Wild Tundra Blueberry Jam

Gathering the blues… Growing up above the Arctic Circle in rural Alaska, blueberries were the only treat we needed and it was the only dessert we wanted. We’d have them fresh during the summer and then frozen in the winter, but my favorite was blueberry jam on a fresh bread roll from the oven. The whole family would go out picking berries and on a good windy day, we’d be out all day well into the evening. While picking our only sense of time was the position of the sun Read More …

Make Your Own Wild Game Stock, It’s Easy!

                  With the shorter days and snow on the ground, hearty soups and stews are often on the menu. A good stock is the foundation of these recipes as well as the base for many sauces and gravies. If you hunt game meat, or know someone who does, don’t let those wonderful bones go to waste. Making your own stock from moose, caribou, or beef is surprisingly simple. A wild game stock can be used in any recipe that calls for chicken Read More …

Simply Smoked Salmon

Everyone in Alaska smokes salmon, right? It’s in our blood. We just know what to do. Chances are you have a section in the food preservation department of the garage that is dedicated to salmon smoking paraphernalia. This department we visit throughout the year to replenish jars or stash more Food Saver bags when we find them on sale, but at a minimum we take inventory right before the salmon runs are expected so we aren’t caught short handed. There’s nothing worse than having fresh salmon ready to brine, running Read More …

Pemmican is a Simple and Inexpensive High-Energy Food

What is Pemmican? Native Americans needed a simple and reliable source of high-energy food packed with lots and lots of calories in order to sustain their outdoor lifestyle, so they developed pemmican. Today, persons who live and work in the outdoors can burn up to 4500 calories per day; therefore, a food source which is light, concentrated and has a long shelf-life is essential for those of us who wish to travel on foot in the bush. Hunters, trappers, fishermen, miners, hikers, cross-country skiers and anybody who burns a lot Read More …

Making Peace with Green Tomatoes

I used to be so angry when summer ended and I would have so many green (unripe) tomatoes. Now I accept, and embrace the bounty of green fruit. I will share with you some tips of ripening these green tomatoes, and then recipes for the ones that never turn. The Ripening There are a few different options to ripen a tomato. You could cut your whole plant down, with tomatoes still attached, and hang in your garage or crawl space.  Another option is to pick all your green tomatoes and Read More …

From Bickles to Zickles

Every Alaskan gardener eventually runs up against the end of the season and a plethora of produce.Then comes the problem of what to do with it to actually get people to consume it! I’ve heard of people dropping extra zucchini on unsuspecting door steps, and even putting them in random cars in the parking lot. You’re tired of “zuke dogs” right, you couldn’t grill another zuke, or deep fry it to save your life at this point. You’ve had kale every which way that can be imagined. You’ve had bush Read More …

City Girl Gone–How I Became an Alaska Gardener

RAISED BY CITY PEOPLE Raised by Amsterdam Dutch parents in Seattle, I grew up in a landscape surrounded by flowers. My family bought food fresh and in small quantities from the local market, bakeries and butchers. Quality bread, produce, meats and cheeses were a must. My father prepared gourmet meals for a family of six, complete with garnishments. Dinner was a semi-formal family affair. Semi-formal meaning we were expected to use proper table etiquette. We ate as a family around a solid oak table and the conversation was always fun Read More …

Easy Blanching for Winter Feasting

The Wonders of Food Preservation   As delicious as fresh produce straight from the garden can be, most of the time we hobby gardeners have too much to eat all at once, and we must choose what to do with the extra! Some give their surplus garden bounty away. The other day, a co-worker of mine offered to buy my extras from me. But the best choice in my mind is to preserve them for winter eating! There is nothing like the satisfaction of knowing I have a freezer full Read More …

Perilla (shiso)-bring out the flavor of sushi

What is the Perilla (Shiso)? Perilla is a traditional Japanese herb with refreshing, aromatic, green-frilled leaves. It is called Shiso in Japanese. The plant has tender, flat and soft-textured leaves that are very popular for using in Sushi. It is also known as beefsteak plant. Perilla is a bushing plant. It is also grown as sprouts or micro-greens. As the plant matures, you can pinch off leaves for use which promotes branching and leaf production. I am interested in Asian vegetables and herbs. Every year I grow this plant from Read More …