One of the earliest foraged foods of spring, stinging nettles are cropping up in forests and alongside streams all over. These prickly plants require a little special handling (they're called stinging nettles for a reason, after all), but once their formic acid-laden hairs have been tamed, nettles are quite delicious, and remarkably nutritious, making them one of the best foraged foods around.
Even if you're still buried in snow, it's a good time to start planning ahead on your garden so you can hit the ground running, er, digging when the spring thaw comes.
If you're like me, and I know I am, you occasionally get a little, well, bored with the same old jars. Ball jars can be a bit twee and over decorated, though they certainly are ubiquitous and convenient. I love the look of Weck jars, but don't find them terribly practical for actual canning.
There's a new jar in town: Orchard Road. These sleek, smooth-sided jars are interchangeable with your workday Balls, but with a slightly more modern profile. Read my full review over on About.com to learn their pros and cons. (Spoiler alert: Mostly pros.)
The good folks at Fillmore Container have graciously provided me a bunch of these jars to play with, but they're not stopping there. You, yes you, can win some of these jars and lids for your very own, as well as an additional 50 smackers to spend on whatever your heart desires at Fillmore Container. And they have a lot of cool stuff.
You want it, don't you? Of course you do. So how do you enter to win? We've got options -- lots of options. You can do any or all of the following things:
Cabbage is your friend! Whether you're working with the Western globes in green or red, or crisp heads of napa cabbage, a little salt, time and patience can turn it into a traditional condiment with a global footprint. From tangy sauerkraut to spicy kimchi and beyond, here's a few ways to make the most of this ubiqutous veg.
Jewels from the ground, beets delight with their earthy sweetness. Whether you like ruby red, golden, or candy-stripe Chioggia, here's a bunch of ways to put up these gemlike roots.
Citrus is in, and nothing captures the essence of these sunny fruits like marmalade, whether you're making the classic orange or dabbling in other citrus.
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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links that I may derive revenue from. The author provided me a complimentary copy of the book for review.
As I noted, 2014 was an extraordinary year for DIY food books, with volumes that took the genre to new heights. Each takes its corner, in some cases combining preserving with everyday cookery, as in Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry and Blue Chair Cooks with Jam and Marmalade. Others find niches, as with Asian Pickles. Leda Meredith goes deep down the preserving rabbithole with the aptly named Preserving Everything: Can, Culture, Pickle, Freeze, Ferment, Dehydrate, Salt, Smoke, and Store Fruits, Vegetables, Meat, Milk, and More (Countryman Know How).
The title is brazen, to be sure, and Meredith cops to that right off the top. Without question, this book will not specifically hold your hand and walk you through the hows and whys of preserving each and every specific thing, but by plainly outlying the principles and techniques of preservation, she will leave you empowered with the knowledge you need to take on, well, everything.
Funny to say, delicious to preserve. Kumquats pack a potent punch of citric tartness in a tiny package. Unlike their cousins, kumquats invert the paradigm, with mild rinds and sour-bitter pulp. They add a distinctive flavor to all kinds of preserves, like these.