Mama Gone Green is a blog dedicated to raising happy children and reducing our impact on the Earth. My name is Taryn and I am the mother of 2 young kids and an environmental studies instructor at a community college in Portland, Oregon. Please join me as I journey through life as a mama, teacher, knitter, photographer, gardener, and environmentalist!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

In The Kitchen...

I have been busy in the kitchen as of late. We have had a hectic summer, with many days away from home, and so the intermittent, regular, food preservation that normally happens has been happening in fits and spurts. Here is what we have been up to recently:


Here is my pickle recipe, which tends to evolve each summer:

Fill canning jar full of pickles. Add peppercorns, mustard seeds, fresh dill, a wee bit of salt (1/2 tsp),  1-2 peeled garlic cloves, and a couple of grape leaves (to help them stay crispy). I usually add some red pepper flakes to a jar or two, as I like them spicy. I then boil some white vinegar, and pour into jars about 3/4 full. I fill the remaining 1/4 of the jar with filtered water. Put the lids on, shake, refrigerate, and wait a few days. I think your are supposed to eat them within about 4 weeks, but I don't have any confirmed information on that.

Plum Chutney. This year I decided not to can our chutney... I was only planning on making a half dozen small jars, and thought that freezing them would be easier. Plus, that way I was able to add a red pepper and an anaheim pepper to liven up the flavor. I used my old stand-by recipe, and added the pepper to the mix (I sauteed them initially with the onions). After cooking, I poured into jars, put the lids on, and let cool a bit. Then I just put then in our freezer to enjoy throughout the fall and winter. If you are going to make freezer chutney, make sure you leave space in your jar for the chutney to expand once it freezes-- you don't want any broken jars!

Fruit Leather. Last year I made some plum-blackberry leather and it was super sour. But, we have a yellow plum tree and a blackberry bush with an abundance of fruit, so when the kids asked for fruit leather, I did the same combo. However, I tweaked it just a bit this year, and it is much better. I blanched a couple of bowls of plums, and when cool I removed the skins and pits. This is a super messy process, and I feel like I waste a lot of the plum, but it is necessary. Last year I left the skins on, which I think was a big factor in the extreme sour. Once you have your plum "meat", throw in a bunch of blackberries. The amounts are not really important in my mind... just use what you have. I then added maybe 3 tablespoons of honey and a little cinnamon. I pureed it all, and put it in the dehydrator for about a day at 325-degrees. It is still sour, but we are all happy with the results.

What has been happening in YOUR kitchen?
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  1. Our pickle recipe is about the same and they really are great tasting pickles.

    My kitchen is quiet for the time being, but will get busy again when the fall garden comes in. I really need to can some green beans.

  2. Busy days in your kitchen. We have been canning too...jam, green beans, pickles and beets. The freezer stash is growing with berries, peaches, green beans, kale and pesto. Haven't made fruit leathers yet this year, we usually wait til apple season for that, but maybe when we pick blackberries in the next few weeks I should whip some up, little man will be so happy.

    Hope you are enjoying your weekend.

  3. I always love a great crunchy pickle. These look amazing! :)

  4. I could eat pickles every single day of my life :) You've been so busy!