Punk Domestics's blog

Eight Ways to Preserve Grapes

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. 

Grape Jelly
Grape Jelly
The ultimate taste of childhood, grape jelly captures the essence of the fruit. Stick it to Smucker's and make your own. (While you're at it, make your own peanut butter, too.)
Grape Jam
Grape Jam
Less fussy than jelly, grape jam burst with the juicy flavor of grapes, especially if you have access to wild fruit.

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Eighteen Ways to Preserve Apples

Biting into a fresh, crisp apple is the quintessential taste of autumn itself. But when you are faced with more apples than you can eat out of hand, try some of these tempting ways to put them by for later use.

Applesauce, found on PunkDomestics.com
Easy as can be, you can make applesauce on the stovetop or in the slow cooker, and you don't even have to peel or core them. (Image via Southern Fried Curry)
Apple Jam, found on PunkDomestics.com
Apple Butter
Keep cooking that applesauce down until it takes on a dense, rich texture and deeper color, and you've got apple butter. Again, the slow cooker is great for this. (Image via Eating Rules)

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DIY Condiments for Grilling and Entertaining

Summer grilling is great, but burgers and dogs are only as good as the condiments that dress them up. Step away from the packaged varieties and try your hand at DIY condiments to make haute dogs and hamburgers.

Ketchup, found on PunkDomestics.com
Heinz, schmeinz. Homemade ketchup is easy and delicious, and is open to a world of interpretation. Why stop at tomato? We've got recipes for ketchups made from cranberries, rose hips, figs and more.

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12 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.

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Interview with David Asher of The Art of Natural Cheesemaking (Plus a Giveaway!)

The Broad Fork by Hugh Acheson: Review and Giveaway, found on PunkDomestics.com

Ever since Sandor Katz published Wild Fermentation in 2003, the interest in fermented foods has been ever on the rise. Many among us keep a crock of kraut or kimchi going at any given time, and kombucha is definitely having its day.  Surprising, then, that until now there's been little discussion around looking back at natural fermentation methods for making cheese.

Enter David Asher. A farmer turned "dairy revolutionary," Asher started the Black Sheep School of Cheesemaking, and now has a new book out, The Art of Natural Cheesemaking. I was able to catch up with Asher at the Point Reyes Station farmers market on a brilliant August day before he was set to present a demo. 

PD: How did you get involved in natural cheesemaking?
DA: I was fermenting all kinds of things in my home, making sourdough bread, fermenting krauts. I was making cheese, too, but I couldn't find information on how to make cheese more natural. I knew from reading the cheesemaking guidebooks out there that you need to buy packaged cultures in order to bring about the different changes in cheese. You introduce a certain culture to get a certain cheese; you introduce a certain fungus to get a certain rind. These are all packaged cultures people buy from cheesemaking supply shops. I knew inherently that you don't need to buy a fungus to make a camembert. I knew that cheesemakers traditionally did things differently before the days of freeze-dried cultures and monoculture strains of starters. But there was no information on how to do that. And so I set out on a journey to discover that using the principles of wild fermentation as inspiration, and experimenting with raw milk and kefir to see if I could create the conditions to allow cheese to develop traditionally. 

PD: For the novice cheesemaker who's interested in getting involved with natural cheesemaking, what's the best place to start? 
DA: I would recommend getting started with a kefir culture. Kefir is like a sourdough culture you keep at home, kind of like a pet. I call it my little cheesmaking pet. I keep it at home by feeding it milk, and it feeds me back kefir. A very basic cheesemaking step is culturing the milk, making this delicious fermented dairy product. If you're interested in making something more complex, you can use that kefir as a starter culture for other cheeses. It serves as a sort of gateway cheese. It's sure to entice you to move on to more things. 

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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
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
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
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)

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9 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 Butter found on PunkDomestics.com
Watermelon Butter
Thick and delicious watermelon butter is sort of like apple butter, only melon!
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?

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Respect Your Elderflowers

Sweetly aromatic heads of elderflowers are cropping up all over. Capture their springlike essence while you can with these DIY elderflower projects.

Elderflower Liqueur
Elderflower Liqueur
St. Germain sure does come in a pretty bottle, but you can make your own for a fraction the cost. DIY St. Germain FTW! (Image via Well Hung Food)

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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)

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