About This Blog

This blog is meant to cultivate an appreciation for fruits and vegetables as they come from the Earth–and for the land, breeding, and labor that make them good to eat–and to share advice from an old-fashioned cook and gardener about the best ways to use and preserve the produce of our gardens, fields, and orchards.

46 Responses to About This Blog

  1. Deborah says:

    Linda, I made your corn relish this week, but hadn’t noted the errata you’ve posted. I used all 18 ears of corn, and of course, I had too much for the amount of liquid. I filled the jars anyway, used what liquid I had, processed it and stowed the unjarred stuff in the freezer. Is the canned stuff sufficiently low in ph do you think?

    • Deborah, did you measure the volume of the corn kernels? That’s the key figure, since corn ears vary a lot in size. In any case, if the liquid covered the solids in the jars, your relish is probably fine. Stowing the extra solids in the freezer was a wise thing to do.

  2. Deborah says:

    No, that was my mistake. I don’t know what I was thinking. In any event, the kernels appear to be swimming in enough liquid that they move when the jar is rotated swiftly. Thanks; I feel better now.

  3. Antonia M. Stevens says:

    Linda, I live in Texas and have access to olives at a local orchard. I would like to try and brin some but I need the porportions. I would like to start small and put up at least 4 quarts.

  4. Simon says:

    Linda, Im a big fan of your work. Thank you and feel free to check out my website.

  5. Millie says:

    Linda, I got an abundance of plums this year and would like to try your Prune Plum Preserves With Port (Joy of Jams, Jellies… page 274), but I don’t know when to add the port.

    • I’m sorry about that, Millie. This sentence is missing from the first printing: “Add the port, bring the mixture slowly to a boil, and remove the kettle from the heat.” The sentence comes just after “. . . heat them very gently for 5 minutes.”

  6. I’ve been browsing online more than 4 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s
    pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the net will be much more
    useful than ever before.

  7. Jennifer says:

    I can’t believe I did not find your blog until now, but I’m excited I did. I’m looking forward to trying some of your recipes once my garden starts producing this summer!

  8. Marsha says:

    Hi Linda – this question does not really address your blog, but I value your wisdom and advice and don’t know where else to post it and still I hope you can provide me with an answer. I have a bomb sitting in my basement and don’t know what to do with it. Following some advice from several sites on the internet, I decided to use the vinegar brine of some mixed pickles I made to “re-pickle” some cucumbers. I sterilized jars, filled them with vertical slices of washed cucumbers, heated the vinegar brine to boiling, poured it over the cucs in the jars, and covered them with the lids. The lids sealed (all went pop!) and after a day or so to check that all seemed fine, I set them in the basement with everything else. Now I see that the lids on only the “re-pickled” pickles are bowed up. I am afraid to leave them there that they will explode, I am afraid to open them for the same reason! What to do? What went wrong? How to avoid this in the future – should these be only kept in the fridge? Is this a bad procedure to begin with? I would really appreciate your help.

    • I don’t think the jars will explode. Probably the seals were weak. Were the jars and lids hot when you put the cucumbers in? If you’re going to skip the boiling-water bath, it helps to use really hot jars. If the lids truly are bowed, not just loose, you have some kind of biological activity going on, and you don’t want to eat the pickles. If some jars have loose lids but no sign of spoilage, store them in the fridge.

      The problem with reusing vinegar brine is that it’s been watered down by the first batch of vegetables. If the vinegar was undiluted for the first pickling, it’s probably fine to use for a second. But otherwise the brine may be too weak.

      • Marsha says:

        Thank you so much for your reply! I think you’ve hit the nail on the head on both accounts, the jars were probably not hot enough – the cucumbers sat in the jars while I boiled the brine, and the vinegar was not full strength the first time around. Unfortunately, the lids are not loose, but appear to be under pressure so I’m throwing these puppies out. But I’ve learned a lot and I’m sure they will be better the next time – or maybe I’ll just drink the brine next time ;o) I’ve always hated to just throw it out. One thing is certain, this has convinced me to buy your Joy of Pickling book and I’m looking forward to many great recipes in the future. Thank you again!

  9. kathi foisie says:

    Linda: My husband and I use both your Jams and your Pickling books on a regular basis. Thanks especially for the lime-mint freezer pickle recipe and the apple ketchup recipe. Absolutely fabulous! We do all our favorites plus something new each year. Have you ever consider creating a Joy of Soup book with an emphasis on using canned, dried (at home), frozen (at home) vegetables and fruits? After you start putting food by the next challenge is how to use it creatively every day. Such a book from your perspective would be wonderful.

