The Southern Belle Blogs

life as a semi-crunchy mom

Month: February 2017

Food in Jars Mastery Challenge: Salt Preserving

Guys, I kicked butt on Sunday. I swiffered the walls (to get rid of cobwebs), scrubbed the toilets spotless, picked up dog poop in the backyard, swept/vacuumed/swiffered the floors, planted my tomato seeds, made the beds, did laundry AND did the dishes.

But somehow during all of that I found the time to process almost 13 total pounds of lemons I had purchased from Lemon Ladies Orchard. Based in California, Lemon Ladies Orchard offers delicious and fragrant meyer lemons which are Certified Naturally Grown.

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My first order – a 3 pound box.

Earlier in the week I made lemon bars, following it up with a lemon pie on Saturday. My big “lemon” day was on Sunday when I canned a lemon and ginger concentrate, dehydrated lemons, and made a lemon and rosemary salt for the Food In Jars mastery challenge.

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Starting the dehydration process.

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Done!

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One of 3 1/2 pint jars of a lemon and ginger concentrate.

I love canning and trying to preserve as much of my garden harvest as I can. I tend to stick to jams/soup bases/pickles but am always looking for ways to expand my skills. When I came across the year-long food preservation mastery challenge hosted  by Food in Jars earlier in the month, I knew I had to participate. The challenge focuses on a different skill each month.

Calendar of Preserving Skills

January – Marmalade

February – Salt Preserving

March – Jelly OR Shrubs

April – Quick Pickles

May – Cold Pack Preserving

June – Jam

July – Hot Pack Preserving

August – Low Temperature Pasteurization

September – Fruit Butter

October – Drying and Dehydration OR Pressure Canning

November – Fermentation

December – Fruit Pastes

Though I missed out on January, I was excited to hop right in with February’s challenge of Salt Preserving. Since I already have a jar of preserved lemons hanging out on top of the fridge that I started back in January, I decided to create a citrus salt.

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As I was making my lemon and ginger concentrate, I zested each lemon before juicing them. I spread the zest out on a pan and added coarse Kosher salt, mixing until I found the ratio I liked. I decided to make it a little heavier on the zest than on salt to reduce my overall salt intake. Using some fresh rosemary from my mom’s house, I clipped rosemary into small chunks, mixing them into the zest and salt mixture.

I’m letting it sit until dry (which if you are in a rush, you can heat it in the oven on your lowest setting until dry), stirring it around whenever I venture into the kitchen. It’ll probably take about 2-3 days for the mixture to dry before I place it in a jar.

I’m excited to use this salt mixture the next time we cook some of our Alaskan halibut. Lemon Ladies Orchard also included some fresh Bay leaves in my box and I can’t wait to use those as well.

Northeastern NC Craft Workshop

Back in 2013, I was looking for something to do during two days off from work. House-sitting while my mom was out of town, I had taken the time off to enjoy a hot summer day and planned to relax and grill out. I ended up stumbling across the Northeastern NC Craft Workshop.

The NENC Craft Workshop is a two-day event that offers a variety of classes such as stained glass, decoy carving, embroidery and more. Registration is first come, first served meaning some classes tend to fill out rather quickly.

After my first year of attending, I fell in love with the event and have always been eagerly anticipating the next one. Though my schedule doesn’t always allow me the time off to attend (such as when I started a new job or when someone else was already scheduled to be off of work), I have tried my best to attend.

Here are some of my creations!

2013 – This was my first year attending and I decided to sign up for the bonsai class.

Unfortunately I forgot to take an after picture. My green thumb was still in the works during this time and my bonsai died not too long after. :-/

2014Garlic Basket! I enjoy basket weaving even if my patterns didn’t always come out right.

Garlic basket all done!

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2016 – My sea grass stool. This was a class I had been trying to get in for a couple of years so I was pretty excited to be able to attend.

@ NENC Craft Workshop. Seagrass stool before picture. 🙂

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What is really neat about my sea grass stool is that we have a nearly identical one my grandmother made during a different event years ago.

Though it’s easier for me to take the one-day events, I do want to eventually try Decoy Carving/Painting and Fishing Fly Tying! I love that these classes introduces me to skills that I may not normally have been able to try out. What’s also pretty neat is seeing some of the same people return year after year.

Registration is open now, by the way. There is a little fee attached to each class, but if you click the link below, it’ll clue you in as to how much.

For more information, please visit https://currituck.ces.ncsu.edu/2017/02/northeast-north-carolina-craft-workshop/.