Putting Away the Pear Harvest

This is a bad year for apples in our neighborhood. The Golden Delicious tree I usually pick from only produced a handful of apples at the highest branches (ten pounds at the most), and the tree with the red Jonagold-type fruit produced only about 100 apples, most of which the bees and worms got to first. I’ve picked maybe a dozen … Read more

Apple Chutney

Where I live, there is an abundance  of apple trees growing untended on public property. Local ordinances allow anyone to pick the apples, and still most of them do to waste – although I do my part that from happening. Most years, I dry several bushels so I have something sweet to put in my oatmeal the rest of the year. I … Read more

My recent hate-hate relationship with cooking

I am really into home food preservation. I have an annually rotating stock of hundreds of jars of canned applesauce, canned pears, apple chutney, tomatillo salsa, jams, jellies, apple butters, tomatoes, tomato sauce and fruit juices. When I worked on a farm and had access to surplus vegetables, I also pressure canned lots of green beans, beets and soups. Every … Read more


I was very excited a couple weeks ago when the black raspberries (aka black caps) began to ripen. They sell frozen black raspberries at Trader Joe’s for filthily cheap, but I generally like picking the local ones and, in any case, the local ones seem to have a slightly different and more complex flavor. So, the day after picking a … Read more

Botulism Buzz

Being an Extension-certified Master Food Preserver, I am of course interested in all things botulism-related. Here’s a great piece analyzing the causes of last year’s botulism outbreak in commercially canned food.