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Pickling up a Storm (or at least lots of veggies)

August 10th, 2017

Over the past week or two I’ve been pickling all sorts of things from the garden. At the moment, I have six different things in various stages in the pickling process. So far all the recipes are from the book, The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich. I’m making a few favorites and trying a few new and interesting things, like pickling nasturtium seeds and Iranian pickled onions with mint.


So far I’ve made:
Lower East Side Full Sour Dills (page 45)
Dutch Lunch Spears (page 91)
Cornichons a Cru (page 97)
Olive Oil Pickles (page 98)
Pickled Nasturtium Pods (page 165)
Sweet Gherkin Pickles (page 230)
Shallots or Onions Pickled with Mint (page 291)

Still on my list to make this summer:
Zucchini Relish (page 314)
Short Brined Pickled Peppers (page 136)
Pickled Fennel with Orange (page 274)
Pickled Jerusalem Artichoke (page 131)


This is a great book to have in your cookbook library if you have a garden and are interested in pickling/preserving. Pretty much anything you can think of pickling is in this book. I purchased this book years ago and it’s always on my kitchen table this time of year. I’ve made loads of recipes from it and have so many more I’d like to try.

What are you pickling this summer?

Cultivate Simple 15: Stocking the Larder

January 21st, 2013

An honest and unrehearsed discussion about trying to live a more simple life. This is episode 15 and today we are discussing Stocking the Larder.

Susy’s Mulling Spice Mix on the Your Day Blog

Brian’s birthday wishlist

Topic – Stocking the Larder

Think outside the canning pot when it comes to winter eating. Saves time, which gives you more time to work in the garden, saves energy, saves money because you don’t have to buy stuff, supplies, etc. Not to mention, it’s simpler to harvest potatoes and root vegetables and put them in the cellar than it is to pick/snap/can green beans.

Eating Seasonally, less waste, less energy, more delicious, include a wider variety of food in your diet, gets you more in tune with the seasons.

Dehydrating – especially if you can use a solar dehydrator or the warmth of a wood stove or your attic. An option I want to work more on, we want to build a solar dehydrator this summer.

Smoking – smoking foods is a valuable way to preserve meats. We haven’t been able to try this method, but hopefully we can build a smoker soon.

Fermentation – makes nutrients more available, adds probiotics, so instead of cooking the vitamins out of your food, it actually makes it healthier.

Fermenting Recipes

Freezing – A quick way to store veggies at the height of their freshness. Cons – energy used, pros, tastes great and easy. I always store in glass, no plastic bags here. Start investing in glass containers. My favorite containers are wide mouth pint jars (here’s how to freeze in glass jars) or these Pyrex Rectangular Clear-Glass Food-Storage Containers. Here’s how I keep my freezer organized.

Geeky Corner w/ Brian

The Pomodoro Technique
30/30 app

Books of the Week

Questions of the Week

  • To forum or not to forum?
  • Craaap T-shirt? What should it say?

Stocking the Pantry with Tomato Soup

September 16th, 2010

I’ve blogged about my home canned tomato soup many times. It’s one of my most popular posts, people are always writing asking the recipe and telling me how much they love the soup. It’s one of the few things I can every year without fail. The first year I canned only 30 pints of it and it was gone way too soon. Last year I did 31 quarts and 7 pints and we only have 2 quarts left.

Yesterday I made the first batch of soup this season, most of the remaining tomatoes will be used for soup since I already have 44 pints and 8 quarts of crushed tomatoes. I’m hoping to get at least 35-40 quarts of soup again this year since it makes a perfect quick meal that’s healthy and delicious. It’s also great added to chili and vegetable soup.

I use an old Squeezo to make my soup, this one was handed down to me by my mom. It’s the one we used for applesauce & tomatoes growing up. It’s a relic but still works great, and I love that it doesn’t have any plastic parts. I love pulling it out, I even use the same block of wood on the counter that we used growing up.

I only made one batch of soup yesterday, I’m hoping to make another tomorrow or Sunday. I prefer making double batches so I don’t have to spend as much time canning, but I only had enough tomatoes for one batch. In case you’re interested in the recipe, here it is again. Yesterday I changed it slightly by using whey instead of lemon juice (didn’t have lemon juice but had plenty of whey in the fridge). I also added a few sprigs of fresh Italian parsley since I had some in the garden.

TOMATO SOUP
6 onions, chopped
1 bunch celery, chopped
8 quarts fresh tomatoes (or 5-6 quarts of juice) *I coarsely chop mine in quarters leaving the stems on them since I’m putting them through a food mill. (10-12 lbs of tomatoes)
1 cup sugar (I find this is too much and I use less usually 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup salt (I usually add 2 T and then taste before I add more)
1 cup butter
1 cup flour*
1/4 cup lemon juice

Directions
1. Chop onion& celery. Place in large kettle w/ just enough water to keep them from burning. While this simmers, cut tomatoes (remove stems if not using strainer).
2. Add tomatoes to kettle & cook until tender.
3. When tender put through Victorio or Squeezo (or similar food mill) strainer. (reserve 2 cups for mixing with butter/flour)
4. Return to kettle, add lemon juice, sugar & salt.
5. Cream butter and flour together& mix thoroughly with two cups of reserved juice (chill so it’s cold), until dissolved (or blend together in a blender), to avoid lumps of flour in the juice. Add butter/flour mixture to warmed tomato juice. (Add before it’s hot, to avoid lumps of flour!). Stir well.
6. Heat just until hot. (If it gets to a boil, it can make the flour lumpy). Just prior to boiling, turn off the burner. (It will continue to thicken as it cools.).
7. Ladle into hot jars with 1/4 headspace, close securely with lids.
8. Put in canner & process 30 minutes (start timing when it’s at a ‘rolling’ boil).**
9. Remove from canner & allow to set until sealed (approx. 12 hours) To serve, mix equal parts tomato concentrate to milk, and add 1/2 t. of baking soda per pint as it cooks (1 t. per quart). I actually prefer to add chicken stock to mine instead of milk & baking soda. I serve with a sprinkle of freshly grated romano cheese, a sprinkle of cayenne and a little freshly ground black pepper.

*feel free to omit flour if you don’t want it in your soup, the soup will be a little thinner.

**Some people say this isn’t long enough in a canner, some people say you should only pressure can this recipe. I’m happy with it and am quite comfortable making it and processing it in this way. If you’re uncomfortable with this method use whatever canning method you’re comfortable with.


This is one of our favorite quick meals throughout the year, each quart gives us two meals. I usually make mine with half chicken stock and half whey and we enjoy it with some crusty bread. My pantry will never be without some home canned tomato soup.

What item is your pantry never be without?

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Shop through these links and I get a few cents each time. It's not much, but it allows me to buy a new cookbook or new gardening book every couple months. I appreciate your support!

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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 moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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