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Monday, January 24, 2011

The Root Cellar

I have always loved the feeling of rich black soil in my hands. Cool, damp and crumbly, smelling of last years maple leaves and spring rain, it warms my soul. Perhaps it rests in my genetics, (the great granddaughter of Nebraska pioneers) or perhaps it is some crazy hippy-Aquarian trait, but I am always restless in the spring until I can dig my fingers into the earth and reconnect with my garden. 

Twenty five years ago, our little family rented an old farmhouse west of Minneapolis near Cologne, Minnesota from a very successful German dairy farmer named Charlie. He had managed to buy up several adjoining properties and grew his active herd to over 100 cows that he milked twice a day. This area is home to a number of 'century farms', passed down for generations and also of truly black dirt, as deep down as you can dig it. A farmer's dream. 

Fresh greens at The Farm at St. Mathias
The barn on our rental property was a bit run down but all of the machine sheds were in good condition and still functioned as storage for numerous tractors, trucks and an old plow-horse yoke, now forgotten, still hanging and ready for service. A metal windmill standing on the edge of the front yard was once the water source for the property, it's pump mechanics now dismantled. It still lent an occasional long violin-squeak when a breeze blew, a sort of soft music I still find reminiscent of of that place whenever I hear it. 

The house was old but sturdy, a basic two-story Midwestern farmhouse with one fantastic feature; a true root cellar. The house was likely built in the 1920's or 30's and whomever designed it completely understood winter food storage. Covered steps led from the outdoors into the basement of the house directly to the heavy wooden door of the cellar. Most of the floor was open dirt, designed to control humidity with the addition of water as needed, and the rest cool concrete. A low vent from the heated basement let in just enough warmth to keep the room from freezing and another high vent on the opposite side let air flow to the outside. This kept cool, humid air circulating around the room, the perfect environment for storage of root vegetables, winter squash and rows of home canned tomatoes, jams, jellies and salsas. A single light bulb illuminated the room with its hanging pull-chain tinkling against the glass each time the string was pulled. 

Yam, Purple Peruvian, Yukon Gold, Pinks and Russian Fingerlings
When Arlene Jones showed up a few days ago with a bag of potatoes from the root cellar at The Farm at St. Mathias, my first instinct was to smell them. And there it was. I took in another full breath. The smell of earth. Even in January, after months in the cellar, these sleeping beauties - Russian Fingerlings, Yukons, Purple Peruvians and a pink variety I had not seen before, still held the scent of the dirt from which they had been dug. 

The smell of soil in mid winter seems a luxury in northern Minnesota when the garden lays hidden under feet of snow and will not show itself for months to come.

There is great satisfaction for me in preserving and storing food, independent of the local grocer. I think back to that little rented farm; Josh, learning to push a roto-tiller that was as tall as he was, both he and Justin eating peas right off the plants as they 'helped to harvest', and the daily winter ritual of going downstairs to the cellar to see what was for dinner. Preserving is to me, at once, life as it used to be and life as it is still. It is a connection with my great grandparents, who had no grocery store down the street to depend upon and a connection to those who grow the fresh local greens and roasted potatoes that
will become tonights supper from the cellar. Small world.

Mixed Potato “Hash”

This is a fun dish to make when you have access to a number of potato varieties and colors. Each lends it own texture and flavor to the dish. If you wish you can also add other root veggies such as parsnips and carrots. They need no preparation and can go directly into the saute pan with the onion and celery (but may need a little longer cooking).

  • 2 pounds mixed yams, Russian Fingerling and other heirloom variety potatoes, separated by type, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 4 uncured organic bacon slices
  • 3/4 cup rough chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup rough chopped celery
  • 2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Peel Yams. Add potatoes, one variety at a time; cover partially and cook until almost tender, about 10 minutes (or use several pots). Potatoes will cook further in saute pan with remaining ingredients.

Lift potatoes using a strainer, transfer potatoes to a large bowl. Return water in pot to boil, adding more as needed. Add sweet potatoes; cover partially and cook until potatoes still retain their shape and are about ½ cooked, about 5 minutes. Drain. Transfer to bowl with other potato varieties.

Meanwhile, cook bacon over medium heat until almost crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer bacon from pan and drain on paper towels. Rough chop and set aside.

