Category Archives: Food Prep and Storage

Harvesting Lemongrass

I have a lovely little greenhouse that provides me with lots of Lemongrass. Below you will find a couple of ways to harvest and make your Lemongrass work for you.

Once I removed and wash my stalks I then cut them in various sizes.

I take half of my harvest and place then in freezer safe baggies with coconut milk.  Since most of my recipes require coconut with lemongrass this is a great way to store lemongrass for later use.

I usually use larger pieces for the freezing then I do drying.

Here you can see the various sizes that I play on baking sheets and place in the oven at 200 for several hours.

I don’t bother separating them I wait until their partially dried to pull the shoots apart.

Here’s what your dried lemongrass will look like.  If you struggle with time management and started to late in the evening just throw your oven on proof temp which is around 100 degrees and bring back up to 200 in the morning to continue process.

The dried lemongrass is perfect of herbal unfused teas.

Spicy Onion and Honeycrisp Relish


2 lbs. sweet onions
1 large Honeycrisp apple
1 c. apple juice
½ c. cider vinegar
3 tsp. fresh, minced garlic
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. ground mustard
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 box Low or No Sugar Needed pectin
½ tsp. butter or oil
1 c. honey
½ raw sugar with 1/2 tsp molasses


Prepare waterbath canner

DSC_0029Cut ends off onions and peel; slice in half and then dice length wise.

Add prepared onions, apple juice, vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, mustard and red pepper flakes to an 8-qt. stockpot.

DSC_0033Gradually stir in pectin and then add butter.Bring to a boil that can’t be stirred down over high heat, stirring constantly.
DSC_0037Add honey ,raw sugar and molasses return to a full boil and let boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.


Remove from heat. Ladle hot marmalade into prepared jars Wipe rims, attach lids, and place in canner.
Place lid on canner and bring boil 15 minutes.


Turn off heat, and remove jars to a towel-lined surface to cool for 24 hours without disturbing.

Canned Salsa Verde


I love canning this and using it for Verde Enchiladas.


1 cookie sheet of tomatillos (make sure husks are removed)
5 Serrano peppers,  you can use Jalapeños too
1 large white onion
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 cup loosely packed finely chopped cilantro
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper


AFTER you have prepared your ingredients place  tomatillos in your oven at 425 degrees for a min of 15 to 20 minutes. You want them charred on top.

DSC_0008TAKE tomatillos out and process in blender with remaining ingredients. This is the time to taste test your salsa and make sure it’s to your liking.  If you want more spice add it.  I sometimes don’t until later incase some people can’t handle my heat:-)

PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside.DSC_0014LADLE hot salsa into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.

PROCESS filled jars in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours.



Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

Candy’s Famous Bread and Butter Pickles

DSC_0021My sister makes the best bread and butter pickles.  I seldom make comments like this, but they are seriously that good.   I’m determined to put up everything coming out of my garden this summer.

Here is the closest variation of her recipe.  I have to say closest as she doesn’t measure and if you turn your back she will throw a few more spices in the pot and giggle. She’s stealthy that way.   She also does ARMY batches so I had to break it down into a more managable ratio.

What you will need

1 Jar Pickling Spices
2 Tablespoons Red Pepper Flakes (if you don’t like it spicy than reduce this)
1 Sweet Onion
4 large Cucumbers
2 Cups Apple Cider Vinegar (NO DO NOT USE REGULAR)
2 cups Raw sugar
Canning Jars and Rims
Oven or pot to sterilize jars


IMG_2959First cut up your cucumbers and onions and toss in a couple tablespoons of salt.

IMG_2960Place cheesecloth on top of pickles and onions and cover with ice.  I threw mine in the fridge to chill while I ran errands.

IMG_2962Place your pickling spice and red pepper flakes in a sauce pot. If you wish to add additional spices like Cinnamon and mustard seed now is the time.

IMG_2963You will add your equal parts of sugar and apple cider vinegar to your pan. You can use regular sugar, I prefer raw sugar.

IMG_2964Place pot on stove and bring to boil.

IMG_2971When you removed your pickles and onions from fridge they will have sweat a great deal.  Drain the liquid off and then place them in our pot with your marinade.

DSC_0019Bring to a boil and allow to sit.  This is where you will want to taste your liquid to make sure it’s spicy enough.

IMG_2973You will want to sterilize your jars and rims. You can process them in a hot water bath or rinse them in hot water and place in 200 degree oven for 10 minutes.

DSC_0021Ladle your pickles into jars and then add juice.  Process in water bath for 20 minutes.

DSC_0027The perfect bread and butter pickles.




Star Wars Popcorn

DSC_0098We recently had a backyard Star Wars movie.  Any child could help make this very simple recipe.

What you will need:

2 bag popped corn
2 cups Honey Graham bears for Ewoks
2 cups of white chocolate melted
1 cup Orange sticklets
1 cup Star Wars cereal shapes


DSC_0083Pop your corn and place in tub.

DSC_0089Pour half of your melted white chocolate  over the corn.

