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Dilly Pickled Onion Slices on Punk Domestics

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    I have attempted to share safe preserving methods however you alone are responsible for your health & safety in your own kitchen or location. Be aware of current safety recommendations. Please see "Full Disclaimer" page for suggested preserving resources.

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    International Food Blogger Conference 2011 NOLA


    Fresh Pineapple, Preserved 5 Ways. 

    One of my favorite ways to spend time is in the kitchen, challenging myself to preserve one fruit or vegetable in as many different ways possible. It partially stems from my innate desire to be creative, but it's also a result of growing up in a region that offers an abundance of low-cost and often free produce. "Free", as in, friends & neighbors giving me boxes of their garden or orchard bounty in exchange for jam, jelly or pickles. Win/win.

     Pineapple isn't grown in Seattle, of course, but in the darkest days of winter, or on chilly spring days, if I find a good deal on fresh pineapples I might buy 3 or 4 of them and spend a day preserving some of that sweet-sparkly tropical sunshine in a bottle or jar.

    Keep in mind - fresh pineapple preserves beautifully. Its natural sugars really shine once they meet heat, and the naturally-present pectin makes it practically fool-proof. (No packets of pectin necessary!) For these reasons, and quite a few more, fresh pineapple is one of my go-to fruits for preserving, any time of the year. 

    Apricot~Pineapple Jam

    Pineapple Drinking Vinegar

    Pineapple Jam

    Pineapple-Jalapeño Chutney  

    Roasted Pineapple Ketchup



    Whewwww. I'm back!

    Happy 2014.

    Where, oh where, did the last 3 months go? 

    I took a break from blogging weekly for several reasons; some of them planned, some of them not-so-planned. I knew we were going to have a very busy September, but then in October we had to put our sweet old Pug Shumai to sleep....and my world turned upside-down.

    Shumai teaching Chuck the fine art of lounging, a few days before she died.


    Click to read more ...


    I forget how busy September can be!

    If it's September, so much is happening. Some of it planned, like demos, classes, preserving projects and trips.

    And some of it unplanned, like plums & pears on my doorstep, packaged beautifully by the generous giver in a vintage Nordstrom hat box. 

    If you read my blog, you probably wonder why I haven't been posting new articles on my website very often.

    If you follow Learn To Preserve on Facebook, you might have a better idea.

    Click to read more ...


    Vacuum-sealing Freezer Pickles with my FoodSaver

    Yes, you heard that right: FREEZER pickles. 

    In this case, Sweet & Sour Green Bean Freezer Pickles.

    I've made a lot of pickles in my lifetime. In fact, some people refer to me as the "Pickle Princess", though I prefer Pickle QUEEN, thank you very much. Relax...I'm joking!

    But let's get serious. A few months ago I heard someone mention freezer pickles and I had to do some investigating. From everything I read, freezer pickles are crispy, crunchy and packed full of flavor, just like you'd expect from a perfect pickle.

    The benefit of freezing them?

    Click to read more ...


    Know your Farmer 

    Know your farmer. 

    My farmers' names are George & Michelle. George is 77, and Michelle is, well, younger than her husband. 

    I can't tag them on my Learn To Preserve Facebook page because they don't "do Facebook". Their farm is called Summerhill Farms but they don't have a website, so I can't share it with you. Their farm is located on Highway 3 near Oakland Bay in Mason County, Washington. 

    Click to read more ...


    Strawberry Jamtini Video

    Growing a Greener World put together this adorable 2 minute video and I couldn't resist sharing. I think I still have the catchy little tune running through my head....



     For the full printable recipe (and another chance to watch this video, because you know you want to) check out this Strawberry Jamtini post.


    Pear-Pineapple Jamtini Cocktail

     Every once in a while, when I try to give someone a jar of my homemade jam they say "oh, thanks anyway...but we don't eat much jam at our house. We don't really eat toast." 

    In the back of my mind, this is usually followed by a question from me that goes something like this: "What? Pardon me...did you just say you don't. Eat. JAM???"

    Being the die-hard jam maker/preserver that I am, I have to suppress the urge to shout "this isn't just a jar of jam! This is a jar of beautiful hand-picked tree-ripened fruit, cooked with organic cane juice sugar and a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice!" 
    "It's a yogurt topping!"
    "A smoothie perker-upper!" 
    "A baste for pork tenderloin!"
    "And it's my new favorite way to use jam - a cocktail builder!"

    Click to read more ...


    Triple The Fun With Dilly Green Beans

    Once upon a time I had a brilliant idea.

    Excited by the colors of a bounty of Blue Lake green beans, Royal Burgundy (purple) green beans and Golden Wax beans, my mind wandered to Mardi Gras.....

    These colors were similar to the colorful jester hats, masks, beads, feathers, fleur de lis and King cakes that are everywhere in New Orleans, where my middle son lives. 

    Click to read more ...


    Bread & Butter Pickle Slices

    Start them off right with ice!

    If you'd been following my Facebook page this week, you'd know this image is my current cover photo.
    (It probably won't be much longer changes often.)

    These are sliced pickling cucumbers, sliced bell peppers and sliced onion, mixed with plenty of ice and just the right amount of pickling salt.
    Icing & salting cukes is an important step in making the crunchiest, crispiest Bread & Butter Pickle Slices. What to learn more? Check out this past blog post which shows you the step-by-step process.

    I post several times per day on my Facebook page. It is called - just like this website and my Twitter profile - "Learn To Preserve".

    On my Facebook page, I try to post things that will help you and inspire you. How about checking it out?

    "Learn To Preserve"

    See you back here real soon. 

    Thanks so much ~

    Brook xo 



    Pickling Spice Tips

    I have a few favorite tips for using and getting the most from your pickling spices. At the end of my post I include a link to pickling spice recipes. Hopefully these tips will save you time, trouble and money.

    Problem: You want to flavor your brine, but you don't want to have whole cloves, mustard seeds, bits of bay leaves, star anise, cardamom pods, peppercorns or other seasonings floating around in your jars of pickles.

    Click to read more ...


    Horses Love Marionberries

    Do you know about marionberries?

    The marionberry was developed at Oregon State University in 1945 by crossing a Chehalem blackberry with a Olallieberry and named after Marion county in Oregon.

    The marionberry is sometimes referred to as the "Queen of Blackberries" with a sweet, complex and rich earthy flavor that skirts that edge of bitterness found in many blackberries. Some people say they are seedless, but I don't know if that's technically correct. I do know the seeds are barely detectable when eating the berries, making marionberries almost too good to be true.

    They have a short season here in the Pacific NW; they're usually only available in mid-late July. If you are ever lucky enough to find some, open your wallet and buy as many as you can afford. They are perfect for pies and preserves, and freeze beautifully. 

    Later that day I shared a handful of marionberries with my mare, Charlee...

    ...and I think you can plainly see, they passed Charlee's taste test with flying colors!


    Do Your Pickles Glow In The Dark?

    My friend Elaine posted this on my Facebook page, and it turns out it's true. Yes, I had to do a little research...I was so intrigued!


    (If you don't believe me, check out the video at the end of this post.)

    Elaine and her husband Bill are big fans of my pickles. Every since that weekend they came to visit and I enlisted their help in putting up 50 pounds of Blue Ribbon Dill Pickles, they've been hooked.

    Click to read more ...