Blogs

8 Ways to Preserve Melons

Sweet, luscious melons are a treat that can only be truly appreciated at the peak of summer, when they're at their juiciest, gushiest best. If you've been overly tempted and have a glut of melons, here's a few ways to turn them into treats that will last beyond summer's steamy days.

Pickled Watermelon Rind found on PunkDomestics.com
Pickled Watermelon Rind
A Southern classic, these sweet pickles are refreshing with meats or alongside cheeses. Don't throw those rinds away!
Watermelon Jam found on PunkDomestics.com
Watermelon Jam
Capture the fresh essence of the watermelon in a jam (or a jelly). A squeeze of lime helps perk up the flavor.
Watermelon Infusion found on PunkDomestics.com
Watermelon Infusion
You know how you can infuse a watermelon with vodka? Well, you can infuse vodka (or tequila or...) with watermelon for the ultimate summery cocktails. Melontini, anyone?

Read More >

Ten Ways to Put Up Tomatoes

Got tomatoes? Here's a rundown of ways to put up your maters, from basic canned tomatoes to salsa, ketchup and more. 

Canning Tomatoes, found on PunkDomestics.com
Canning Tomatoes
Canning your own tomatoes is a great way to economize, but first you need to know a few things to do it safely. Learn how to put up your 'maters.
Tomato Paste, found on PunkDomestics.com
Tomato Paste
Cook down your puree until thick and rich, and can or freeze to use in sauces. Paste on, friend.

Read More >

Enter Your Craft Foods in the Good Food Awards

Enter your craft foods in the Good Food Awards, found on PunkDomestics.com

Updated for 2014

I imagine few among us have never considered taking our passion for food craft to the next stage. Perhaps you've mastered a certain jam, or have a secret recipe for a killer BBQ sauce, or have even conquered the holy grails of cheese making, home brewing or charcuterie. Would you take it to market? 

It's not for the weak of heart, which is why I'm always so impressed by those that do. It's also why I'm a big fan of the Good Food Awards. In their fourth year now, they seek out the best craft foods in the nation, aiming to put them on a pedestal for the world to see. 

I know some of you in the Punk Domestics community have taken the leap and turned your perfect creations into market-ready goods. And so I hope that each of you will select your finest products and submit them to the Good Food Awards. The entry period is currently open; simply go here to fill out the entry form before August 1. If you're selected, your product will be up for blind tasting in September. 

I am also proud to announce that I will be one of the judges in the Preserves category this year. As noted, the tastings are blind, so I'm afraid I cannot afford any preferential treatment to Punk Domestics community members.

Want to see an example of a cottage food business who's gone on to bring home the gold? Check out my interview with Julia Sforza of Half-Pint Preserves, herself a Punk Domestics contributor, too. Also check out my interview with Dafna Kory of INNA Jam, who also has won.

The winners are announced at a grand gala in San Francisco in January, and a lavish affair it is. I've had the pleasure of attending on the first and third years. It's such a pleasure to see the hard work of these artisans recognized. And it's an even greater pleasure to taste their handicrafts directly. 

Read More >

Seven Ways to Preserve Zucchini

It's summer, and everyone's gardens are overflowing with zucchini. Don't be daunted! Here's a bunch of ways to put up your zukes so can enjoy them well into the colder months.

Pickled Zucchini, found on PunkDomestics.com
Pickled Zucchini
Got zukes? When the garden throws you more summer squash than you can consume, put 'em up in a pickle. Here's a bunch of options. (Image via fish in the water)

Read More >

Use Those Herbs!

Having an herb garden is great, when you need a pinch of this or that. But when the herbs go rangy and begin to bolt, it's time to hack them back and put them by. Here's a few applications for when you need to use your homegrown herbs by the hank.

