All posts in “Ferments, Preserves and Pickles”

Italian Almond Gremolata

Springtime Almond Gremolata

Ciao bella gusto! Hello beautiful taste! Wake up your spring dishes with this classic Italian garnish or topping, From spring lamb to roasted potatoes, grilled or sauteed asparagus, pan roasted fish, scrambled eggs, sauteed spinach… and on and on. There are so many ways to enjoy this simple, yet sophisticated, addition to the palate and the plate.

Springtime Almond Gremolata from Maria Baldwin on Vimeo.

Springtime Almond Gremolata
Prep time
Total time
Create a pop to any dish by adding this classic Italian garnish to meats, vegetables and fish. It's a perfect addition to your menu in the springtime,
Recipe type: Garnish
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 1 cup
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • ½ bunch Italian Parsley, de-stemmed
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ c. raw almonds
  • 1 Tbsp, lemon juice
  • salt and cracked pepper
  1. Add all the ingredients to the bowl of your food processor and pulse and process to a medium coarse chop.
  2. Will keep fresh in the refrigerator for about 1 week.
  3. Serve atop grilled meats and fish, as well as roasted vegetables, potatoes, and even simple scrambled eggs.

preserve-tomatoes-tomato jam-6233-2015

Preserving Summer’s Bounty – Tomato Jam

I’ve been spending some quality time in the kitchen lately. Tomato Jam?  Really? I want to pinch myself I’m so excited to have made the time to preserve tomatoes, and especially tomato jam. My local farmer has her beautiful end of summer tomatoes available for U-Pick! You cannot believe what an amazing opportunity this presents!


Heirloom Tomatoes at the Farmer's Market


Tomato Jam is something really special.  It’s kind of a cross between sriracha preserves and gourmet ketchup – well, no – not really.  It’s difficult to describe except to say it is the best thing I have ever tasted. It’s a Southern thing, I guess, but I know anyone will love this.

As I plan how I will ration and savor my tomato jam with frugality, I have now already used two jars before I even stacked the beauties in the pantry.  It is irresistible.  If you have the time during the end of summer tomato glutton, I highly recommend a Saturday morning devoted to tomato jam.  I promise you won’t be sorry.


Gather heirloom tomatoes for making preserves


Gathering as many different kinds of heirloom tomatoes as you can find (think late summer farmer’s market) is a big part of the amazing experience of tomato jam.  At the end of the summer, those long awaited heirlooms are finally pouring in. They tend to be meaty and sweetly acidic and perfect for this Southern ketchup-esque condiment. My local farmer Irma has a u-pick from now until frost and the tomatoes are beautiful.  I am still bringing a few in from my little garden but not enough to preserve, so I am grateful to Irma.




Combined with curry-like seasonings, the added acidity of fresh lime juice, fresh ginger and the jalapeno pepper, this sweet-hot sauce is redolent of NOTHING.  Period. There is nothing else like it.


Tomato Jam added ingredients - ginger, lime, jalapeno


This is a great recipe for “small-batch” preserving.  I think I came up with 5 jars. I’ll have to make it again because it is already going fast.

It is a simple process. Chop the tomatoes and gather the other ingredients and combine in a heavy bottomed saucepan to simmer and break down and turn to jam.  Natural pectin takes care of the congealing as it gently bubbles on the stovetop.

You will know it is done when it begins to change color to a deep crimson. It’s glorious.  And the fragrance is UNBELIEVABLE!!!


preserving tomatoes at the end of the summer.


I hope I have time to make another batch or two, because I cannot imagine a more beautiful holiday gift or hostess gift.


tomato jam-6233-2015


I have used my tomato jam this season to make the most delicious pizza ever.  I made simple crostini with goat cheese topped with tomato jam. It was recently the sauce for a delicious grilled pork tenderloin that I served with a warm lentil salad.  I will be posting these dishes soon so you can share the recipes and ideas.  I know you’re going to love tomato jam as much as I do.

My sourdough adventures have been sooo much delicious fun.  Very rewarding.  The pizza below is sourdough crust, tomato jam, fresh mozzarella, caramelized onions topped with arugula and grated parm out of the oven. May be the best pizza ever.




