Strawberry-Maple Jam

Time to rotate the berries. With a pint in yesterday’s LFFC sharebox, plus about a pint pulled from my own garden, plus a scruffy partial-quart leftover from the farmers market Sunday, I suddenly had a critical mass of berries, some of which were in that critical do-something-with-me-today stage. I hung onto most of my home-growns…

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….

Swap-Box Hero: Roasted Pumpkin Butter

Five pounds? According to John Oliver—in an epic rant against all things pumpkin-flavored—that’s how much pumpkin the average American eats each year. Maybe so. Nevertheless, there were three lovely little Kikuzas and a Queensland Blue in the swap box at the end of last week’s pick-up. So I grabbed a couple. Five pounds. I’m doing my…

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…

Swap-Box Hero: Homemade Tomato Paste

Who swaps out plum tomatoes? Well, whoever you are (and I’m guessing it was one of our half-dozen picker-uppers who ordered a supplemental 25-pound box from the co-op), I thank you. Your bag plus my bag gave me a four-pound quorum—just enough for a small batch of über-concentrated tomato paste. Another adventure in really, really slow food,…

Pickleberries

This week’s pre-delivery CSA list had me prepped for more rhubarb—which was great, since I’d used up last week’s bundle making preserves Sunday. When I pulled back the lid on Tuesday’s box, though, there were strawberries instead. Superb. Sunday’s jam session had also cleaned me out of extra berries, so the switcheroo was a welcome one. I knew exactly…

Cabbage, Salt & Gramma’s Secret Ingredient

“Time.” That’s all she ever asked for. Once glasses were filled, grace was offered, and platters were passed, “Time” was Gramma Crawshaw’s stock answer to any host’s query, “What does anyone need?” You could count on it. Just as you could count on her bringing the finest, hand-cut coleslaw to every holiday gathering. Itsy bitsy little slivers of cabbage and carrots. Uniform,…

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…