Rough chopped veggies
Pour off all but 3 Tbsp drippings from skillet. Add onion and celery; cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add potatoes and chopped bacon to pan. Cover and cook until potatoes are tender and heated thoroughly.

Add brown sugar and vinegar and cook uncovered until potatoes are coated with glaze, about 2 minutes, tossing carefully as they cook. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Transfer potatoes to serving bowl. Sprinkle with fresh parsley.

Serves 6 as a main dish along with a fresh herbed mixed green salad. This is wonderful as part of a breakfast buffet.

 Ingredient Notes:
  • Boil potato varieties separately as they vary in firmness.
  • 'Rough chop' means to cut randomly and not too small
  • The parsley gives a fragrant note to the dish at the end. I use fresh herbs whenever I can.
  • This can be made as a vegetarian dish by substituting soy bacon and a little olive oil


The Farm at St. Mathias is a CSA - a privately owned community garden. They give free tours, host an annual Celtic Festival and are a leader in the Farm to School program in Northern Minnesota which brings fresh local organic foods to children direct from area farms.

You can also purchase food from the farm (as you would from a farmers market) when you visit even if you are not a subscriber to the CSA program.

I encourage you to take your kids, tour the farm (or one in your area), learn about local organic agriculture and shake the hand of the person who grows your food.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Tomato in Winter

When Kevin dropped off the perishables remaining in his cabin's refrigerator before he left to return to California recently, it was as if California itself was dropped at my door. Beautiful fresh lemons and limes, most of a dozen eggs from Carrie's birds at Petals and Beans, some fantastically fruity grape tomatoes and, with the very scent of summer itself in the midst of winter, fresh basil peeked out from one corner of the bag.

The next day, while Kevin was 'enjoying' driving through western Nebraska in the snow, I opened my refrigerator to that same summery-mint scent of basil. I thought of tearing a few of the leaves into a salad and then I remembered the grape tomatoes.

The flavors of summer
It seems odd to me to cook with fresh tomatoes in the winter, mainly because grocery store tomatoes at this time of year rarely taste anything like tomatoes. And also because if you grow your own during those few steamy months when they thrive in the northern garden (or more likely the greenhouse, this far north), you may have dozens of jars of canned tomatoes, salsas, sauces and relishes in your pantry, as I do, and don't often consider buying them in the winter.

The siren song of these remarkably fragrant fruits called for one thing alone – the freshest of tomato sauces over a small, twisted pile of Cappellini with a quick shaving of Parmigiano Reggiano on top. Fast, light, fresh and amazingly delicious, this is also an inexpensive meal and can be tossed together for one person or a crowd. If you think you don't have time to cook fresh food, here is proof positive that you can.

Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce
This is normally a quick fresh-from-the-garden summer dish. If you can find fresh tomatoes that taste like fresh tomatoes in the winter, this sauce will transport you back in time to a warm summer day. It is best with just a touch of good Parmigiano Reggiano cheese shaved on top.

2 Tbsp Pure Olive Oil
1 medium Shallot, julienne sliced or Sweet Yellow Onion
3 cups rough chopped Fresh Tomatoes
½ tsp Crushed Garlic
Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper
4-6 Fresh Basil leaves, julienned

Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan or saucepan. Add the sliced shallots and saute until softened but not browned.
Add the tomatoes.
Ready in a flash
Cook over medium-high heat until the tomatoes begin to soften. Add the crushed garlic and a little water, if needed to keep the sauce from sticking.
Taste and season with salt and pepper. If you wish, use a potato masher to press the tomatoes in the pan and break up the fruit, or leave it 'chunky'.
In the last few minutes of cooking, turn the heat to low and add the basil.
Serve over cappellini (angel hair) pasta and shave some Italian Parmigiano Reggiano cheese on top.
This is the ultimate fast food. By the time the pasta is finished cooking, your sauce should be finished. 

