Quick Pickled Strawberries with Black Pepper and Tarragon

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to host a backyard wedding. You know, a quaint, yet beautiful gathering, where children run barefoot on the grass, and friends and family mingle over generous slices of homemade layer cake.

A reception at home sets the scene for a simplified wedding, where a couple can do away with much of the frills that can (and often do) overtake a event of this nature. Instead it calls for buckets of wildflowers, blush pink raspberry-rhubarb punch, twinkling string lights for when the sun goes down and heaps and heaps of love.

This summer our homestead with be the setting for the wedding reception of a couple most nearest and dearest to us. (Psst, we threw them an engagement party last year.) Danny and I, along with the bride and groom, are thrilled to host this incredibly special event – in our backyard!

So, the big day is coming up in early August and preparations are well under way. Well, pickle-making, at least.

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Lacto-Fermented Pickles Header

Make Old-Fashioned Brine Fermented Pickles Like Your Great Grandmother

I’m standing at the kitchen counter of the cabin my husband built for us when we moved off-grid. It’s over 90 degrees, it’s approaching the lunch hour, and my three children, aged 1 – 6, are getting hungry.

A set of red headed pigtails is at my side while I chop the mid-summer vegetables that need preserving – summer squash, cucumber, and a few green tomatoes that came off the vines too early. They’re all going into a gallon jar of pickles that will contain no vinegar, will never be heated or boiled, and will not see a lick of refrigeration.

These are old-fashioned brined lacto-fermented pickles. It’s a mouthful, in more ways than one, but these are the pickles our great grandmothers made. They keep for months, if prepared properly, I really appreciate the health benefits we enjoy from them, and though I’ve made them for years, I appreciate them even more now that we’re taking a crack at this sustainable off-grid homesteading life.

Oh and they are dead easy to make.

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Preserving Spring: Spicy Pickled Asparagus

pickled asparagus

Written by Marisa of Food in Jars.

When I was a brand new canner, pickled asparagus was one of my very first projects. Asparagus has long been one of my favorite vegetables and so, when it went on sale in mid-spring, I bought several bundles, consulted a multitude of cookbooks and set to work.

I quickly learned that pickling asparagus was a task well worth doing (particularly since commercial versions can cost as much as $12 a jar) and added it to my list of mandatory yearly recipes. I have since made at least 100 jars and every year, I still run out well before asparagus season arrives again.

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Lacto-Fermentation: A Healthier & More Sustainable Way to Preserve

This post was originally published on July 16, 2010. Written by Shannon of Nourishing Days.

In March we ate the last of 5 1/2 gallons of lacto-fermented vegetables. They stored for over six months in our refrigerator and I didn’t boil a single pot of water.

I think everyone should try lacto-fermentation for three reasons:

  1. The product is a living food, full of enzymes and probiotics.
  2. The process is much faster than waterbath or pressure canning.
  3. The process (and storage) can be done with zero energy usage.

A healthier product in less time and with less energy usage? Yes please!

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beet and raisin salad

5 Simple Ways to Feed Baby While Feeding Yourself

The following is a guest post by Stacie of One Hungry Mama. Welcome, Stacie!

Hi. I’m Stacie and I’m one hungry mama. I’m also a recipe developer and family food writer who comes via years as a child development expert in children’s television and, more recently, an organic baby food entrepreneur.

It’s a long story.

Though I’ll spare you the details, let’s just say that the winding road that led me here was lined with a ton of writing, hands-on parenting and more research than you can imagine. Also, it was traveled with other child development experts, nutritionists, pediatricians and even a nutritional anthropologist.

Though I’m still on the move (and expect more twists and turns), I’ve learned one of the best ways to help your children develop healthy eating habits: Forget dumbed-down “kids” food and share healthy, delicious “grown-up” meals with your children.

It’s that easy. No, wait. It’s not always easy. Far from it. But it is that simple. And important.

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