Pesto found on PunkDomestics.com
Pesto
Basil is the traditional herb here, but use your imagination and make pesto from a wide variety of herbs, like sage, oregano and more. (Image via Hitchhiking to Heaven)
Chimichurri found on PunkDomestics.com
Chimichurri
Parsley, cilantro and garlic make the backbone of this Argentinean sauce, perfect over grilled beef but delicious with almost anything. (Image via Delectable Musings)
Cilantro Chutney found on PunkDomestics.com
Cilantro Chutney
Traditionally used alongside appetizers in Indian food, this refreshing chutney wakes up all kinds of foods. (Image via Cooking in Weschester)
Zhoug found on PunkDomestics.com
Zhoug
A spicy, fiery Israeli condiment made with fresh cilantro, parsley, green chiles and garlic. Sure to become a pantry staple! (Image via Blue Kale Road)

Read More >

Giveaway! Win Custom Jar Labels from Felix Doolittle

When it comes to labeling jars, I am often a minimalist. As in, I neglect to label them. At best, I'll print out some labels (like these bitchin' Punk Domestics labels, for example), but that's dependent on me remembering to buy ink for my seldom-used printer. Read More >

What Are You Smoking?

Fire up the grill and bust out the wood chips. Summer is smokin' hot, and we've got a variety of hot smoking projects for your Smokey Joe. What are you smoking?

DIY Hot Smoker, found on punkdomestics.com
DIY Hot Smoker
You can turn that charcoal grill you probably already have into an effective hot smoker. Here's a few tips. (Image via Well Hung Food)
Bacon, found on punkdomestics.com
Bacon!
Everything is better with bacon, and making your own is surprisingly easy. Go with the traditional, or branch out with variations like French ventreche, Sichuan spiced, or made with wild boar or lamb belly. (Image via Eat Live Travel Write)
Smoked Ham, found on punkdomestics.com
Smoked Ham
Brine up a leg and then smoke it low and slow for a tender, flavorful ham. (Image via And Here We Are...)
Canadian Bacon, found on punkdomestics.com
Canadian Bacon
Or go for the loin to make the classic Canadian bacon, more like ham than its American counterpart.  (Image via Smoke Cure Pickle Brew)

Read More >

We Can Pickle That: Cucumbers!

Summer is on -- time to cue the cukes! Pickling is the way to go for most of us, but we have a few other tricks up our sleeves for cucumbers.

Sour Pickles
Sour Pickles
Our friend lactofermentation gives cucumbers their characteristic tang. This is the deli pickle of your dreams -- but there are a few tricks to perfecting crispy spears. (Image via Tim Vidra)
Half Sours
Half Sours
A slightly less salty brine produces a pickle with a slightly less sour tang. (Image via From Scratch Club)
East Coast New Pickles
East Coast New Pickles
A tradition in the Northeast, these pickles are brined but unfermented, making for a crisp, salty cuke. (Image via Linda Ziedrich)
Dill Pickles
Dill Pickles
Whether fermented or vinegar-brined, dill pickles are dill-icious, and endlessly variable. (Image via Talk of Tomatoes)

Read More >

Keen on Peaches

Peaches -- can there be a more perfect fruit? When these fuzzy friends are in season, you gotta get all over them. How many ways will you put up peaches this year?

Canned Peaches
Canned Peaches
Can up those fruits in syrup and be ready to make a pie that tastes like a summer's day in the dead of winter. Better yet -- make them brandied (oh, yes!) (Image via Little Miss Cruciferous)
Peach Jam
Peach Jam
The sweetness of peaches shines in a sunny orange jam. (Image via Turntable Kitchen)
Peach Preserves
Peach Preserves
Left chunkier, preserves can be used like a jam on morning toast, or becomes a dessert with the simple addition of ice cream. (Image via My Man's Belly)
Peach Jelly
Peach Jelly
Extract the essence of peachness and set it in a jewel-like jelly. (Image via A Box of Stolen Socks)

Read More >

Going Ape for Apricots

Like sunshine trapped in a soft, fuzzy fruit, apricots are the ultimate harbinger of summer. Here's a bushelful of ways to make the most of them.

Canned Apricots
Canned Apricots
Can up those fruits in syrup either light or heavy to have on hand for desserts to come. (Image via Wildcraft Vita)
Apricot Jam
Apricot Jam
Apricot is arguably the easiest jam, as the fruit melts down and creates a set without any added pectin. (Image via Food Fanatic)
Apricot Preserves
Apricot Preserves
Stewed down and chunky, apricot preserves are delicious on desserts, or just eaten by the spoonful. (Image via Girl's Guide to Butter and Guns)
Apricot Jelly
Apricot Jelly
Think beyond the peanut butter on this stuff -- apricot jelly makes an amazing glaze on pies and tarts, as well as savory roast meats like pork or turkey.  (Image via Nest)

Read More >