  10. robert collins says:

    linda i am in the process of making your recipe for lower east side full sour dill pickles and i have followed the recipe exactly. i am now seeing alot of white cloudy film forming throughout the whole jar not just on the bottom of jar. my question is this. is this yeast and safe to consume or after the full pickling time should i drain and rinse of pickles and rebrine and the store in frig or just store in frig and rinse pickles off before consuming. thank you bob

    • Bob, the cloudiness is normal; it always occurs with fermented pickles, and it’s caused by bacteria, not yeast. Yeast causes an opaque, white to tan growth at the top of the jar. I rinse pickles before eating only if they are spotted with yeast. If you want to halt fermentation completely, you can drain off and boil the brine, but I don’t recommend adding new brine, because it would not be sour.

      • robert collins says:

        thank yo linda u have been quite helpful and i do like your book on pickling…..do i boil brine for any specific time and i am guessing i let it cool before putting back in jar…sorry a real novice here….bob

  11. Bob, I think that just bringing the brine to a full boil is enough to stop fermentation and kill yeast. I cover the pot to limit evaporation, and, yes, I do let the brine cool before pouring it over the pickles. I also either wash the jar or use a clean one.

  12. Tim W says:

    Hi Linda. It’s walnut time and, having harvested enough to feel OK about letting the rest go to the squirrels, I’m doing your Walnut Ketchup recipe. My question is this; having ground the blackened nuts with the vinegar I have a nice puree but no liquid (it’s been 48 hours in the capped jar). Do I add more vinegar and, if so, what is the consistency I’m aiming for? At this rate there won’t be anything like the yield suggested in the recipe unless some magic happens in the jar before the next step. FYI, I ended up with a 2-quart jar full plus about another pint of ground nuts/vinegar.

  13. Debbie Hosselkus says:

    I bought your book, and today I made your recipe for Pickled Eggplant Cubes. After processing, each jar has about an inch of space at the bottom. The space is filled with vinegar but no eggplant! I packed as much eggplant into the jar as I could before adding the vinegar. What did I do wrong? I was careful to follow the recipe….I thought. Thank you for any advice you can give me on this as I still have a ton of eggplant out in the garden and would like to pickle more!
    Debbie Hosselkus

    • Debbie, I’m sorry to take so long to reply. I checked my jars of pickled eggplant cubes from last year, and none of the cubes are floating. I don’t think I’ve ever had that problem, in fact. Maybe the eggplant variety, or the age of the fruit, is to blame? I use Japanese and similar varieties, and I pick the fruits before they have lost their sheen, when the flesh is still firm and the seeds are undeveloped.

  14. Julie says:

    Dear Linda,
    I am about to purchase your Joy of Pickling book, after having checked it out from my public library three consecutive times (six weeks’ perusal) this summer. I have gone to school on it: thank you! We have wild grape vines everywhere, so thank you especially for the advice to use grape leaves to ensure crispness, because it has worked very well. Thus far I have tried six of your recipes as-is, and fiddled with others as guide, including a gallon fermented batch of mixed veggies, your not-so-sweet bread and butters with some hot pepper, and a gallon of your full sour dills fermenting nearby as I type. They are especially pretty with the Holland whites I tried this summer.

  15. Jessica says:

    Hi Linda – I have a very active kiwiberry bush in my front yard here in Portland. Have you ever developed any recipes for these delicious green fruits?

    • Jessica, by kiwiberry, do you mean the little fruits of the hardy kiwi, Actinidia arguta? I grew hardy kiwi vines for many years, but they never produced more fruits than I could count on one hand, so I wasn’t able to develop recipes for them. But I think that these fruits are, like fuzzy kiwis, rich in pectin and acid, and so they should make excellent jams, both on their own and combined with other fruits. And it would be fun to try making preserves with the whole little kiwi fruits.

      One of these years I might try growing hardy kiwi again. What variety do you have?

  16. Hi Linda, Just made Pickled Whole Hot Peppers (using Santa Fe Grandes in various stages of ripeness). Jammed them into the jars, slit them lengthwise twice as directed, and covered them with the brine (and olive oil).to 1/2 inch head space. I used the 180-185 degree method so there was no boiling. After I took them out, there was a least an inch of uncovered peppers in each jar. The lids are secure, sealed. What did I do wrong, and will they still be ok to eat? Will the peppers be evenly pickled? Thanks, Marybeth PS LOVE your books!