DSC_0097Find a willing participant to add the toppings.

DSC_0098Toss everything and add remaining half of white chocolate.  Spread out on wax paper and allow to dry for min. of 10 minutes.

DSC_0102Place in ziplock bags and seal. I made these about 6 hours prior to the movie and they tasted just fine.


Dehydrated Orange Slices

DSC_0004A couple lifetimes ago I worked for Ron Popeil.  When I worked for him Dehydrators were all the rage. I can honestly say my dehydrator has lasted me over two decades.

Last week one of my neighbors dropped some orange slices by.  I honestly don’t know why I haven’t dried them out prior to this.   I decided to use regular and blood oranges to add some color.

DSC_0057First wash your oranges and then begin to slice them.  I first used our mandolin but felt it was doing more harm than good.  Then I simply started cutting them by hand. You can add spices if you would like.

DSC_0059Next I placed them on the drying racks and walked away for a few hours.  Around hour 4, I rotated my racks.

DSC_0062And continued to dehydrate the oranges.

DSC_0065They took around 10-12 hours.  It will depend on how juicy your oranges are and how thin you slice them. Your house will smell amazing after these have been drying out for a few hours.

DSC_0013You can eat them rind and all,  if you’re ok with the bitter rind.  I actually like orange rinds as they provide a ton of natural fiber.

They really are beautiful and quite helpful when it comes to snacking in the mommy pick-up line.  I also like to hang them in trees when we go on nature hikes for the birds.


Crunchy Croutons

DSC_0095Here is my standard crouton recipe.  I often will take my spare Artisan bread and toss it in the freezer whole.  Then when I know guest are coming I pull the loaf out and cut it up for croutons.  It’s a great way to use that portion of Artisan bread that didn’t get consumed.


4 to 6 cups bread cut up in pieces
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon White Pepper
Can I use other ingredients? YES, of course you can. Sometimes I do pepper flakes or cheese depending on what soup or salad I’m making.


Preheat over to 400 degrees


DSC_0092Toss all ingredients above into your bowl of bread pieces.

DSC_0088Place on Baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.  Checking once during baking process.


Can I Freeze Lemons?

DSC_0059We have a wonderful Meyer Lemon tree that gives us a ton of Lemons in the fall.  A few months back I started freezing my lemons, and I have to tell you I will never have to purchase lemons gain!

All you need to do is wash your lemons and place them in ziploc bags.

Can I freeze other citrus?  Yes, I don’t see why not.


Once they are washed, dried and bagged you simply throw them in your freezer.


Now when you need Lemon, Orange or Lime  they are a breeze to zest.  If you need  juice just allow them to thaw in a bowl of warm water or on your counter if you have time  They will fall out of their outer skin but the juice will be just fine and will not taste different at all.


Fresh Cranberry Sauce eat now or can for later


I love cranberry sauce!  Not the jellied kind you buy at the store, yuck!  I love taking fresh cranberries and simmering them into a beautiful sauce.  Here’s my recipe.

6 Cups fresh bagged cranberries
1 1/2 Cups water
2 Cups Sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
Spices of your choice I used Cinnamon, Cardamom, Cloves, Cayenne and Chipotle Powder
You can also add Orange or Lime zest if you prefer


Throw all ingredients into a pan and simmer. You will start to hear your cranberries popping in the pan, just continue to stir every minute or so.


I simmer mine for around 10 minutes.

Remove from pan and place in freshly sterilized jars and lids.


Water bath for 15 minutes or until all seeds seal.


Now you have ready made gifts for anyone that pops by during this busy holiday season.  Bring on the Turkey sandwiches!



Peach Brandy Jam


I chose AppleJack brandy for this recipe.  If you haven’t heard of AppleJack it is America’s original brandy.  George Washington’s favorite drink of choice and it makes these peaches delicious.

4 to 5 cups peaches
5 1.2  cups raw sugar
Juice of one lemon
Zest of lemon
1/3 cup AppleJack Brandy
Spices to taste Cinnamon, cloves, allspice
1 (3-oz.) package liquid pectin

1. Sterilize jars, and prepare lids as described on below.


2. While jars are sterilizing start blanching your ripe peaches.  You will do this by placing a cross cut on the bottom of your peach and placing it in boiling water for about a minute.


3. One you do this throw your peaches in ice water and the peel comes right off.


4. Dice your peaches and set out your ingredients above.


5. Place peaches, zest, juice and applejack, spices and pectin into a pan and take it to a roaring boil.


6. Now add your sugar all at once and take it to another roaring boil. Make sure your sugar dissolves.


7. Ladle ingredients into your clean jars and water bath for 15 minutes.


8. Remove jars from water, and let stand, undisturbed, at room temperature 24 hours. To check seals, remove the bands, and press down on the center of each lid. If the lid doesn’t move, the jar is sealed. If the lid depresses and pops up again, the jar is not sealed.


Store properly sealed jars in a cool, dark place up to 1 year. Refrigerate after opening.