Thursday, October 29, 2009

Preserving the Harvest - Canning Workshop!

Last week, Sarah Garlington taught us the basics of water bath canning in Myles Kitchen. In water bath canning (which is not the same as fermentation), the contents need to be acidic- naturally or by the addition of vinegar. This method can be used to process fruits, pickles, relishes, and jams and jellies, preserving them for year(s)!
Slow Foodies participated in all steps of the process, including preparation of the food (produce to be canned should be firm), preparing the brine, and sterilizing the jars.

Our Recipe: Pickled Green Beans
Produces 6 half pints

  • 2 1/2 pounds fresh green beans
  • 2 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 bunch fresh dill weed (or dried)
  • 3/4 teaspoon fresh peppers (or cayenne)
  1. Trim the green bean ends.
  2. Chop the garlic, dill, and peppers.
  3. Bring the vinegar, water, and salt to a boil.
  4. Divide the spices up into each jar equally.
  5. Fit as many green beans in each jar as you can.
  6. Pour over the hot liquid.
  7. Seal the jars.
Recipe courtesy of Sarah Garlington

Preparing the jars for the beans. "We're going to take a spoonful of the pepper garlic mix and then a spoonful of the dill and we're just going to spread it out throughout the jars."

Using the big boilers. Jars should be placed on a rack, steamer, or something similar in the pot, because of the high heat of the stove. "It's just a matter of the jars not touching the bottom of the pot and not touching each other. Um, so anything that you can figure out."

Several of the jars were processed at the demo, and individuals were each able to take a jar to take home to process on their own. Ready to start pickling? Read Sarah's post on the Persian pickle Torshi on the Boston Localvores' blog, and learn more about water bath canning from the Virginia Cooperative Extension.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Check out our new bog, I mean blog post: Slow Food BU goes cranberry bogging!

Look its us in an old Ocean Spray Truck!

On Saturday, we got a crew gathered for Slow Food BU and zipped down to the Cape to go to a Cranberry festival and check out some bogs!

Did you know that the cranberry is one of three fruits that are native to North America? Along with the blueberry and concord grape, cranberries were first used Native Americans, as food, dye and for its healing properities. New England is a major site of cranberry production and some of the plants the grow today have been around for more that 150 years!

Our first stop was the Cranberry Harvest Festival Of course there were cranberries galore!

Lots and Lots of Vendors with assorted homecrafts

we drove down to the actual farm-Flax Pond Farm.

Jake and Dot have owned this farm since the 60s. It is not organic, but Jack says he limits the amounts of pesticide they spray because 1) its ridiculously expensive and 2) he has grandchildren running around the farm all the time.

Flax Pond is a dry bog-which means they never flood it to harvest. Berries from dry bogs are what you'll find fresh or frozen, where the berries remain intact. Wet bogging can squash the little berries so they turn into processed sauces, juice or dried snacks.

Jack with the berry picker! 

Ocean spray sells the berries for them-dividing up profits amoungst their co-op of growers

This Man was Like the Encyclopedia of Cranberries

Video to come soon!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

SFBU Makes BU Today

Check us out in BU Today!
Edward Brown edited a great video
of our Knife Skills Demo with Kenji Alt
Watch it Here!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Slice/Dice Highlights from the Demo

Last week Kenji Alt told SFBU everything we ever wanted to know about kitchen knives. From sharpening on the stone, to making "the claw" with your left hand to protect your fingers and guide the cut, we're a little more skilled now in the slice and dice department. Practice makes perfect, so check it out- short videos to jog your memory:

The picture of efficiency, Japanese knives for chopping.

"Regular julienne is probably 1/8 inch to 1/16 inch or so, so you wanna try and cut it into straight planks like that, um and again you always use your left hand to guide the blade. And once you get about 4 or 5 slices, we'll go to the next step."

"Trim off a quarter inch and put it aside, and then we're just gonna cut them into 1/8 inch to 1/16 inch little sticks, and thats called a julienne."

"And if you were really serious about this, I mean, if you wanted a really sharpened blade you would do this for about 20 minutes or so."

Bottom line: Knowing how to cut precisely and in uniform pieces allows food to cook more evenly and ultimately, you have a better result. Looking like a pro and impressing your friends is also a plus. Find more photos from the demo here and check out Kenji's blog, Thanks to the Myles basement kitchen crew for letting us use their space, Kenji for an awesome and informative demo, and everyone that came out to participate!