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End of Summer Tomato Jam
Tomato Jam is a super-easy, yet indulgent way to preserve the summer's bounty.
  • 1½ lb Ripe Tomatoes
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 tablespoon Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
  • 1 teaspoon Grated Fresh Ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Fresh Jalapeno Pepper
  1. Prepare all ingredients and combine in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Simmer for 1 - 1½ hours until mixture thickens.
  2. Spoon the thickened jam into canning jars and either store in the refrigerator or follow safe canning procedures to process.
Tomato Jam is a great way to preserve the summer's bounty and is perfect for small batch preserving techniques. This super easy and delicious condiment will put an exclamation point on any dish. Great as a pizza topping or on grilled meats and fish and many other uses. Recipe based on one by Mark Bittman/ NY Times.

The Art of Fermentation – Pickles



This lovely season of summer in the Appalachian mountains feels like it is coming to a close. Those tale-tell signs – days are getting shorter, night air is cooler, the angle of the sun over the mountains is more noticeable. This summer has been a time of reconnecting with my home and family – and food that undoubtedly helped shaped my life’s direction. This year, with my husband, has been focused on restoring and nourishing my father after his diagnosis with pancreatic cancer.  When we heard of dad’s illness, we decided to move back to my home in North Carolina to be near him.  It has been a journey in love.  We have shared lots of days this year – driving in the mountains, woodworking projects in his shop, gardening and canning.  Both he and I have been nourished.  In a miraculous way, his cancer has gone in to remission and we are watching him grow strong again. Wow.




Traditional foodways were such an important part of my life growing up. This reality is tapping me on the shoulder in a big way right now as I spend this close time with my family. Knowing what I have learned through the years about healthy, whole foods eating, I think many of the traditional recipes and techniques stand the test and fall into the category of healthy eating. I continue to adjust and alter those that do not to weave them into an eating pattern that doesn’t abandon my beloved roots.  I find this very satisfying.




I recently decided to wash out these crocks and ferment some cucumbers.  We love pickles in our home and naturally fermented “kosher dills” are among the favorite.  We also love simple refrigerator pickles of all kinds…zucchini, banana peppers, gardiniere – a mixture of carrots, cauliflower, onions, peppers, (whatever is in the garden, basically).  They are so easy to small batch, and don’t test your patience, as they are ready in a few days!  But ferments – a term that just means naturally fermented from the wild yeast and bacteria present in your environs – they call upon your will to wait and prove their worthiness at the appropriate time.




I love them. For so many reasons. Tangy, subtle, salty, crunchy, traditional and HEALTHY!

Probiotics abound!

There is so much information that is coming to light in the medical and nutritional journals about the benefits of maintaining a healthy flora in the gut. It seems the body’s immune system is supported in a big way if the intestinal tract is functioning properly. Enjoying fermented foods is very supportive of gastro-intestinal health and health of the body overall.




I recently jarred up the “pickles” and plan to make sauerkraut next.  It should be ready in time for Octoberfest.




Did I just say Octoberfest?  Wow! Enjoy the harvest, ya’ll!


For more information about the health benefits of lacto-fermentation and probiotics in your diet, you may like to check these resources:

  • To read an article by Food and Nutrition, with history and cultural notes, click here.
  • For a global and fairly technical article by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, click here.
  • For recipes, visit Nourished Kitchen by clicking here.



Kimchi vegetables soaking in brine

Make your own Kimchi

Hello lovelies.  These are those beautiful root vegetables we’ve been talking about and they are almost gone! I decided I love them SOOO much that I would preserve them as kimchi so I can hang out with them a little longer.  This is a VERY HEALTH GIVING THING TO DO!!!!

root vegetables for kimchi

Kimchi, a fermentation process of Korean origin, goes back to the time of preservation for survival and has changed little from it’s beginnings. The pickling process is known to promote the occurrence of one of the new darling terms of healthfood, “probiotics” , and it abounds in the kimchi world!  The salty, crunchy sour taste is still amazing in so many ways, and popular among many cultures today.

