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September 17th, 2013

I was up late into the evening making sauerkraut. For this batch I decided to add a few apples. I read in The Joy of Pickling that adding a few apples to your kraut will lessen the tartness of the sauerkraut. Since Mr Chiots isn’t a fan of the tartness of sauerkraut I thought he might like this version. A few of you asked about this as well after listening to Cultivate Simple yesterday.
making kraut
You can see our microphones are still on the table from recording the night before. It’s nice to have 10 more lbs of cabbage tucked into jars becoming healthy winter food. Sauerkraut is probably my favorite fermented food, I like it cold from the fridge for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I think it’s salty tang goes well with just about anything!

What’s your favorite fermented food?

Admitting Defeat

September 14th, 2013

This is one of only a few peppers that I have on my plants in the garden.  I knew my pepper harvest would be low due to the location of the pepper plants.  Then the ducks decided that pepper plants were super tasty and my hopes of harvesting even a half bushel of peppers from my garden were dashed.  I have been harvesting a few green peppers and other hot peppers for the past month, but I do not have enough to make roasted red peppers for the pantry.  I don’t do a lot of canning of garden produce, but I do love to have a few jars of roasted red peppers in the cupboard.  They’re so much cheaper than buying them at the store, and you can customize them with white wine vinegar, homegrown garlic, and a really good olive oil.  I even use the brine to make salad dressing. (“>here’s my post about making them, including the recipe)
peppers 1
Yesterday, I purchased a load of peppers at the Belfast Farmers Market to preserve.  Next week I hope to buy more, along with some jalapeños (which I preserve in the same manner and dehydrate as well).
peppers 2
I also purchased a box of tomatoes since mine are taking they’re time ripening up. Roasted tomato passatta is something I don’t want my pantry to be without as well. I must admit, I’m thankful to live in an area where there are loads of farmers growing all kinds of wonderful organic produce. It comes in handy when my crop doesn’t do well.

Have you had any crops that have done less than stellar this season?

Savory Saving

September 10th, 2013

This week it’s starting to feel like fall, of course that means it’s time to start harvesting herbs in earnest for winter cooking. I’ve been harvesting all of my oregano, which I use quite often in cooking. Many of the herbs I harvest get dried and stored in glass jars in the pantry. Thyme always lives in a pot in the house because I think fresh thyme is so much better than dried.
preserving herbs 1
preserving herbs 2
Basil is also an herb I love to preserve, most of it is eaten as pesto and most of that is eaten in the winter. Yesterday I made 5 batches of pest for the freezer. If you’re looking for a good recipe, I love the one from Simply Recipes. If you’re going to freeze it, leave the cheese out.
preserving herbs 3
Pesto is such a great way to save summer in a jar to enjoy in the middle of winter and it’s super healthy. It’s definitely worth having around, the garlic and basil will help keep you fight off winter colds. I think there’s enough basil in the garden for a few more batches, I’ll wait to make those until frost threatens.

What do you think about pesto: love it or leave it?

The Corn Bee

September 3rd, 2013

Yesterday, we celebrating Labor Day by processing corn with our neighbors. Having a bee, is a great way to make a big job much more fun, the work goes much faster when you have someone to talk to while working. It ended up being their best year yet. We spent the day husking, cooking, cooling, cutting and freezing dozens of ears of corn.
Corn Bee 1
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Corn Bee 11
We ended up coming home with quite a bit of corn for our freezer. This will certainly bring the taste of summer back on a few cold winter days.

Do you ever have group work days?

Friday Favorite: Garden Peas

July 12th, 2013

I’ve always been a big fan of garden peas, they’re just so sweet and tasty.  I rarely every have enough for freezing, most of them are enjoyed within a few hours of being picked.
shelling peas 1
Since I never end up with enough peas for the freezer, this year I planted a ton.  Two seventy foot long rows to be exact, along with a few six foot rows in the back potager for fresh eating. I grew ‘Green Arrow’ from High Mowing Seeds as my main crop peas. Other sowings included: ‘Little Marvel’, ‘Lincoln’, and ‘Dakota’.
shelling peas 2
My plan finally worked, on Wednesday evening we spent an hour shelling peas. After shelling our harvest weighed in at 8 pounds. They were blanched and packed into two cup glass containers for freezing.
shelling peas 3
Typically I’m not much of one for freezing or canning much from the garden, peas are the exception because winter soups and stews just aren’t the same without them!
shelling peas 4
We’ve also been enjoying our share fresh from the garden. Mostly, I’ve been steaming them then tossing them with butter and some homemade duck breast prosciutto. I always read about traditional recipes featuring peas and mint, but somehow I just can’t bring myself to put mint with peas. One of these days I will.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy garden peas? Do you like peas and mint together?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.