EAT

Homemade Liqueurs and Infused Spirits

Homemade Liqueurs - LivingHomegrown.com

I don’t do a lot of giveaways on LivingHomegrown. The only time I offer a giveaway of any kind is when I’m really personally excited about something and I just want to share it.

Such is the case with today’s book review and giveaway.

I did not get this book for free (I bought it with my own hard-earned cash birthday money). And after reading it, I loved it so much that I bought a second copy to give away to one lucky winner here. The publisher doesn’t have anything to do with this and I don’t even know the author. I just think the book is that good.

Sounds good right? It is. Keep reading for more…

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 5 Ways to Make Better Food Choices - LivingHomegrown.com

I Used to Think, I Had a Handle on Food:

I grew up understanding where my food came from.

But through my lifetime, the way this country produced food changed dramatically. Going to the local butcher shop as a kid and going to the grocery store today are two completely different things.

As an adult, I read some of the books and watched some of the movies about our current food system.

They were eye openers.

So I started to pay more attention to my food choices (organic, sustainable, local). All the usual stuff.

Then, I just felt overwhelmed.

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The Wonders of Wine Salt

How to Make Wine Salt as Seasoning - via LivingHomegrown.com

Wine Salt

You may not have heard of it before, but this is a very cool product to have on hand.

Wine Salt is a delicious reduction of wine that is mixed with kosher salt and herbs.

The result is a concentrated seasoning that can add a nice depth of flavor to any meat or vegetable dish. When you add it to meat juices, it blends the dehydrated wine into a variation of a reduction sauce.

Whenever I demo it for people, I get a lot of “oohs” and “ahhs”.

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10 Compelling Reasons to Preserve Food

10 Compelling Reasons to Preserve Food - LivingHomegrown.com

Every so often, I get asked this simple question…

“WHY do you preserve food?”

I’m sure never give the standard, stereotypical answer they are expecting.

I may be a lifelong canner, but like most of you who embark on this journey, I also have a broad background that makes me look at canning with a much wider lens.

I may have training in food preservation, but I am also a mother of two teenage boys and I want to leave the world a little bit better for them. And with a background in sustainable horticulture and as a TV producer, I interview environmental rock stars every day.

When a non-canner asks me why I can, I think they expect me to say something about how I am saving food for later.

Of course, that is a big part of it.

But the REAL answer goes much deeper than that.

I have some very passionate reasons for doing what I do and I know most canners share many of these reasons with me.

So today, I decided to jot these reasons down. And as I was writing, I realized it was essentially a Manifesto – a list of intensions when canning.

Perhaps some of your own intensions align with mine or maybe my list will spark new reasons for you to continue to put up food every year.

I’m sure you will have a few more to add to the list. (Please tell me in the comments!)

Below, I thought I would share my list of intensions with you.

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How to Make Jam Cocktails

How to Make a Peach Jam Cocktail from LivingHomegrown.com

Jamtinis!

If you have ever been to one of my canning demonstrations, you know that I always like to demonstrate my signature drink - The Jamtini. It is a delicious martini made with homemade jam, vodka and fruit juice.

Jamtinis are easily personalized by changing up the jam or fruit juice used and they are a simple, yet elegant way to use up your homemade preserves.

Last year, I created a “How-to Make a Jamtini” video for our PBS show, Growing A Greener World and it was big hit. Lot’s of people came up with their own versions from their own pantry. Fun stuff! (The video is below)

Well today, I want to share a new version of my jamtini made with low-sugar peach jam!

I made this peach version because I am finally hitting the end of last year’s amazing peach jam reserves and I really love how the tree-ripened flavor of the peaches shines though.

You can follow the jamtini recipe below exactly or you can substitute your own jam flavor and it is still fantastic. I even have a jamtini infographic to help you along.

But wait – There’s more!

I also felt this was the perfect time to include a giveaway and I have something special for you!

You see, when I make my jamtinis, I use my favorite martini shaker made from a canning jar. (You can see it in action in the video.) Every time I demonstrate this shaker, people want it. You can always buy one here. But I think it is much better to win one for FREE! So to get this party started, I bought an extra one from Mason Shaker to give away to one lucky reader.