    • Marybeth, I’m sorry to be so slow in responding–I’m still catching up after my trip to Italy. I got a nearly identical question by email shortly before I left. I think the problem is that the peppers, even when slit twice, take a while to fill up with pickling liquid. The solution is to give them a few minutes to do this and then to add a little more liquid, as needed, before putting on the lids and rings. I will add this advice to the next edition of The Joy of Pickling. Your peppers will be perfectly safe to eat, and I think they’ll taste evenly pickled, too.

  17. bikurgurl says:

    What a lovely find! Enjoying paging through 🙂

  18. Barbara Carlson says:

    Linda is it safe to alter the amount of sugar & salt in canning.
    I read it was safe and am questioning it. I have already processed beets with 1/2c less sugar and 1/2 t less salt. This recipe calls for 4 c cider vinegar.

    I have dropped the amt of salt & sugar in recipes for cherry red & green tomatoes.
    My husband had a heart attack few years back and that was my reasoning as good or as wrong as it may turn out..

    • Barbara, it’s safe to reduce or eliminate salt or sugar or both in vinegar pickles, provided you’re including plenty of vinegar in relation to water or other added liquid. If in your pickled-beet pickle the vinegar is the only liquid included, your recipe is perfectly safe.

      • Barbara Carlson says:

        My recipe calls for 5 1/3c vinegar … 4c of water. No other liquid.
        Am I to toss?

        Thx so much for your time.

  19. Cheryl Ott says:

    Hi Linda, I wanted to try your “Pickled Salmon” in “The Joy of Pickling.” After 6 days in the salt (in the refrigerator) I was going to proceed to the next steps of rinsing and soaking the fillet. In your directions you mention that the salt can be saved to pickle another fish; however, my fillet is sitting in a good amount of liquid. There is no dry salt to save for another fish. Is this okay?

    • Cheryl, that seems strange. I end up not with dry salt but damp salt. Did all your salt dissolve? If so, I have to wonder whether you used enough. Did you perhaps substitute coarse salt for the same volume of fine salt?

      • Cheryl Ott says:

        I used Morton Pickling and Canning Salt. I weighed the salt and it did cover the salmon well. Could it be the salmon? I used farm-raised but maybe you used wild salmon (wild always seems drier to me).

      • I have only used wild salmon, which perhaps is drier. It sounds like you followed the recipe exactly, so all should be well.

      • Cheryl Ott says:

        I will try it with wild salmon then. Thank you, Linda!

  20. Cheryl Ott says:

    BTW…All the salt dissolved.

  21. pinenutsspa says:

    Love pickles, hot peppers, and your book (not necessarily in that order). I am making the Green Chile Pickle and am a little confused. It’s not clear whether the peppers should be packed in brine, or just in the salt. Intuitively, I would pack them in a brine. If so, what do I do with the brine when they have become sour and I want to complete the recipe?

    • This Indian recipe is really different, isn’t it? The peppers are dry-salted; the brine here is just to pour into the freezer-bag, to weight the peppers and seal out air. You could instead use a different kind of weight and an airlock. I hope you like the result!

  22. You can pour off the brine before adding the spices. Let me know how this works, OK?

  23. Wendy S says:

    Hi, Linda,
    I bought your Joy of Pickling several weeks ago and have been thoroughly enjoying reading through it cover to cover. At first I was bummed that it was November and the end of the growing season, but it’s probably best or I would have pickled myself to distraction over the summer. So, I’ll start slowly with the vegetables that are still available.

    Two questions: Are the cucumbers sold as mini-cucumbers in grocery stores suitable for pickling? I can’t find out what type they are, but they seem similar to English cucumbers. And, can wild grape leaves. the variety that grow in abundance around my Pennsylvania home, be used in pickling?

    Many thanks for your lovely book and your answers!

    • Thanks for your kind words, Wendy.

      Melissa’s, the produce-distribution company that invented the term sunchoke, is marketing Middle Eastern cucumbers, grown in California, as “mini-cucumbers.” These cucumbers are thin-skinned and free of bitterness and so are good for eating raw and unpeeled. I think they would be fine for pickling in vinegar, too, but I doubt they would make good fermented pickles. The one variety of this type that I’ve grown, ‘Persian Baby,’ has a large seed cavity, and a large seed cavity gets mushy with fermentation.

      According to this article, Pennsylvania has seven species of wild grapes. As far as I know, no grape leaves are toxic. Some varieties have more tannin in their leaves than others; you may be able to tell this by tasting. The tannins are what help keep pickles firm. Some varieties also have fuzz on their leaves. You wouldn’t want to eat fuzzy, astringent leaves, but you might want to add one or two to your jar of cucumber pickles. I suggest experimenting–but do be sure that you’re using grape leaves and not, say, ivy leaves.

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