A documentation of my preservation and preparation of local foods as I work through the seasons. This will serve as a reference tool for me in the future and as a sharing guide for family and friends...and anyone else interested. Hopefully, I can offer some useful methods, tips and recipes to share with everyone--be they novice or pro--and encourage them to join me in the exciting world of preserving and cooking with local foods.

Thursday, August 25, 2016



Kefir – a ferment that colonizes your gut with good bacteria

Method:  Add grains and ¼ cup sugar to one quart of unchlorinated water in glass mason jar.  Screw lid on.  Place where temp is from 68-78 degrees for 24 hours.  Store in fridge one year. 

Flavored Kefir:  Second culturing increases nutrient content of kefir.

Milk or water kefir can be flavored with fruit, juice, spices.  Add directly and place back in fridge; or, for added nutrients, let sit out overnight for a second ferment.


Kombucha – combines with toxins in body and changes them for easy elimination

Put 3 quarts of non-chlorinated water to boil on stove.  When water is hot, add one cup of sugar and stir to dissolve.  Heat water to boiling.  Add 4-5 teabags and allow to steep until mixture cools completely.  Remove teabags and put tea in gallon glass jar.  Add the SCOBY and one cup of fermented kombucha from a previous batch.  Cover top of jar with coffee filter secured by a rubber band.  Put in dark and warm place (68-78 degrees) to ferment.  Check after 10 days, it should taste a bit tart with little or no remaining sweetness from the sugar.  Remove SCOBY to a new jar with one cup of fermented kombucha.  Put secure lid on and store on shelf in cupboard.  Place fresh-made kombucha in fridge.


Fermented Veggies

Prepare veggies by washing in cold water, shredding, slicing, chopping or trimming.  Prepare basic brine dissolving 2-3  TB sea salt and 2 tsp. sugar (opt.) per quart of unchlorinated water.   Use lesser amount of salt for thinly-sliced or shredded veggies.  Pack veggies into jar or crock and cover with brine.  Place follower (and weight if necessary) atop so veggies are under brine.  Ferment for 3-7 days, according to recipe.  Check for desired sourness and submerged veggies.

Storage:  Fermented Veggies will keep for 6-24 months in the fridge.


Homemade Vinegar:  Put any fruit scraps in food-safe container, add: 1/4 cup sugar dissolved in one quart unchlorinated water (until fruit is covered).  Can add mother from previous batch to give a good start.  Cover top with cloth to keep fruit flies out.  Let sit one week, strain and place cloth atop and let sit 3 more weeks, bottle and store in dark.  Use for salads, dressings & cooking.


Bread from Poolish

To poolish add:  12 oz liquid (ale, brine or other non-dairy), 3 cups flour (can add ½ cup of any other flour esp. if adding egg), ¼-1 tsp yeast, 1-1/2 tsp salt, 1 egg

Method - Mix well and remove approx. ¾ cup for future recipe (dough will be soft/sticky), Put in greased pan, oil top & put cloth atop., Let sit at room temp.,  After 8+ hours, put in 350 preheated oven and bake 30-45 min.



Up to One Month

Broccoli (2 weeks), Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower  (3 wks), Melons (2-3 weeks)

One-Two Months


Two-Four Months

Cabbage(s), Kohlrabi, Parsnips, Pears, Rutabagas, Sweet Potatoes, Turnips

Four-Six Months

Apples, Beets, Carrots, Chili Peppers, Garlic, Horseradish, Leeks, Onions, Potatoes, Squash

Short-term Kitchen Storage

Store these in a cool area (a little less than room temp), away from bright light: Onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, rutabaga, winter squash.

Store in a closed plastic bag or crisper in the refrigerator:  Asparagus, beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, greens, leeks, parsnips, peas if shelled, peppers, radishes, scallions, turnip, zucchini

Store at room temperature:  tomatoes

Three environments will accommodate a wide variety of veggies/fruits:

(1)  Very cold/Near freezing (35-40 F), damp (80+ humidity) and dark. 

Beets, Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, horseradish, kohlrabi,       leeks, parsley, potatoes, rutabagas, turnips, pears and apples  (see “Apples” note  below)

(2)  Cool (35-50) and dry (60-70% humidity) and dark 

This environment can be achieved by putting produce in a paper bag in a cold closet or a dry cold basement room or an insulated dry garage. 

            Garlic, onion

(3)  Mild (45-65) and dry  (60-79% humidity)

A little below room temp.  Kitchen closet or shelf adjacent to an outside wall.  Put on shelves not-touching each other.

            Squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, chili peppers


Apples: Apples should be stored separately as they will cause other produce to spoil sooner.


Very Cold Environments:  an unheated garage, entryway, basement room, window well or stairwell; an insulated box buried and covered with straw; an unused refrigerator buried on its side with vent pipe (latches removed);  a hole lined with hay bales and holding lidded food-service buckets;  an above-ground box surrounded and covered with hay bales.  Visits and food checks can be limited to once per week. 

Note:  If veggies or fruit freeze, they can be used in cooking (soups, stews, casseroles).

