My change for August is to learn to preserve the harvest from my garden and foraging... I've canned jam in the past, but that's pretty much the extent of my knowledge. The past few years I've canned massive amounts of blueberry jam from the berries I picked in Alaska. I made prickly pear jelly a few years back, and I canned some triple citrus marmalade this January.
This summer I want to expand my canning to new and more types of jam. I want to can savory things too, like tomato sauce -- if my tomatoes would ever ripen! I'm also going to learn to ferment and to pickle.
I got an amazing book from the library recently called Preserving Food without Canning or Freezing: Traditional techniques using salt, oil, sugar, alcohol, vinegar, drying, cold storage and lactic fermentation. These recipes were compiled from readers of a French organic gardening magazine, and many are family recipes passed down over generations. The book is chock full of useful information, and fun recipes like Whole Cabbage Sauerkraut (with 70 heads of cabbage!!), Bottled Swiss Chard Ribs, Blueberries Preserved in Honey, Preserved Radishes, etc. I highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to learn traditional ways of preservation that are easy to digest, and maximize flavor and nutrition.
In the few days of August so far, I've already started on this challenge! I made some Strawberry Rosemary Balsamic Jam with Black Pepper and some Mint Jelly. They both turned out delicous!
I also made some kimchee/sauerkraut today at my Americorps team meeting! It was awesome. I'll share some pictures and tips later, and be sure to keep you updated on what I'm learning along the way.
By the way, anyone have ideas of good ways to use mint jelly besides on meat? I'm thinking in thumbprint chocolate shortbread cookies... Yum!