Learning to Eat Well

Want to get a jump-start on the summer season? Take a Twice as Tasty workshop. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
It’s time: Uncover beds, clean up the garden, thin the berry patches, pull the season’s first weeds, and plant seeds and starts. Gardening season has begun.

Although your mind might be reeling with the to-do lists that will get your garden up and running, give a little thought to where its bounty is going: table, fridge, freezer, pantry, and more. I’ve already loaded the blog with lots of information to help you enjoy what you’ve grown—now and later. But you’ll get an even bigger jump-start on the season with a Twice as Tasty Live workshop. You’ll learn more, faster, among friends, and with my personal help. This week’s post highlights some of the best workshops to get on your calendar this summer. As days grow longer, my schedule gets tighter, so pick your topics and contact me soon to set up your personalized workshop for the summer season.
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Fall Ferments

Fermenting vegetables seems daunting, but it’s far simpler than making cheese, baking bread, or even canning vinegar-pickled produce. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.

Fermentation is one of the oldest ways to preserve food, but it’s a technique that has become unfamiliar for modern home cooks. We still consume a lot of fermented foods, including dairy and grains, and we may even be brave enough to try those at home. But somehow fermenting vegetables seems daunting, raising doubts about whether we’re preserving or spoiling food.

Essentially, fermenting is souring via microbes. Microorganisms break down the sugars and carbohydrates in food, causing a chemical change that increases acidity and ultimately preserves the food. The process leaves no room for microbes that spoil food to move in. Properly fermented food looks, smells, and tastes bright, crisp, and tangy. A fermentation that has problems will be discolored, soft, and rotten smelling; you’ll turn up your nose before it even gets near your tongue.

Most people think of pickled cucumbers or brined cabbage when they think of fermented vegetables. But many other vegetables, and even some fruits, can be fermented. In most cases, the only ingredients needed are fresh produce, salt, and water.
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Pick a Pickle

Almost every vegetable garden explodes in July. My first July harvest included the last of the spring greens and asparagus, midcycle broccoli and garlic scapes, and the first snap peas, carrots, beets, and bulb onions. The harvest will go straight into our mouths, but as the yields grow jugs of vinegar and a box of salt will be front and center, ready for pickling.

All of my recently harvested vegetables can be pickled, along with snap beans, summer squash, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, garlic, cabbage, and even fruit. That’s the beauty of pickling: it lets you preserve any low-acid vegetable safely. And like many of my favorite processing techniques, it’s endlessly variable. Various pickling techniques let you preserve everything from a single cucumber to a box of cukes. You can flavor them to fit any meal: American dills or bread-and-butters with burgers, Japanese kyuri asazuke with sushi, Indian kheer uragai with curry—and that’s just a few variations on cucumber pickles.
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