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


My Norwegian heritage makes this a traditional dessert for holidays.  It's actually a porridge and can be enjoyed for breakfast or as a first course for a hearty Winter meal.  It's always a treat prepared in any manner.
With butter and cinnamon sugar atop--
mmmm--so comforting!
2 sticks butter
3/4 cup flour
Melt butter in large pan. Mix in flour and cook until bubbly. Stir constantly.

In another container heat 1 quart whole milk and 1 cup 1/2 & 1/2. Bring to a boil and gradually add to above mixture. Cook until thick. Add 3/4 cup sugar and cook and stir a bit longer.
Serve with sugar, cinnamon and butter
Hint:  Start the milk mixture first since that takes longer to come to a boil.

Sprouting Seeds

Sprouting seeds and grains increases their vitamin and carotene content.  It activates helpful enzymes, neutralizes enzyme inhibitors and inactivates carcinogens.  They are an excellent aid to digestion.  Most any organic seeds or grains can be sprouted and they can be used in a variety of ways--atop salads, sandwiches and vegetable dishes;  in soups, stews and casseroles; and added to breads and baked goods.  They should be eaten both raw and lightly steamed; overconsumption of raw sprouts can irritate the stomach.  Sprouting is simple:  Put grains in a mason jar with a screen for the top.  Add filtered water and soak the grains overnight.  Continue to rinse and drain the grains by setting the jar at an angle so water leaks out and air can circulate.  The grains should be kept moist, not soaking in water.  They will begin to sprout in 3-4 days.  Continue rinsing and draining until they reach their desired height for you.  Store them in the fridge.
 Rinsing a "cornucopia" of seeds

Monday, March 18, 2013

My Food Bible

I was gifted this book over ten years ago by one of my organic farmers, Diane Leonhardt of Natures Little Farms.  It is Nourishing Traditions  by Sally Fallon.  I have since kept it handy, used it as my main resource for nutrition and tried many of the food processes and recipes in it.  Lately, I have revisited this book to read it cover-to-cover as a refresher course.  I am so glad to rediscover what a treasure trove this book is for a healthy lifestyle.  I have recommitted myself to the ingredients and methods she describes.  (My more-recent blogs are an indication.)  I recommend this book for anyone striving for excellent health.  At the very least, your health will greatly improve by eliminating the refined-foods we have become accustomed to in our diets, and following her advice. 
I never tire of reading the tips and tales she offers in the
page margins  They provide endless "aha" moments! 


I've always been aware that sugar is bad, but my sweet tooth has kept me blissfully ignorant of just how bad refined sugar is for our bodies.  Here is a partial list of the diseases and conditions that medical journals blame on sugar: heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, diabetes, hyperactivity, coffee and tobacco cravings, behavioral problems, violent tendencies, poor concentration, obesity, tooth decay, and more! 
Admittedly, many of my recipes on this blog include refined sugar.  For my part, I plan to relegate those recipes to the "special event's only" menu.  I will experiment by replacing the sugar in them with honey or maple syrup.  Not all recipes will work, but I'm looking forward to improved health and stamina without a daily dose of sugar lurking in my diet.
My replacements

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Healthy Beverages

I've discovered three very healthy beverages.  They all have sort of a tart-like, refreshing taste and are sooooo good for you!

Beet Kvass   This drink is loaded with nutrients, is a blood tonic, aids digestion, cleanses the liver, gives regularity, treats kidney stones               
Put 3 medium or 2 large chopped up, peeled, organic beets in a 2-quart container.  Add 1/4 cup whey and 1 Tablespoon sea salt.  Cover securely, then fill to top with filtered water.  Keep at room temp for 2 days, then transfer to fridge.  When most is drunk, you can fill again with filtered water and set at room temp for 2 days.  Then refrigerate and drink.  Discard after this and start over.

Kambucha  This drink aids the body's natural cleansing process, boosts the immune system and is a proven prophylactic against cancer and other degenerative diseases.  It is delicious and refreshing on a hot day.

3 quarts filtered water
1 cup sugar
4 organic black tea bags
1/2 cup kombucha (health food store or online)
1 kombucha mushroom (GEM cultures)
Bring water to boil.  Add sugar, salt and simmer until dissolved.  Remove from heat, add tea bags and steep until cool.  Remove tea bags and add 1/2 cup kombucha.  Put mushroom on top.  Cover with light towel and leave at room temp for 8 days.  Remove mushroom and store in refrigerator.  (Save 1/2 cup of liquid and mushroom for another batch.)

Kefir  This drink is a natural antibiotic with beneficial yeast.

2 cups whole milk, non-homogenized
1/2 cup cream
1 Tablespoon kefir grains or one package powdered kefir
  (GEM cultures or www.cheesemaking.com)
Combine milk and cream and bring to room temperature.  Add kefir, stir well, cover with light cloth and let sit at room temp overnight.  Strain kefir if using grains.  Store in refrigerator.  If re-using grains, rinse and store in refrigerator for several weeks or freezer for several months.