11 posts tagged with “preserving”

  • Spreading hope: The Southridge Jam Co.

    This story originally appeared in Edible Toronto magazine, Winter 2017. Other than the main photo, all images were supplied by Southridge Jam Co.

    A sweet scent spills from the kitchen at Southridge Community Church in Vineland, Ontario, and it’s unmistakably that of Concord grapes and sugar joining forces to make jelly.

    For Scott Cronkwright, the aroma is much more than a preserve-in-the-making. It’s a smell that triggers happy memories from days long past and, especially, hope for days – and years – ahead.

    Cronkwright is one of about a dozen people who make up the current cohort of The Southridge Jam Co., a small-batch-preserves operation launched earlier this year to support homelessness programs, including a shelter that is run out of the St. Catharines location of Southridge Community Church.

    As the guy stirring the pot, measuring sugar, or doing whatever job is required of him to turn grapes into peanut butter’s soulmate, Cronkwright relishes the scent wrapping itself around him, sticking to his clothes, his hair, his skin. “The smell completely envelops me,” the 55-year-old says. “It takes me back to my grandmother’s kitchen. It takes me back to my childhood. Every jam that we produce has this incredible memory generating from it.”

    But it’s what happened between those moments playing kitchen assistant to his grandmother as a boy and January 2016 that ultimately led him to a church kitchen to make jam. Cronkwright is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. He grew up to work a mixed bag of entertainment, writing, and restaurant jobs, got married, and had children. And for nearly half of his adult life, he existed as a “functioning opiate addict.” Continue reading

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    Category Food Finds

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  • Peach Tree
  • How to preserve herbs like you and basil are BFFs

    I originally wrote this post for Niagara Life magazine.

    Most herbs would agree — I am probably their worst enemy, alongside a lawn mower.

    Save for chives and lavender, I struggle to grow herbs in my garden. The heaps I get in my weekly vegetable baskets from a local farmer are really just flavourful races against time to use them up before they disintegrate into brown liquid in my fridge. Oh, the guilt that comes with wasting them. But how much dill, parsley and thyme can one human possibly eat in a sitting?

    The antidote to my careless ways was to get smart with my sage and be more thoughtful with my tarragon. I’ve started preserving herbs to use when the garden is another summer memory, and to spare having to dart out, last minute, to the grocery store to buy a clam shell of coriander from far-off places.

    Here are three simple ways to alleviate guilt, save time, and preserve that bounty of parsley, those mounds of mint and loads of lavender:

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    Category In the Garden, Recipes

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  • Peach Tree
  • Back in the canning saddle with The Canning Kitchen

    This will not be a sentimental story.

    There will be no reminiscing of a mother who put up pickles every summer or knocked it out of the park with her raspberry jam while I tugged at her apron strings wanting in on the action.

    My mom didn’t can when I was growing up. She did other things like ace a sauerbraten or bake a German plum cake that leaves me feeling just a little nostalgic for my childhood as I type.

    I also have no great stories about grandmothers packing the season’s bounty into mason jars to enjoy later. Both my Omas lived in Germany. One was abysmal in the kitchen. The other made the dreamiest mirabelle plum jam but I only ever enjoyed the finished product and not the process. She always had it ready, the jars neatly lined up in her pantry, for whatever family was making the trip to visit her from their scattered locations.

    No, my canning story is more pragmatic. It was a bit of a do or die situation — for my career and, I was certain, for me. It was the summer of 2007 when I was trying out the 100-Mile Diet and writing a series of stories about it for work. Seemed a fitting assignment for an agriculture reporter still relatively new to Niagara. Continue reading

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  • Peach Tree
  • The Canadian Food Experience Project: Preserving summer’s heat in hot sauce

    Under pressure of a deadline and filled with hunger pangs six years ago, I set out to can something.

    I had been abiding by the restrictive rules of the 100-mile diet for work and I had a column to write to update readers about my latest local food discoveries. I was in need of new material and preserving seemed the logical next step after my dismal failure trying to make yogurt.

    I also had a hankering for pickled beans, though I’d never preserved anything before. I didn’t even own a mason jar and never used one for anything more than a drinking glass.

    Still, I set about to make me some pickled beans, doing what any canning virgin would do in my circumstances. I turned to the great Google gods for help. They didn’t let me down, turning up an easy-to-follow recipe with seemingly simple steps for creating some briny beauties.

    I won’t lie. I was scared of canning anything. The fear of botulism or some other food-borne illness stayed with me as I worked in my tiny apartment kitchen like an annoying editor hovering over me as I toil at my computer.
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    Category Recipes

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