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First harvest from my own Apricot trees EVER!

We were in full on summer here. June strawberries are long gone, cherries are just finishing up, apricots and raspberries are ripe, and the first nectarines and peaches are starting to appear at farmers markets. If you happen to have fruit trees, now is the time you start stuffing fruit into jars and freezer bags in an effort to deal with the deluge of fruit sitting on your kitchen counter right now.

But you can only eat so much jam and make so many smoothies. Yes, pies and buckles and crumbles and crisps are nice, but may not be where your diet is at right now. Alternatives?

Shrubs and Liqueurs! Read the rest of this entry »

IMG_20180627_153036066watermarkBeets, as a vegetable, are a challenge for me. In my quest to overcome my various childhood vegetable phobias, I’ve made it a point to have a go-to recipe for each vegetable, that makes them not just tolerable, but something that I really enjoy. But earthy beets, the poster child for vegetable terroir (which translates loosely to “of the earth”)? Well, I’m still in search of that go-to recipe. I’ve roasted them. I’ve boiled or steamed them. I’ve spiraled and shredded them raw. I’ve turned them into fritters and borscht. I’m most likely to turn them into a beet salad, married with other strong flavors such as onion, garlic, orange, sharp vinegar, a spicy fruity olive oil, feta cheese and nuts.

But my favorite way to eat beets, my go-to recipe, is pickled. Not just normal picked, but with added onion, mustard and warm baking spices. I LOVE them tossed into a dinner salad, including the bright red pickled onions also in the jar. Read the rest of this entry »

Basket of farm fresh eggs

REAL farm fresh eggs.

Recently, a customer asked me, “Do I need to refrigerate your eggs”? This question comes up every once in a while on Facebook or in other places, so I thought I’d write up a more formal answer and my thoughts on this. You may have run across one of the many articles on this subject (just type in US vs European egg refrigeration), which are often slanted to give you the impression that “in the US, we’re doing it all wrong”, and then wondered, but what about local eggs? Read the rest of this entry »

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Seriously. This just makes me happy.

It’s January, and my mail box is groaning with the weight of seed catalogs. Normally, I’ve inventoried my seeds by now and have put in an order (Fedco, Johnny’s and Seed Savers Exchange are my go-to seed sources). But this year I’ve been catching up on bookkeeping instead. Oh the joys of owning a small business.

But as I flip through the catalogs, I almost always turn to the pepper pages first. You see, I love peppers. All kinds of peppers. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you already know this. At least 17 of the recipes listed on the recipe tab of this blog contain peppers, NOT including the spice mixes. Was there ever one vegetable that was so versatile to the homestead? That has SO many uses, not to mention being a nutritional powerhouse (hello vitamin A, C, B6, E and Folate? My top two things to grow are tomatoes and peppers, but if I had to pick only one, it would be peppers. Read the rest of this entry »

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First baby picture. This is what I sent my husband when I visited the pound. “I think you need to meet this one” was my comment.

We have a new kitten! And I’ve become one of those crazy cat ladies where the vast majority of the photos on my phone are of my cat, lol. Read the rest of this entry »

Kraut and Peserved LemonsSo, what seems like forever ago (but was probably 2011), I started following the Food In Jars blog. A nationwide resurgence of interest in home canning and preserving was happening, and Marisa McClellan was one of the main movers and shakers behind the renewed interest in this almost lost art. Her information was safe, accurate, and inspiring. Read the rest of this entry »

IMG_20160920_143854353_HDRwatermarkWhen I first started canning, I’d get overwhelmed with a particular item of produce that was available in abundance, and thumb through my canning books looking for recipes that used that fruit or vegetable. For instance, I once had an abundance of peaches, and had already canned plenty of them, so I made peach chutney. The problem? We don’t really eat chutney (this recipe excepted). So it languished on the shelf, beautiful but unwanted, and eventually, several years later, I opened the jars and fed it to the chickens. Read the rest of this entry »

Pineapple WeedThis one comes with a memory. I went to elementary/junior-high/high school in a small town in northern California. This was before the trend to make “middle school” sixth, seventh and eighth grade, so we had a sixth grade graduation, then went to junior high for two years, had had an eighth grade graduation, and went on to high school. The junior high and the high school were in the same building, and my graduating class in high school was about 40 kids. It was a very small town. Read the rest of this entry »

The Hot Chili Harvest

A mix of the last hot chilies of the year, picked two days before our first frost.

My husband is a hot sauce lover. I learned to like hot sauce while traveling in Mexico, and have been slowly liking it more and more as the years go on. As I’ve mentioned on here more than once, I LOVE growing chilies, and grow a lot of them. We dry our own paprika (smoked and plain), jalapenos (for pickling and for dried/smoked chipotles), and our own cayenne. We also do a lot of Hatch style green chilies for both roasted green chilies (on everything from eggs to pork stew to burgers) and dried when ripe for red chili sauce. Cool chili fact. Hatch is the name of a place in New Mexico, not an actual variety of pepper. Hatch peppers can be any number of varieties. This year I grew Joe Parker and Big Jim. They are all in the Anaheim group. I like serranos for Indian food of all kinds and occasionally added to a Mexican dish for extra bite. And of course, we make gallons of salsa every year. Read the rest of this entry »

Ripe SerranosThat moment when you realize you are almost out of garlic chili sauce. And then the dawning realization of “how hard can this be, really, to make?” given that you are staring at a pile of ripe serrano peppers on your counter. The ingredients on the side of the jar are chilies, garlic, salt and vinegar, plus preservatives to make it shelf stable. Read the rest of this entry »

Jennifer Kleffner

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