So, I thought I would give you the quick 1-2-3 on getting a batch of kimchi started for you to hang out with, too!

Continue Reading…

End of Summer Zucchini Pickles

End of Summer Zucchini Pickles

End of Summer Zucchini Pickles


End of summer can mean so many different things, right?  It’s the official start of school, it’s kids back to college, it’s a nip in the air that wasn’t there before, it’s the last official picnic… it’s Christmas will be here before you know it. Well, it means a lot when you’re talking about food.  And with that thought pretty much always at the forefront of where my mind goes, I’m thinking I’d better get some pickles made, or this is definitely not going to happen this year!




So, on this glorious end of summer holiday weekend, we enjoyed a nice appropriate outing – first to the farmers market, then to a local art fair, and THEN a walk on the beach at sunset…. ahhhh.  I will remember this day until it’s barefoot season again next year. because even though it is still warm, we start celebrating shorter days now and well, time flies.   BUT, I managed to carve out my day in the kitchen!  And I knew when I went to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday, that Zucchini Pickles needed to happen NOW!


End of Summer Zucchini Pickles


Pickles are so easy to make.  I like to make “refrigerator pickles” because I really enjoy the crispness and freshness of the brined coins for as long as they last, foregoing the longer shelf life of the canner processed version I helped my grandmother put up in the summer as a child. I make pickles sans sugar!  I like the kosher dill variety of pickles, which basically refers to the New York style of processing vegetables in a salt brine, with the generous addition of dill and garlic.




The Ball Corporation, who produced the first glass canning jars in 1884,  gave us these “spring green canning jars” this year, and I think they are so beautiful! Antique jars have become quite expensive, but these lovely new ones are abundantly available to us and a lovely addition to the pantry.


Kosher Dill New York Style Pickle brine.


Fresh dill is so nice, and if you toss seeds out into the garden bed every few weeks, you will have these lacy fronds throughout the summer and into the fall. Once they flower, or “go to seed”, the plant will die, so toss out fresh seeds and keep the dill coming in your garden.




I love celebrating the season of bounty at the end of summer by putting pickles by. These pickles should last about 3 months or longer in the refrigerator, hence the name “refrigerator pickles” and the recipe and process is so simple and can be adapted to almost anything in the garden that you want to enjoy just a bit longer.


End of Summer Zucchini Pickles


My annual Labor Day hotdog would not be the same without a pickle on top, and this year it was sooo much better with a fresh from the farmer’s market Zucchini Dill Pickle!



 Happy End of Summer!!

End of Summer Zucchini Pickles
These crunchy Refrigerator Dill Pickles are not sweet, but have the salty, crunch of the season's fresh vegetables draped in dill and garlic! Yumm!
  • 1½ lb Fresh Summer Zucchini Squash
  • ½ small to medium Yellow or Sweet Onion
  • 1 whole Carrot
  • 5 or 6 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 tsp Yellow Mustard Seed
  • 1 tsp Black or Multi-colored Peppercorns
  • 2 sprigs Fresh Dill
  • 2 cups Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 cups Filtered Water
  1. Wash, dry and slice the zucchini coins. Place in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Allow to sit and "weep" some of the moisture out of the squash for about 30 minutes.
  2. Slice the coins of carrot and the onion. Add these vegetables to the zucchini coins and stir to combine.
  3. Gather seasonings together, including salt, black peppercorns, red pepper flakes, garlic cloves and mustard seed. Stir to combine the seasonings, and add to the sterilized pickle jars, dividing evenly between the jars.
  4. Pack the jars on top of the seasonings with the vegetables, adding a sprig of dill in the jar as it is packed from bottom to the top.
  5. In the meantime, heat the apple cider vinegar and water on the stove until it boils. Allow to cool slightly, then pour hot liquid over the packed fruit filled jars.
  6. Using a dinner knife, run the knife blade around the edge of the jar to release air trapped inside the vegetable coins.
  7. Cover the jar with it's canning lid and allow to cool on the counter. When the jar has cooled sufficiently, place in the refrigerator for keeping for 3-4 months.

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