn represented something more than the ornamental. Located in Harborside, Maine, the center is the final hand-built home of Helen and Scott Nearing, and is actively maintained by stewards as an example of sustainable living. We entered the stone building through the kitchen, where that season’s harvest of corn was drying in the rafters, hung in bundles. Nearby, a hand-operated grinder resided on the counter — the corn was to be the caretaker’s source of flour for the coming year.


Since then, I’ve learned of other ways of using dried corn. Before I can try recipes such as Old-Fashioned Creamy Corn or Baked Dried Corn Casserole with Dried Peppers, though, I need to build up my stock first. An alternate way of preserving corn is through oven-drying. The procedure may seem time-consuming, but went faster than anticipated. The bulk of the drying happened when left in the oven overnight. As noted in the following recipe from Market Chefs:


 “This preserve proves its worth during the long gray winter months. The bright corn flavor that emerges from the re-hydrated corn brings warm reminders of summer like no frozen or canned corn ever could. Stir soaked dried corn into polenta for a buttery corn flavor. Add a couple of spoonfuls to stew or winter squash soup. It can also be used to make the most amazing vegetarian stock to use in soups, vegetable ragouts, and even risotto.”

 Oven-Dried Corn


• 8 cups fresh corn cut from the cob (about 12 ears)

• 2 teaspoons kosher salt

• 1½ teaspoon sugar (optional)

• ¼ cup heavy cream


1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large saucepan or shallow pot. Cook over medium-low heat, stir often, until the cream is absorbed.

2. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Divide the corn between 2 or 3 large sheetpans or jellyroll pans (baking dishes will work as well, but it may take a bit longer for the corn to dehydrate). I used one large shallow baking pan.

3. Bake in the oven, stirring every 15 minutes, for 1 hour. Stirring will keep the kernels from sticking together, and opening the oven door will allow steam to escape.

4. Leaving the pans in the oven, turn off the heat and allow the oven to cool. When the oven is cold, turn the oven back on to 200 degrees and repeat the cooking and stirring for 1 more hour. Repeat this procedure until the corn is completely dehydrated. It’s fine to leave the corn in the oven to cool overnight and resume drying in the morning. The corn kernels should end up half their original size and they will be a deep golden color.

5. Store the dried corn in sealed jars.


To reconstitute: Use 2 cups of water for each cup of corn. In a saucepan, bring the water and corn to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to moderate and simmer, partially covered, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the corn is tender, 20 to 25 minutes.


Notes: Variations of this recipe are available at Mother Earth News and Straight from the Farm. A dozen ears yields about 3 to 4 cups of dried corn but, as we discovered, will depend on how much gets snacked on before making its way into storage.

7 Things She Didn’t Know About Canning

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Rachel Forrest attended the canning demonstration at the Portsmouth Farmers’ Market and wrote about the things she learned:

Recently, I got some information on how to can correctly at the Portsmouth farmers market from Claudia Boozer-Blasco, extension educator in Family and Consumer Resources, with the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension in Rockingham County.

Now, I know how to can veggies and sauces. I’ve done it before, but one thing I never learned were some of the reasons why certain processes are done to avoid illness in canning. I’m one of those people who always asks, “OK, so why did you do that?”

The water bath process is for high acid foods — your jams, applesauce, pickled beets, tomatoes. First thing I didn’t know — the acid and the boiling point work together to eliminate the botulism. With pressure cooking canning, used with lower acid foods like beans and corn, it’s temperature and pressure. The recipe will tell you which one to use.

Second thing I didn’t know — use a book with canning recipes published after the mid-1980s because it reflects the changes made in recipes since the USDA et al tested the recipes and let us know the science behind canning.

Read the full article >

Market Notes: Seven ways to Sunday

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009



Really, I should have know better. After all, I’d been warned.

“Most people plant too much summer squash…. This won’t happen to you if you plant a small amount of squash (and I mean one to three plants, total)….”  — Marian Morash, “The Victory Garden Cookbook”

 ” …some people are slow to realize that they only need a few.” — Barbara Damrosch, “The Garden Primer”

Truth be told, I’m a late-comer to squash. It was only when I had summer squash fresh from the farmer’s market that I understood how delicately flavorful they can be — slightly floral, nutty, and with a tender crunch in texture. I enjoy having them now that they’re in season. However, life with five summer squash plants means having to know a lot of ways to prepare them. As a kind of public service announcement, here is a list of what to do with zucchini (and other summer squash). Just in case the Chocolate Zucchini Cake recipe doesn’t resolve the surplus, I find freezing is a quick way to preserve them.


Freezing Summer Squash: 


1. Wash squash, drain and pat dry.

2. Trim ends off. Slice no thicker than 1/4 inch.

3. Pack and freeze.


• Squash may be sliced 1/2-inch thick and tray-frozen, unblanched, to be used later breaded or flour-coated and fried. Do not defrost before frying.


• Grate and freeze squash for frittatas, fruit breads, cookies and muffins. Defrost to use, squeezing out moisture before measuring and adding to recipe.


• For better flavor and texture, cook squash while still frozen by stir-frying or steaming.


Note:  Adapted from “The Busy Person’s Guide to Preserving Food” by Janet Chadwick.

Market Notes: Yes you can!

Saturday, August 8th, 2009



It’s August and the produce is coming fast and furious now — time to can! It’s my third season of preserving, and I’ll be putting up more than in previous years; my husband planted a lot of green beans this year.  I like having enough food stored so that we can continue to eat locally during the off season. Also, canning helps solve the problem of limited freezer space and potential loss of electricity during winter storms. Mostly, though, I just like the satisfaction and pleasure of seeing colorful rows of home-canned goods.


If you’ve always wanted to start canning but didn’t know how, or need a refresher or have questions — I know I do — many canning demonstrations are scheduled for New Hampshire Eat Local Month. They are free and open to the public:


Yes You Can! Canning Demonstration by Claudia Boozer-Blasco, UNH Cooperative Extension Educator

Learn about:

– Use of proper canning equipment

– Techniques for canning acidic fruits and vegetables safely in a water-bath canner

– Using up-to-date canning recipes


• Exeter Farmers’ Market, Swazey Parkway, Exeter, NH

Thursday, August 13, 2:15 – 6 p.m.


• Portsmouth Farmers’ Market, City Hall Parking Lot, Junkins Avenue, Portsmouth, NH

Saturday, August 15, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.


• Applecrest Farm Orchards, 133 Exeter Road, Hampton Falls, NH

Tuesday, August 18, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.


• Rye Public Library, 581 Washington Road, Rye, NH

Tuesday, August 25, 6:30 – 8 p.m.


For those wanting to learn more about canning and home preservation, The National Center for Home Food Preservation offers a free, self-paced online course, Preserving Food at Home: A Self-Study (requires registration to receive a login). I also recommend their guide to canning, “So Easy to Preserve”. It’s a useful reference for both beginners as well as the more experienced, with chapters on Preserving Food, Canning, Pickled Products, Jellied Fruit Products, Freezing and Drying. Copies are available through their website.


Notes: For those of you interested, from left to right, Bok Choy KimchiRoasted Heirloom Tomatoes (San Marzano tomatoes done “long-term shelf”), and Zydeco Beans from “The Joy of Pickling” by Linda Ziedrich.