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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



    First of all, I should remind you that if you really want to stay up-to-date on what I'm doing, you should follow my Facebook page. It's called "Learn To Preserve" too. How easy is that?

    I just posted a simple collage of one of this past weekend's fermenation projects, Tepache. 

    Tepache is a fermented
     drink made out of the flesh and rind of pineapples...

    Click to read more ...


    Multitasking at Quillisascut Farm 


    This is one of those times when I didn't know someone was taking my pic. In fact, I didn't know about the pic until I happened across it while looking at my friend Janelle's Facebook page, Talk of Tomatoes

    I must say, I look remarkably clean for someone who didn't wash her hair for a week. I think I got about 4 days out of that shirt, too. When you're having the time of your life, making goat cheese, learning how to build a wood-fired oven (then baking the most divine breads in the world in that oven), pulling weeds, eating 3 phenomenal farm-to-table meals per day and then blissfully drifting on to sleep every night to the sounds of crickets and toads, you hardly care what your hair looks like. 

    More about Quillisascut Farmstead Cheese and School of the Domestic Arts soon!

     Photo credit: Janelle Maiocco, of Talk of Tomatoes and Farmstr.


    The Short Life of the Crooked Carrot

    You might have noticed that not everything I post here on my website is about preserving.

    Sometimes I like to post pics of unusually-shaped fruits & veggies. In fact, people now send me pics of their own discoveries, like strawberries that look like butterflies and potatoes who look like famous people.

    The other non-preserving topic I talk about here is my horse, Charlee. She is the love of my life. Well, after my husband, kids, and little old Pug, ShuMai (although the order of their priority is subject to change on a daily basis.)

     A couple days ago I tried Instagram's new video feature for the first time. I managed to combine a wacky-looking carrot AND Charlee in one 16 second video. The radio in the barn was already playing classical music, giving my video an unexpected but effective soundtrack.

    Hope you like my silly little video!


    A healthy branch full of Rainier cherries.

    I spent a few fantastic days at Quillisascut Farm in the Eastern Washington town of Rice, which is about 300 miles from my home in Seattle. We made several styles of goat cheese, learned how to build a wood-fired oven - then baked pizzas and naturally-yeasted breads to perfection using that oven. We worked up our appetites pulling weeds in the garden or hiking in the hills, and we ate so many amazing farm-to-table meals that no one wanted to leave. Ever.

    I hated to pack up and head home yesterday, but I cheered myself up by making a tiny detour to pick some fresh sweet cherries at my parent's orchard in Rock Island, Washington, on the banks of the Columbia River. One look at dad's cherry trees and I knew my 17 mile detour was the right decision. I was feeling better already.

    There were some questions about whether or not the sugar content in the cherries was high enough to pick them, but just as I was pulling up, the field man was leaving and he gave the big thumbs up. Truth be told, I would have picked them anyway. I would gladly eat them a bit underripe and for most preserves, slightly underripe fruit works quite well. (It contains higher amounts of pectin, the natural gelling agent needed for superior results.)

    For ideas about how to use cherries in recipes, click here.


    Strawberry Zest

    I saw these last night while shopping at Home Depot and I couldn't resist buying one. I mean, how can I pass up something that says it's "Jammed Full of Color"?

    The cuteness factor alone was worth $3.97.


    Smoke 'em if you've got 'em

    I just spent an incredible 8 days in New Orleans, celebrating my middle son's graduation from Loyola.
    I'm one very proud (and very tired) mama.

    I've been to New Orleans at least a dozen times over the past 15 years, and every time I go, I don't want to leave. When I woke up in Seattle today, I immediately thought of the daily morning walks I had grown accustomed to taking around the neighborhood of the charming apartment we rented.

    During those leisurely strolls one of the best sights (and smells) we encountered was a smoker....right there on the sidewalk!

