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).