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We've all done it; gotten up on a bright Saturday morning and headed out to the local farmer's market. The lure of seasonal vegetables was too much, and we brought home exotic eggplants, brightly colored tomatoes, baby carrots in a rainbow of colors, fresh beef, and a couple cartons of eggs. We bought too much, and now we're faced with the nagging question, "what am I going to do with all of this?" Cloverfields Farm & Kitchen's Janine Washle says you don't have to eat eggplant for the next five days.
If you think of it like this, eat a little of it and put up a lot for later. She's talking about puttin' up, otherwise known as preserving for the months to come by canning, freezing, dehydrating, and any number of other methods to preserve what you can buy at the farmer's markets or farmstands set up along many highways.
To prepare for this week's segment, Janine went to the Hardin County Farmers Market in Elizabethtown, Phil's Produce in Elizabethtown, Hinton's Farmstand in Larue County, and Bennett's Orchard also in Larue County, to get an idea of what is coming in at this time.
Spring was good this year and farmers were able to get seeds and starts out early so the variety was super nice. Really just about anything she could think of was available. and it was pretty much the same at every location including the great prices. She price shopped at a chain grocery store against the farmer's market prices. The grocery store lost big time on the vegetables, but the beef prices were better.
That is where being informed comes in. Commercially raised beef travels great distances, is mass produced, and there are other unsavory topics surrounding this choice; whereas, the locally raised beef is hormone free, grass fed, and has a small carbon footprint. So the slight increase in price against the supermarket product was not a problem. She tried hard to spend $100 at the locations previously mentioned, but walked away with a backseat and trunk full of produce, meat, and cheese and $20 left over.
Before you start to panic when seeing a counterful of bags, you have to change your mindset. Gardening, back 3-4 generations ago, was not to enjoy fresh tomatoes during the summer, it was to grow varieties to put up for the winter. That's because grocery stores like we know today did not exist or were too far away. It's understood that most of today's generation hasn't had the opportunity to put up or preserve food because there were a couple generations who scoffed at canned goods during the apex of prepackaged, cheap, mass- produced products.
With a good book from a reliable source and a few basic pieces of equipment you can learn to preserve produce by whatever method is appealing to you. Nothing is more satisfying than to open a jar of canned tomatoes in January and smell the essence of summer during the chill of winter. So let's embrace the attitude, "eat a little of it now and put up a lot for later."
Janine's Peach BBQ Sauce
Makes: approximately 7 pints
3 cups chopped peaches, peeled, seeded
3 cups seeded chopped yellow tomatoes
1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 cup finely chopped onion
3 TB minced garlic
1 TB minced ginger
2 fresh cayenne peppers, seeded and chopped
1-1/4 cups honey
¾ cup cider vinegar
1 TB Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp salt
Cook peaches and tomatoes together in a large pot until soft over medium heat. Run through a medium blade of a food mill. Return sauce to pan and add remaining ingredients. Cook until the consistency of commercial barbeque sauce, about 2 hours.
Can according to jar manufacturer's instructions.
Makes: 3 half pints
2 TB extra virgin olive oil
4 pounds onions, peeled, halved, thinly sliced
2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar
¾ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup bacon, finely chopped
Add olive oil to a large dutch oven and heat over medium heat. Add onions and salt. Continue to cook, stirring frequently. Cook until the onions become translucent and begin to caramelize around the edges, 15-20 minutes.
Transfer onions to a slow cooker, and stir in the brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, and bacon.
Cook on "low" setting, stirring at least every half hour for a total of 4 hours or until jam is a rich deep brown and mounds when dropped from a spoon. Remove heat and cool. Store in glass jars in the refrigerator up to a month or can and store in the pantry for up to a year.
Watermelon Chiffon Pie
1-1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup sugar, divided
2/3 stick butter, melted
¼ of a large watermelon
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1/8 tsp salt
1 TB lemon juice
2 egg whites
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
Combine crumbs, 1/3 cup sugar, and butter. Press over bottom and sides of a 9" pie plate. Chill. Extract 2-1/2 cups juice from watermelon by cutting melon into chunks and pureeing in a food processor. Pour puree into a fine mesh strainer set over a large bowl to collect the juice.
Sprinkle gelatin over 1 cup melon juice in a medium saucepan. Set over low heat, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes or until gelatin dissolves. Remove from heat and stir in 1/3 cup of sugar, salt, and remaining watermelon juice, and lemon juice.
Chill, stirring occasionally, until mixture mounds slightly when dropped from a spoon. Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gradually add remaining sugar beating until very stiff. Fold with cream into watermelon mixture and turn into shell. Chill several hours. Garnish with watermelon balls and mint. Serves: 6-8
Cloverfields Farm and Kitchen also has a special Farmstand Cooking and Puttin' Up for Later Recipe Booklet available by email. To ask for a complimentary copy, just email Janine Washle at firstname.lastname@example.org
To find Cloverfields Farm & Kitchen on Facebook: click here.
Janine Washle and her family live at the Cloverfields Farm and Kitchen in Big Clifty, Kentucky in Hardin County. CloverFields Farm & Kitchen, part of a century old farmstead, is our home and business. The McGuffin house, the original farmhouse, is a registered state landmark. CloverFields Farm has a prosperous farming history. They are continuing this rural story in their own unique way by the addition of CloverFields Kitchen a place to explore the past through food and merge it with our modern lifestyles.
CloverFields Farm is dedicated to the preservation of southern, especially Kentucky, food traditions. The kitchen is commercially-outfitted compliant with Health Department standards. In this kitchen I develop new recipes based on original ideas, inspirations from my culinary research, and most often according to what is in season.
On the farm, they make many gifts and specialty items. She is currently working on her first cookbook, but she also has a long resume developing recipes for several companies. She has also won several contests and cook-offs with her original recipes.