    I am 99% sure if I set out right now - and walked 200 blocks all over Seattle - I would not be blessed again with the sweet intoxicating smell of hickory in the morning.
    Unless I'm the one who fires up the tradition ;)



    Keep Calm and Cowgirl Up.

    Keep Calm and Cowgirl Up.

    This might be my new mantra.

    Charlee, getting a bath on a warm spring day.

    Being a cowgirl means so many things to me. Shortly before I turned 50 last year, I bought a neglected not-yet-broke-to-ride rescue horse.
    It was a BIG DEAL.

    I hadn't ridden for 30 years (but prior to that spent many years riding & showing, so I wasn't a complete novice.) I knew what I was in for, or so I thought. I knew I would spend a lot of time teaching her things, but what I didn't know was, she would in turn teach me many things too.

    I am on my way to the barn now, to spend time working with her; her name is Charlee, she's a 6 year old Paint mare, and she is the light of my life. Besides teaching me about myself, she makes me feel like a kid again. How awesome is that?

    I just saw this list of things you can learn from working with your horse on Awaken Your Inner Cowgirl and I want to share them with you.

    Can you relate?

    Click to read more ...


    To Smoke A Salmon, First You Have To Catch It.

    I recently made a trip to the world famous Pike Place Market which, believe it or not, is only about a mile from my house. My goal was to shoot some scenes for my new website for the "About Me" page.

    While I was there I realized I needed a salmon to smoke for my annual St Patrick's Day party, which was only 2 days away. Imagine my surprise when the guys at Pike Place Fish Market asked me if I wanted to "catch" a salmon. I thought they were kidding. I said "You mean, like, a stuffed salmon...a pretend salmon"? 

    A few of the guys chimed in with variations of the word "no" and the next thing I knew I was standing behind the counter at the fish market, being egged on by the crowd. I was realllly nervous, but what a fun experience. 

     The sockeye salmon I smoked for the party turned out great too, but I think I'll save that blog post for the new website!

    CLICK on the arrow in the center of the photo to see the video: 

    Learn to Preserve at Pike Place Fish from Kabja Concepts on Vimeo.



    "The Sounds Of Preserving" video - final cut

    Here it is!
    It doesn't need much introduction other than to say:
    "Have you speakers on and your volume up."

     It's even better with headphones.

    "The Sounds of Preserving" from Kabja Concepts on Vimeo.



    Heavenly Hawaiian Fruits

    We're on vacation on Oahu right now, visiting my oldest son who is stationed at Pearl Harbor.

    Lucky us!

    iPhone photo

    I've been to the Hawaiian Islands before, and every time I am here I am overcome with the desire to make jelly or jam. I even make sure to rent condos every time, so I'll have a kitchen to cook in.

    The quality of Hawaii's mouthwatering fresh tropical fruits is always impressive and the low prices at the roadside stands astound me.
     I can't resist the many charm of Hawaii's abundant fruits.

    Click to read more ...


    The Sounds of Preserving...a work in progress...

    Nope, this pressure cooker video isn't mine.

    I found it on youTube this morning.

    What does it have to do with me? Well, it's one of those sounds associated with preserving that brings back memories and I thought you might remember it too, either from your own pressure canning project last weekend or being in your grandma's kitchen 40 years ago.

    These past couple days we've been working on a really fun video project called "The Sounds Of Preserving".

    We've put together almost 50 different sounds that you might hear when preserving, along with close-ups of the action. It took a ton of planning, a lot of work in my kitchen, a mighty talented cameraman, some cameos from the people at Firefly Kitchens, Beecher's Handmade Cheese at Pike Place Market and Roanoke Park Place Tavern and plenty of time in the hands of some talented video editors at Kabja Concepts.

    Why did I make the video? I'm going to use this one minute video to promote my new website and my app, both still under wraps.

    Stay tuned....


    Slivers of Seville Oranges

    More marmalade in the works. 
    One of these days I'll share what I've been working on with you, but for now, I am obsessed with making as many kinds of marmalade as I can, while it's still citrus season.