Ingredient Notes:
  • For as much press as “XVOO” has received in recent years, it is a delicate creature and should really be reserved for salad dressings or other fresh preparations. It is not intended to be heated. Save your money and buy 'Pure' olive oil for cooking, which will withstand a little higher temperature without losing its flavor.
  • Make this dish only with fragrant, flavorful tomatoes and fresh basil. This dish is all about fresh flavors. Any type of tomato is fine.
  • I love crushed garlic for the way it dissipates into the sauce instead of leaving little hot 'bits' of garlic in a dish as minced garlic does.
  • Italian Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is arguably the best of its kind on earth. It is not inexpensive but you only need a little of this hard grating cheese to add spectacular flavor to delicate dishes. And save the hard rind! You can use it to give richness to soup, stock or sauces. Ditch that nasty, powdered, fake 'cheese' that's been sitting in your refrigerator door for months.
  • Why use Kosher salt? Here's a test. Taste a little kosher salt. Tastes like salt, right? Now taste table salt. Taste like chemicals? That's because it is, in large part, chemicals. Using a purer product will give your food fresher flavor. Your body won't lack for iodine or 'anti-caking agents', I promise.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Stonehouse Roastery Part 2

Food of the gods - a Stonehouse Scone

I sit, golden retriever at my feet, sipping on a steamy cup of Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee, mulling over my latest visit to Stonehouse Roastery in Nisswa, Minnesota. Occasionally Maggie lifts her head, growls softly at some unseeable-to-me potential menace (squirrel) outside, then lays her head back down.

Is there anything better than a really good cup of coffee on a bright, wintry day? Yes. Coffee and scones.

Before you say anything, I am not talking about those nasty, ubiquitous, rock-hard scones, left languishing for days in the glass case of an ordinary coffee shop. Stonehouse Roastery, besides hand-crafting great coffee, happens also to be the home of what is, in my opinion, the best scone anywhere. Tender on the inside, chock full of fresh berries with a light sugar crust – this one goes on the OMG list. You won't believe it until you try it. I dragged my sister, visiting from Nebraska last summer, into the shop kicking and screaming to get her to taste one of these. She expected what we all have come to expect, a dry biscuit that even my dog would sooner bury than eat. But these...ooh la la. Mary still begs me to mail them to her.

The grinding stone
The 'new baby'
But I digress. I promised you news on the latest Stonehouse venture and you shall have it. A week ago, I stopped in and asked Mike French, owner of Stonehouse, about a rumor I had heard. As an over-enthusiastic baker, I was dying to know. Was it true?

“Come with me”, he said, “You've got to see this”. We walked down a back hallway to what I thought must be a storage room and he unlocked the door. In the middle of the room stood a huge, 7+ foot tall, lemon-cream colored machine. “This is the new baby”, he said. A true stone mill for grinding wheat flour. 

To the right, dozens of bags of Minnesota-grown hard red spring wheat* from the Red River Valley were stacked and ready for grinding. I was utterly impressed. FRESH, ORGANIC, STONE GROUND WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR in my own backyard? Life just got better. 

I brought home a few pounds to play with and this is a beautiful thing. It is virtually impossible to find freshly ground whole grain flour in this part of the state. The issue is that the fatty acids in the wheat germ in whole grain flour will go rancid after a couple of months of shelf life (or you can refrigerate/freeze it to preserve it longer) so major producers don't like to deal with it. But once you compare the flavor and texture of stone ground wheat in your breads, especially freshly ground flour, you will be hooked.

*(To you bread geeks out there: flour from hard red wheat is often preferred for artisan bread because of its relatively low protein levels, giving breads a crispier crust and a nice crumb. It also has a more defined 'wheaty' flavor.)

If you love whole grain seeded breads, this recipe is a good starting place. This makes a very wet dough that will keep in your refrigerator for days until you are ready to bake. It makes 3 good sized loaves.

Sharon's Stonehouse Wheat Oatmeal Bread
Don't let the ingredients list fool you. This is a simple to make, NO KNEAD hearty whole grain bread.

2 ¼ c lukewarm Water
1 c whole Milk
½ c pure Maple Syrup (I use Severt's Woods Maple Syrup – local and delicious)
2 Tbsp Yeast
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
1/3 c melted Butter OR cold pressed Sunflower Oil
½ c Malted Wheat Flakes (available from King Arthur Flour)
¼ c Flax Seeds
½ c Sunflower Seeds
½ c Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
½ c Oat Bran
1/3 c Wheat Bran
1 c organic Rolled Oats
1 ½ c Stonehouse organic stone ground Whole Wheat Flour
3 ¼ c Unbleached organic AP Flour
1 c Raisins
1 c lightly toasted Walnut pieces
Ready for the oven

This is a no-knead bread. Simply mix the ingredients together until well combined to make a wet dough. Let the dough stand, covered, at a warm room temperature for about 2 hours. It will rise and fall – perfect. It is just doing it's job. Once the dough has fallen you can either bake the dough immediately or place it in your refrigerator to bake in the next few days.