Scroll to the end of the post for full instructions on how to enter. It’s easy!

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Three Lemony Ways to Infuse Vodka

Infusing Vodka w/lemon & herbs

“When life gives you organic lemons, make infused vodka!”

Oh Baby!

It’s fast and it’s easy. Infused vodka makes killer martinis or takes a simple vodka tonic to a whole new level. In fact, the cocktail possibilities are endless! Here are three yummy combos that I’m making right now… [click to continue…]

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Creating Incredible Sauces with JAM

Making sauce with JamUsing Jam as Sauce:

Okay – I know what you are thinking…Why would I condone slathering refined sugar on a perfectly good meal?

Well first of all – most of my jams and jellies are LOW SUGAR. So I am really talking about slathering a meal with seasonal fruit flavor and natural fruit sugars.

But more importantly, just think about how well cranberry sauce spruces up a slice of turkey and you understand how sweet, sour and savory can all play well together on the dinner plate. I’m telling you, a scoop of jam from the bottom of the jar can take ordinary meals to a whole new level of yumminess. And the best part? It is easy!

Here are two techniques that you can use to get your “jam on” when it comes to meat dishes.

And if you are vegetarian, well…jam can still be used in a ton of ways for you too. Try peach jam on a grilled veggie sandwich or plum jam in a stir-fry and there is the whole salad dressing thing. The idea here is to think of what fruits mesh well with a particular food flavor and then getting creative with that.

And one more thing before we start:

If you give your jam as gifts, be sure to share different ways your friends can use the leftovers from that jam. Most people don’t think past the toast angle and honestly, there are SO many other possibilities. It is all about the flavor and how best to harness it. So let’s get crack’n!

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Salad Dressing with Leftover jam

I make a lot of jam each year. I mean A LOT! With all the fruit growing at my small homestead and my family’s 18-acre farmstead, I have no choice. But you might be surprised to know that I am not much of a “jam and toast” type of gal. Although I do enjoy jam with cheese and wine (Tee Hee), I actually use much of my jam and jelly as a flavor enhancer in things like salad dressing, sauce, jam cocktails, glaze or in desserts, etc.

Homegrown preserves can add zing to just about anything! So at this time of year, I am on a mission to use up the last of my jars before I’m hit with new fruit to be preserved.

Do you have some leftover jam or jelly right now?

A few days ago, I posted on a cool blender-canning jar trick for mixing up salad dressing (or smoothies) and gave a link for Jam’n Salad Dressing. But I had a few more tried and true jam salad dressings that I thought I would share.

Oh, and here’s the best part: You can change out the jam or marmalade in the recipes below for a different type of jam, jelly, marmalade or whatever fruit preserve you have on hand. That is the beauty of these recipes. Switch it all up however you like and make it your own. I swear they all work beautifully!

And yes, you can also substitute store-bought jam/jelly in these recipes. But why would you want to do THAT??

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Steal This Canning Jar Trick and Share It!

Cool Blender Trick with a Canning JarI’m on a mission to use up the last of my previous season’s jams over the next few months. For me, that means a lot more jam salad dressing.

I first posted on this cool blender trick over on my canning blog for Growing A Greener World TV. Below is the 2-minute video demonstrating it. I use this trick for salad dressings and my smoothies too. Use it to amaze your friends…

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Real Food and Chef Nathan Lyon

Slowing Food Down

In a previous post, I talked about Slow Flowers and what that means in terms of living more local, in-season and sustainable with flowers. But as you probably know, the whole concept of “slow” started many years ago with food.

Slow food is just real food eaten fresh, in-season and grown in a sustainable way. And real food is at the heart of what so many of us strive for in our daily lives.

Who better to help us in our quest for good, real food than a chef whose entire career as a celebrity chef is built on the virtues of fresh, in-season produce?

Meet Chef Nathan Lyon

Chef Nathan Lyon

Chef Nathan Lyon worked at farmer’s markets for over a decade before becoming a celebrity chef

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