“Peace begins in the kitchens and pantries, gardens and backyards, where our food is grown and prepared. The energies of nature and the infinite universe are absorbed through the foods we eat and are transmuted into our thoughts and actions”.
August is a hot month on the Coast but in between all the fun Summer activities I like to set a few days aside to start planning and stocking the pantry for Fall. Preserving and fermenting food is a way to extend the life of certain vegetables as well as fruits that aren’t in season in the North throughout Autumn and Winter.
Today is Saturday August 7th and the first rainy day we’ve had in over 2 months. Mother Nature lending her hand to the brave firefighters battling the yearly wildfires in the interior. Hopefully the wind will blow the dark weeping clouds in their direction.
I’m in the kitchen preparing my annual batch of Fire Cider as well as a few jars of Fermented Garlic Honey. I’ll add fresh rosemary and the lemon thyme from my garden for their added immune boosting properties. Both Fire Cider and Garlic Honey are potent herbal remedies for cold and flu season; we take 1-2 Tablespoons everyday throughout the colder months. Fire Cider and Garlic Honey take over a month to be ready to consume so by mid September, when the weather turns near the Equinox, it will be ready to get us through the dark half of the year.
I’m also canning homemade pickles and had planned to harvest some of the herbs in the garden but they got rained on so I’ll have to wait for a dry day for this task. Sage, Thyme, Basil, Rosemary, Terragon and Oregano to flavour soups and pastas.
Fermented food like pickles are high in natural probiotics which aid in digestion. They’re also packed with beta-carotene which is an antioxidant that converts to Vitamin A in the body. I like them as a tasty snack to curb sugar cravings, so there’s always a jar of pickles in the fridge.
I created an entire blog to making Fire Cider last year. Here’s the link to my Fire Cider recipe.
When the pandemic first hit in 2020 I quickly realized how fast our food supply could dwindle. My local grocery store looked like a ghost town with lanes of empty shelves and no I wasn’t one who hoarded toilet paper; I did however come to appreciate the importance of keeping my pantry stocked with staples to keep us fed should we ever be in a situation where we couldn’t shop or leave our homes for any reason.
I keep a constant supply of essentials I use in My Kitchen like canned and dried legumes, pastas, oats, rice, vinegars, flour and oils. (Click on the My Kitchen link above for my blog on how I stock a basic pantry).
Fermented Garlic Honey Recipe
- 1 cup whole garlic cloves peeled and slightly crushed (I press them with a knife)
- 1 cup raw honey or more, as needed to cover garlic
- Add garlic cloves to a wide-mouth mason jar then pour enough honey to completely cover the garlic cloves. Make sure they are completely coated with honey.
- Place the lid on the jar loosely and store in a dark cool place.
- You’ll want to give it a stir every day or so by tightening the lid on the jar and flipping it upside down to coat the garlic cloves with honey. Loosen the lid again when you return it to the upright position.
- You will start to see small bubbles forming on the surface of the honey within a week.
- Let the Honey Garlic ferment for about a month before consuming. You can then take a clove with honey each day as an immune booster and especially if you feel any symptoms of a cold coming on.
- Fermented Garlic Honey should keep in the pantry for up to a year. If you notice the garlic changing to a pale blue or green colour, not to worry, it can still be consumed. Note: Never give fermented garlic to a baby under 1 year of age.
Homemade Canned Garlic Dill Pickles
You can make a jar of these at any time to keep in the fridge and snack on. I am canning mine to preserve for a longer period.
You Will Need:
- 2 x 1-quart wide-mouth jars with lids
- 3 cups water
- 3/4 cup white vinegar
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt or pickling salt
- Mini cucumbers quartered
- 8 sprigs of fresh dill
- 4 cloves of fresh garlic peeled and crushed or thinly sliced
- 2 Tablespoons pickling spices
- In a medium saucepan, combine the water, vinegar, sugar, and 2 tablespoons of kosher/pickling salt and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium/low and simmer for 15 minutes. Set aside.
- Wash the cucumbers and cut each into 4 spears. If the cucumbers are too tall to stand up in the jars without sticking out the top, trim off one end of each so they’re the right size for the jars.
- Fill each jar with cucumbers packed somewhat tightly.
- Add the fresh dill sprigs between the cucumbers and add the garlic and pickling spices to each jar.
- Pour the warm brine evenly into the jars.
- Slide a (very clean) thin spatula or butter knife down the side of the jar in several places to release any trapped air bubbles. If necessary, add more brine so that the liquid again comes to 1/2 inch from the rim. Then wipe the rims with a clean, dry kitchen towel and seal each jar with a lid. Don’t seal the lids too tightly as you want a bit of air to be able to help create a seal while canning.
- Add the closed jars to your canning pot with water and bring to a boil. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, set a timer for 10 minutes.
- Remove the jars from the water and place on a heat safe surface and allow to completely cool for 24 hours.
- They will keep for a year in a dark cool storage or pantry. Always label your jars so that you can keep track of any food that might need to be consumed right away or thrown out.
The rain stopped around 3pm so I took a break from the kitchen and walked in the forest near my home.
Thank you for joining me today. Stay healthy. Stay happy.