So ---- today is the day for our launch of Kitchen: DIY! This is a FREE 30-page book with some of our favorite kitchen DIY projects. Brice (my husband) and I have written many articles on home projects and this is a compilation of some of our favorites we wrote together. We are always asked about our hydroponics system and we go through how to choose and setup a system that is right for you. Another favorite is how to roast your own coffee - in a roaster or even on your grill or over a campfire (plus...recipes). How to sprout and which seeds are the best to start with. How to get started growing mushrooms - what are the different types of starter setups from tabletop to logs - and what types of mushrooms can you grow (plus...recipes). Brice also has a great article about grilling with hardwood charcoal and not the little chemical bomb briquettes. Of course this is filled with photos and recipes and detailed information with resources! Happy DIY'ing.
>>If you are on a non-Apple device, you can download a PDF version here!
Be sure to keep an eye out here - I will be launching another ebook The Gluten and Dairy Free Pantry: Recipes and Fresh Ideas for Your Whole Foods Kitchen in the next few weeks!
I love strawberry season. It lasts only a few short weeks, but it sure is good while it lasts. We are not growing strawberries this year - well, we are, but they are not big enough to fruit this year - but they can be found all around here. Strawberries are at local farmer's markets, roadside stands, u-picks, and in CSA's. We have picked up strawberries every time we see them, knowing that in a week or two they will be gone. I love making some jam and drying some for granola, but really, sorbet is a must. It is the perfect thing on a hot day.
Making an unheated dairy-free sorbet is really the best way to get the full amazing strawberry flavor. I know many recipes call for syrups with water, but really, who wants watered down strawberries. I want it to taste like an explosion of strawberries in my mouth. I don't like using white sugar and my body doesn't like me using white sugar, so I have experimented to get a scoopable sorbet using a natural sugar. This recipe uses raw honey and a wee bit of limoncello to keep it from freezing too solid (I love our homemade limoncello!!!!). This remains scoopable and a vivid red with the full pow of fresh strawberries. This *only* uses 3 Tbsp of limoncello per full quart of sorbet, but if you wish to have no liqueur in this, you can use 2 tsp of vanilla instead of one (vanilla extract also uses alcohol, which is what helps keep the sorbet from freezing into solid ice chunks) - but it WILL still be hard to scoop since you won't have the same recipe ratio and nobody wants several tablespoons of vanilla extract in their sorbet to compensate. Don't add *extra* limoncello though, as too much alcohol will make it more of a slushie. This recipe really is a great balance of flavor and freeze consistency and sweetness.
This is an unheated strawberry sorbet that packs so much intense strawberry flavor you will want more!
Blend the strawberries & lime juice on high in a blender until smooth.
Strawberry season doesn't last very long, and while we *could* buy strawberries from the grocery store all year 'round, we all know nothing tastes as good as locally grown strawberries in season. This recipe really takes advantage of the natural sweetness and amazing flavor or summertime fruit. I think I have a sorbet recipe for just about every single berry all summer long, but strawberries are the first berries after a long winter and spring, and the taste is just...summer. I sometimes try to tuck a quart of it down at the bottom of the chest freezer so we can find in the fall and get all excited that we still have strawberry sorbet in October - but it never lasts that long. That is partly because I just have horrible secret agent stealth skills, and partly because it is so good and who wants to save some for later when you can have it now, when it is hothothot outside. We had strawberries in our CSA yesterday, and picked up a few extra quarts, so I am going to go make some more sorbet!
Once the gardens start producing, it can be a challenge to keep up. My dehydrator is going pretty much full-time, drying herbs, flowers, and veggies for use all winter long. Some herbs, such as basil, don't dry very well, so I make plenty of pesto to freeze. While I love pesto, I don't want my basil options to be so fixed all winter, so freezing more simple combinations means that I not only have plenty of pesto, but also have plenty of options for soup, stew, stir fry, rice and more, all fall/winter/spring. Freezing basil to preserve for winter is easy. I like to make herb pastes, which keep their fresh vibrant flavors and aromas and are super quick and easy to prepare. My husband thinks I missed an opportunity to name this recipe "Frozen Basil Bunnies" - but it isn't just basil that this works for, it is great for any fresh herbs. Although I agree that Fresh Herb Paste isn't *quite* as memorable as Frozen Basil Bunnies. Say that fast 10 times.
Basil is my first frozen paste because it is the herb that needs freezing the most, and I grow a LOT of it. It is so simple. Take 4 cups of freshly picked, packed basil leaves. Put them in the food processor with about 1/4 - 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil and about 1/2 tsp of fresh sea salt. I don't want to add too much salt so I have room for seasoning in recipes, but a little helps keep the vivid color and flavor. Whiz the basil/olive oil/salt in the food processor until fully blended. You may need to scrape the bowl down with a spatula in the middle of it to get all of the leaves. Depending on your type of basil and how packed it is when measuring, it will need as little as 1/4 cup of olive oil. The measurement is flexible just like the recipe. Add just enough oil to get it to fully whiz in the food processor! If you want fresh paste, voila, you are done. Put it into a canning jar in your fridge and use over the next week or so. You can also freeze it for longer storage. The recipe is per 4 cups of herbs because that fits into a food processor, but it whizzes down into a smaller amount, so you can keep going in batches to make as much as you like. I did 5 batches of basil paste and still have more left. Lots. O. Basil.
To freeze, take your paste and spoon it into ice cube trays or silicon molds and put into the freezer until frozen solid, and then pop the cubes into a freezer baggie until you need them. I like freezing in about 1/4 cup quantities as that makes it easier to only defrost what you need, rather than thawing out an entire jar. I like silicon molds because I can do bigger than an ice cube amounts. Mine are all in bunny shapes because while I have personally selected all of my herbs-only molds for my lotion bars and body bars, all of our food use silicon molds have been selected by my 11 year old, who only buys cute animal shapes. ;) So we have a whole bunch of basil bunnies in the freezer.
Fresh Herb Paste
Freezing is a quick and easy way to preserve herbs for winter!
Measure 4 cups of packed fresh herbs (remove stems).
You can do this with mixed herbs as well, of course. I made several batches that included parsley, sage, basil, rosemary, thyme, and cilantro. It is the same recipe, just vary your herbs based on your supply! Try different combos - just be sure to label!
I love growing a lot of herbs, and I love preserving them too. Since our growing season in Wisconsin is fairly short, finding many different ways to preserve things so we feel like we have a wonderful variety the rest of the year is key.
Looking for other ways to preserve your herbs? Try my veggie bouillon recipe - I love making a lot of this in the summer to use all winter long. SUCH an amazing flavor!
I am a certified aromatherapist, clinical herbalist, organic gardener, plant conservationist, photographer, writer, designer, artist, nature lover, whole foods maker, and mother of two unschooled boys in south central Wisconsin.