Shape the loaves, let them rise and give them a 'slash' with a sharp knife or clean razor just before baking to prevent a torn look to the dough. Bake at 420 degrees for 20-30 minutes until a deep golden brown. Makes 3 big loaves.

  • If you bake the dough the day you make it, you may wish to bake it in a pan to give it more shape. Once chilled, the dough becomes firmer and can easily be shaped into free form loaves and baked on a stone.
  • You can vary the type of seeds, nuts and grains to suit your taste and what you happen to have on hand in your pantry.
  • Store whole grain bread uncovered, cut side down on a clean countertop or bread board. The bread will keep well for days. Storing the bread in plastic encourages moisture buildup and mold as well as 'messing' with the texture.
  • I use a preheated bread stone inside my oven. You can purchase unglazed clay tiles that work just as well for about 50 cents each at your local home store.

Learn more about no-knead breads from my previous blog: 'What Happened to my Peanut Butter Sandwich'

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Sense of Place

Artwork in basket by Samantha French

For as long as I can remember, my mother has sat down in the afternoon for what she has always described as “a nice hot cup of tea”. Perhaps it was a holdover from her childhood, some symbol of her Irish heritage passed on to her from her grandparents or perhaps it was just her personal celebration of quiet. 

For many years at that time of day, the current baby of her nine would likely be napping and the older children not yet home from school. Was this her time to come back to center before the hectic second half of the day?

I tend to be something of a hermit if left to my own devices (that ritual cup of tea, or more likely afternoon coffee at home, having been passed down to me) but on this lightly snowing winter day, I do what all the locals do and head to the neighborhood coffee shop.

nectar of the gods

In my day (do those three words make me look old?) the local coffee shop was Harold's in Florence, on the corner of 30th and State streets in Omaha, Nebraska. More like Hemingway's 'A Clean Well Lighted Place' in my mind, 'old people' sitting alone drinking coffee seemed depressing; surely they had no place else to go, nothing to do.


As I enter Stonehouse Roastery in Nisswa, a few miles from my house, I greet Lyle from the City Council, chat for a moment with Dianne, a local caterer, then sit alone with my coffee and my thoughts quite contentedly. 

 I move over a little to allow a young couple, shopping for a new French press to look over the selection. They smile at me and give me a sort of sad, apologetic look, as though I have become one of the 'old people' having coffee alone at Harold's. I smile at them and suddenly in my mind, there is a paradigm shift. I begin to have a different take on Harold's and its place in my universe.

Maybe 'alone' is perspective. This isn't depressing, it is calm; warm; familiar. The artwork on the walls, beautiful impressionistic paintings of people swimming underwater or standing together at the beach, contrast starkly with the snow that now blankets my car just outside the window. The images capture a moment in time. Maybe this cup of coffee fills that same need for me. It slows me down and allows me to stop, breathe and celebrate my own quiet on a snowy January afternoon.


When Mike French started roasting coffee some 10+ years ago, his successes were spread among his undoubtedly very happy friends. “There was a lot of bad stuff too,” says Mike, “but that got dumped in the woods”. Luckily for us, he mastered the skill of coffee roastery and now brings us his beautiful blends. Black Pearl, his best selling coffee is a blend of 3 carefully selected beans in a medium-dark roast. It's rich deep aroma fills my head and there is no hint of that burnt-black bean so commonly sold in coffee shops elsewhere. This is coffee art.


Mike invites me into the roastery, introduces me to his son Nathan (who now does most of the roasting) and produces a gorgeous product from green, almost herbal smelling beans to a perfectly even-roasted and finished bean before my eyes in about 15 minutes. As the beans come to the final stage of roasting they being to pop, popcorn-like, as they cool. The room is filled with the strong scent of freshly toasted coffee beans as they pour out of their roasting chamber. To my astonishment, the entire batch is cool to the touch in a matter of minutes. 

