Celeste Fig Jam (Raw + Sugar-Free)

Eat Well Edibles Grow Well Recipe

“Fall [is] the time when everything bursts with its last beauty,

as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.” 

— Lauren DeStefano

Our southern autumns may not be as beautifully striking as those we grew up with in Wisconsin, but the upshot is an extended growing season that keeps the kitchen well-stocked with freshness. It presents the best kind of dilemma: how to preserve the harvests before they fade.

Figs in Basket_2014

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The Simplest Blueberry Jam

Eat Well Edibles Grow Well Recipe

For a while the blueberry tap flowed freely and gloriously. Combining those snatched from the mockingbirds’ clutches at home with the buckets of monster u-pick berries gave me twenty or so pounds to kick around in the kitchen.

They provided juicy sweet additions to green salads and smoothies with ginger. Others lightly warmed in multi-grain breakfast porridge, or bathed in yogurt for a cool afternoon snack. To preserve the taste of summer for chilly winter months ahead the final few found homes in the freezer (see my tips on successfully freezing fruit), and in the simplest two-ingredient blueberry jam (see recipe below).

Blueberries on tray_HGN

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Socca (Besan/Chickpea) Flatbread

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

Mentions of socca, the savory besan flour flatbread, are lovingly sprinkled about the pages of this blog. Each reference with a footnote from yours truly promising that a recipe post is on the horizon. It’s time I make good.

Socca Progression_HGN Continue reading

Caraway Sauerkraut

Eat Well Recipe

Sauerkraut is one of the simplest preserved foods, made by curing shredded cabbage with salt in a crock or jar. The drained liquid — drawn out of the cabbage by the salt through the process of osmosis — becomes the kraut’s flavorful, self-preserving brine. But there’s another process at work here, and it involves wee beasties. Bacteria.

Let’s set the record straight: Bacteria aren’t all bad. Several types of these microorganisms are very bad indeed, but others are beneficial, and necessary, to the processing of many foods. Take Lactobacillus. This bacteria is crucial to the creation of everything from pickles, yogurt and miso, to kimchi, sourdough and sauerkraut. Wine and beer? Those, too!

In the case of kraut, Lactobacillus converts the natural sugars found in cabbage to lactic acid through a process called lactic acid fermentation, or lacto-fermentation for short. This conversion ultimately imparts the appealingly acidic flavor we associate with sauerkraut. Furthermore, lactic acid is a natural preservative that prevents growth of more harmful bacteria — particularly important historically when fresh ingredients were scarce and refrigeration was a thing of the future.

Through the years the art of preservation persisted, more to satisfy our tastes than as a means of nourishment during the lean winter months. Though popularity has come in spurts and stops, sauerkraut and other fermented foods once again have a strong pulse. Encouraged by my German heritage, it felt about time to try my hand at homemade sauerkraut.

Cabbage head_HGN

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