Alli-yum

I wasn’t keeping count until a croquet-ball-sized one landed on my little toe this morning when I opened the pantry door, but as of a couple hours ago, we had way too many onions on hand. And then I made this sweet onion marmalade. And now Sheila’s asking me to swap for more onions next week….

I packed a pint of pickled peppers

Yesterday’s sharebox included a bag of a dozen or so decent-sized jalapeños. That’s a lot. More than we can eat before they start to go hinky. So I skimmed off 4-5 larger peppers for a batch of roasted salsa this weekend, and the remaining half pound split perfectly into to two half-pint jars that’ll feed us over…

Blubarb Jam: A Sweet and Slippery Slope

If you’re new to making fruit preserves, blueberries are the perfect gateway. Widely available, rich in their own pectin, and relatively inexpensive, blues are a small-batch-friendly fruit. And with no hulling and no pitting, your prep is pretty much limited to a quick rinse and a scan for stray stems and bum berries. Lovely when sugared…

Swap-Box Hero: Hoagie Peppers

  It was meant to be, I guess. The same bag of banana peppers I’d exchanged for a carton of mushrooms Tuesday morning was still in the swap box after everyone had picked up Tuesday night—along with a second bag of mixed wax peppers. By now, you probably know what that means: it’s time to prep…

Great Scot: Ginger-Cantaloupe Jam

It’s late one evening in March 2001, and we’re finishing up dinner our first night in Campbeltown, Scotland. Joyce Gardiner, my dear friend Judith’s mum, places a sterling shaker on the table alongside our post-entrée cantaloupe. Pepper, I assume. Hmmm. Maybe my dad’s side of the family, who sprinkled salt and pepper on all kinds…

Honey-Sweetened Blackberry Butter

My family’s humble, lakeside cabin in northern Wisconsin is way, way up there—at the tippy top of the state, in fact, just shy of the UP, halfway across. As if a week in that fabulous place with my fabulous family weren’t enough reward, most years I also come home with a parting gift: anywhere from…

Pickled daikon & carrot coins

Twenty-eight weeks of CSA deliveries this year, and not a single daikon radish had crossed my cutting board. So when I saw them – a bundle of three, nearly as long as my forearm – in Thursday’s swap box, it was bye-bye, kale. I shredded half a radish into a slaw, set one aside for…

Really, Really Slow Food: Asian Pear Butter

My first memories of fruit butters are driven out of Carbondale, Illinois, which seemed worlds away from the Chicago suburbs, both in station-wagon miles and in accent. Maybe Aunt Harriet’s slower cadences and shifts and drawls reinforced her patience for hours and hours of bubbling the moisture out of the orchard’s apples and peaches. All…

Good day, Sungold

And good-bye, Sungold. I’ve been picking nearly a pint a day from my Sungold cherry tomato plant for the past couple weeks. I’ve frozen them like little marbles to pop into soups and sauces this winter. I’ve oven-dried them for hours, creating raisiny, orange bursts of sugar that take up less room in the freezer…

Swap-box hero: Gimme a beet

When I was a kid, beets were sweet and syrupy and neon magenta. Gramma C called them “Harvard Beets.” They probably came out of a can. I never knew there was any other kind. And I loved them. I’m told that’s unusual – that beets are a taste acquired in adulthood, and that most young…

Blackberry-Bourbon Jam

Vanilla beans and lemon zest make their way into most of my berry-based preserves. But last season’s final batch of blackberry jam had to settle for a tablespoon of vanilla extract; I was out of beans and didn’t want to head to the store just for that one item. It was, however, homemade extract that…

Crisper-cleanout giardiniera

Monday mornings, I try to clean out my fridge to make room for the new week’s share-box contents. So far this season, I’ve been keeping up fairly well, tossing out just a few items I never got to. Today’s partial casualty, a forgotten handful of snow peas, now two weeks aged and slimy, was hiding under a…