Posts Tagged ‘Pickles’

Heirloom 2.0 Intro Classes – updated event calendar

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

At the Scrumptious Pantry we believe in heirloom food values. We believe in the family farmer and bringing our customers great-tasting food. Food that inspires you in the kitchen and invites you to have a delicious meal with friends. We believe in passing recipes and skills down through generations, through family and friends. And that’s exactly why we’re introducing Heirloom 2.0, a new type of class series. The goal of Heirloom 2.0 is to help teach those heirloom skills to people who may not have gotten the chance to learn them from grandma, so you can proudly announce to the world: “Yes, I heirloom!”
Our monthly classes center around traditional food concepts. After the success of our urban foraging, seed saving and canning intros, we are excited to have some great co-hosts again, sharing their unmatched expertise.


Our bestselling Heirloom 2.0 class! It will be taught by Lee, the owner of The Scrumptious Pantry, and will discuss what to look for in produce, the basic steps in the canning/pickling process, how to ensure food safety, plus some of Lee's favorite heirloom recipes.

This intro is not a hands-on canning class, but a lecture with a step-by-step demonstration.

We will be touching on all the basics of canning, but we will be focusing a little more about pickling and demo that process, because the acidified foods are the more difficult ones - and the ones that post the highest risk if you do not do it right.

- choosing equipment (jars, hot water bath vs. pressure canner)
- to processes of jams, sauces, pickles
- how to choose your produce
- nutritional benefits of canned product - and what do you do with it once you have it stored in your pantry
- ingredient choices (which vinegars when your pickling for example - there will be snack and recipes, too!)
- good resources (books, online)

Cost is 25$, light snacks and handout included. Location The Scrumptious Pantry, 3230 W. Fullerton Ave., in the heart of Logan Square.

Date: Thursday, September 5, 2013

Time: 6.30pm -8.30opm

You can sign up for all those classes right here on dabble! We are looking forward to seeing you!

Putting the heirloom in pickle

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

I believe in canning, putting up the glory of summer for winter. I always loved the fresh tasting flavors of the quick refrigerator, but could not get around liking the store bought ones. Even the fancy brands seemed to be tasting too much like vinegar, salt and spices. To my palate that is. Hence I got my mind set on a line of pickles very soon - especially as here at The Scrumptious Pantry it is all about making foods that are connected with the culinary heritage of a region. If not pickles made in the Midwest, then where? All those immigrants from Germany, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe - pickling was their preferred choice of preserving the summer bounty.

And that is the keyword PRESERVE. We wanted to make pickles that preserve the flavor of the ingredients, accentuate the character of the veggies - not alter it to a point that if you took out the texture component and taste a pickle blindfolded you would be unable to identify the veggie.

Today, we are launching our first two products in the new line of pickles. It has been in the works for two years now. Our obsession with authenticity led us to put up jars and jars of pickles, trying every pickle recipe we could find in historic recipe books. Just for the fun of it, I just counted the open jars in my fridge that represent the various stages of testing (and which I am eating no matter how they taste cause I cannot throw food away. A salty dill pickle for example is great in an omelette w. potatoes) - 38 jars. I still have 38 open jars in my fridge, and 47 jars that have already been cleaned and stored away for the next round of testing. That equals 85 different test batches on four products. Now, surely that is not a lot of R&D for big food companies. It is a lot for us.

Besides canning batch after batch in the test kitchen, this project  led us to browse seed catalogues and speak with agricultural historians, in our quest to identify vegetables that have a history in the Midwest. With all the Polish & German immigration patterns beets made it onto our list pretty early in the process. The Giardiniera was decided on without much discussion, too, because this vegetable medley is the signature "vegetable preserve" of Chicago. The Lemon Cucumber we fell in love with at local Farmer's Markets. And then the Beaver Dam Pepper jumped out at us, when we were researching the Slow Food Arch of Taste – a listing of culturally significant varietals at the brink of extinction. The Beaver Dam Pepper was introduced to Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, around 1913 by an Hungarian immigrant. It has a mildly spicy flavor and is just delicious. But it is very difficult to grow – the peppers can get enormous, requiring to put up trellises. So although it was a great tasting pepper, it was abandoned in favor of the easier to grow varieties


                                                                                       John of Stone Circle Farm with a small (!) Beaver Dam Pepper

Luckily by word of mouth we found a farm in Reeseville – Stone Circle Farm – that had been growing some experimental Beaver Dam Pepper plants last year. And how excited we were to hear that John would be willing to give the Beaver Dam Pepper a try on a larger scale. He brought on another Farm close to Beaver Dam – Good Earth Farm- and we were ready to go. We had some setbacks and we had some great successes. Some beautiful peppers and some pretty ugly ones, scarred up with sunburn. The spice profile for brine we developed for the Beaver Dam Pepper was reminiscent of the flavors of Hungary, and we are pretty excited about what we think is a greatly balanced flavor, supporting the characteristic taste of the Beaver Dam Pepper.

Today, we are launching the Beaver Dam Pepper and the Lemon Cucumber. Giardiniera and beets should follow before Thanksgiving. We want to thank our Farmers - John, Nicole, Rink, Jenny, Alison, Alex, Andy and Dirk - for trusting us with their beautiful veggies. A special thank you also to all our taste testers, that might not have tasted through all 85 batches, but still ate a considerable amount of pickled veggies. I personally want to thank Andy Fair, my partner in the kitchen, for not giving up on me and my quest for the perfect preserved pickle.

All our pickles make great additions to a Cheese plate or as an antipasto, but my favorite match so far are slow cooked beans with pulled pork over rice and a Beaver Dam Pepper on the side. How do you like to eat our pickles? Have a taste and let us know! They are available in our online store and moving to your trusted retailers in these days, too.