Sweet and honeyed figs are the embodiment of the transition from summer to fall. While we have no difficulty eating more than our share straight out of hand, here's a few options in case your tree is producing like gangbusters.
Hot stuff, coming through! Chile peppers are summer's heat incarnate. From hot sauce to pickled peppers to a hot-sweet jelly, here's six ways to capture capsaicin's lightning in a bottle.
When summer's bounty is at its peak, the sheer volume of canning can begin to feel like drudgery. (Even the best-intentioned planning tends to go awry.) But remember: The hard work you put in now pays of many-fold in the months to come.
We're big entertainers in the Punk Domestics household, and one of our greatest joys is cracking open jars of home-canned goodness when throwing dinner parties around the holidays, or anytime.
If you're going to be laying out your house pickles, chutneys and jams, I recommend you make a trip to your local thrift store and find a relish tray or two. They're a handy way to serve up multiple things for easy nibbling. We've been collecting a mid-century pattern of dishes called Black Cockerel from Mancioli, but find one that suits your style. They've falled out of fashion, so they tend to be pretty cheap.
At one of our parties, here's what graced our relish tray, served with bread or crackers:
Peaches! (The stone fruit, not the raunchy singer.) When the trees bear fruit, it's a deluge of juicy sweet goodness. Here's a bunch of ways to put up the bounty.
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.
Once again it's Three Things Thursday, where I highlight three things that ran on the site recently that inspired, intrigued or impressed me. Sticking with this week's zucchini theme, here's this week's picks:
Veraison is upon us, which means the grapes are coming into season. Here's eight ways to preserve grapes, from the traditional jelly to chutney, raisins and more.
Once again it's Three Things Thursday, where I highlight three things that ran on the site recently that inspired, intrigued or impressed me. Sticking with this week's grape theme, here's this week's picks:
Got tomatoes? Here's a rundown of ways to put up your maters, from basic canned tomatoes to salsa, ketchup and more.
Shakirah Simley is the Community Coordinator at Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco, a sponsor and participant in the Good Food Awards. She took a few minutes out of her very, very busy schedule to talk about the path from her first fresh apricot through launching a food craft business, and on to one of San Francisco's most esteemed community businesses. Thanks to her jammy and community work at Bi-Rite, she was just named one of Zagat’s 30 under 30.
Have you turned your food craft hobby into a business? The submission window is open now through July 31 for the Good Food Awards.
You've had quite a journey, in your own words "a Harlem-raised girl who didn't taste a fresh apricot until her first visit to the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market." What was the spark of inspiration to begin making preserves?
First, it was just exposure, going to the ferry building, seeing fruits and vegetables I'd never seen before, things that were just not my background. It blew me away! The other part is that everyone had backyard fruit that was going to waste. In terms of food justice and food access, it's a shame that food goes to waste, so wanted to know how to turn that into value added products, especially in areas that could be so-called food deserts. The environment in the bay area is ripe for that. There were not many others in the market at the time who were bringing a different conversation to artisanal food production. So I set out to teach myself, and I spent tons of hours in research. When I finally started producing jams, people were all, "did you make this?" Yes, I really made this.
Prior to your current position, you had a small jam startup called Slow Jams. When did you decide to make the leap to make jam commercially?
My inspiration was drawn from the bounty of available produce in the Bay Area, but also imagining an equitable system where we've reclaimed our food knowledge and traditions. Not wanting to half-ass it, I enrolled in a business planning course through Women's Initiative for Self-Employment and was accepted into La Cocina's Incubator program. During this process, I went from my home kitchen to producing at my first shared commercial kitchen space(La Cocina), from selling to friends to selling at Bi-Rite, online, at events, and a few retail contracts. By putting myself out there as much as possible and leveraging my networks, my business, brand and story was able to gain a lot of momentum. And exposure - from being on Grist.org, to FoodCrafters with Aida Mollenkamp to the Katie Couric show more recently.
What was involved in going commercial with your jam? What were the pitfalls?
Making the jump to a commercial kitchen was terrifying, but after a few failed "sets", burns and tears and curse words, I finally got my recipes to scale. Understanding how to produce artisanal-quality food on a larger scale is the key in all of this and having the determination, patience and pure hustle to do so is another. If you're an excellent preserver and you're ready to make the jump –awesome. But keeping up with customer demand, understanding the wild world of retail, identifying opportunities for expansion that will actually pay your bills, and being consistent in your product are some of bigger hurdles. Lastly, I think the CA Cottage Food Laws will definitely help ease more preservers into the market, but ability to scale will determine who makes it and…who doesn't.Read More >