About 75% of the beans Stonehouse buys are Organic or Fair Trade coffees but Mike insists that this is not by design. “I buy the best coffee I can find and it happens that most of it is organically grown.” As a chef, I appreciate his candor. It is great to support an important cause, but can I get a good product too?

His beans are sourced from around the world, including a Kenyan bean with a price tag of over $1000/bag or about $10 per pound as a raw product. Consider that beans shrink by about 1/3 in the roasting process and you can easily do the math on the finished price. Is it extraordinary coffee? Yes.

Another spectacular find was from PT Toarco Jaya in Sulawesi, Indonesia. This is a difficult to find, very high quality bean also produced by certified organic standards. The farm uses only 60% of their property for cultivation in coffee and retains 40% naturally forested lands.

If you really dig your Folgers, this type of coffee is clearly a waste of your money but if you do appreciate the good stuff, ditching the chain stores and savoring a hand roasted product is definitely the way to go.

Do they ship, you ask? Yes, but you have to know someone. Okay, okay, you don't actually have to know someone, you just have to call them: 218-961-2326.

Check back tomorrow for news on
Stonehouse Roastery's NEWEST VENTURE.
Hint: You bakers are going to love this...

Monday, January 10, 2011


Maggie, hoping for a spill
I guess I could be digging through paperwork, organizing invoices and preparing taxes this time of year but procrastination, being one of the things I do best, takes me to a variation on the theme of organization. Instead, I am digging through my pantry, measuring what needs to be used up in the myriad jars of nuts, grains and flours.

As the 6th of 9 children, I learned to cook in very large batches. I tend to buy ingredients in bulk when I can find them at a good price, use what I can and store the rest. Sounds great and it is, except that fresh ingredients like nuts and whole grain flour have a shelf life and will eventually go rancid unless you use them or freeze them. 

Toasted fresh coconut, nuts and seeds, bits of dried fruits

After the holiday baking extravaganza that takes place each year at my house I tend to have lots of nuts, seeds and dried fruits in various amounts in a dozen or so jars around the kitchen. 

 I make my list – Semolina flour and sesame seeds? A natural combo for semolina bread. Red Lentils? Mmmm. Soup with those root vegetables in the frig. Hmm. Random amounts of raisins, dried cherries, pepitas, pistachios....and oats. Aha. Granola. I look in the 'stash' my husband keeps in the pantry. 3 Clif Bars and 1 last package of granola, still perfectly vacuum sealed from the last batch months ago. Now that's timing. 

Ready to go

Woody, an avid hiker, backpacker and deer hunter carries small packages of this homemade goodness with him on each trip. He is, as I write, in the adjoining room spreading camping gear across the floor and carefully weighing the merits of each item he packs for his upcoming backpacking trip to Anza-Borrego Park in California. He smells the granola and hovers for a moment. “What's in this batch? Pistachios? Dried Cherries! Wow.”

I love the taste of fresh, unsweetened coconut and it is all but impossible to find it in my small town unless you prepare it yourself. I did buy a fresh coconut a few days ago, clearly in some weird, psychic anticipation of this moment. 


I head for the concrete floor downstairs, hammer a nail into the 'eyes' and drain the liquid from the hairy beast. Then, the real hammering begins. Two good cracks with a ball peen hammer does it and the beautiful white flesh of the coconut is exposed. A little prying with a butter knife and soon I have separated the sweet meat from its seemingly impenetrable shell. A quick rinse and it is ready to shred. 

Toasting is a simple process of not-too-high heat and paying attention (again, not my strong suit). I set the timer: 325 degrees for 10 minutes, stir, repeat. Toasting fresh coconut is as much about drying the shreds as it is toasting and once it is lightly golden and mostly dry, we are good to go. I repeat the process with the oats and the nuts and gather the rest of my ingredients. The joy of this “recipe” is that it is always a variation. The total amount made and number of ingredients depends upon what you want to use up.

Maggie waits nearby in readiness for any spilled ingredients, eager to 'help' with cleanup. I toss together the mixture, heat it through, add the fruit and let it cool. It's a little fussy preparing the parts but couldn't be simpler. The real satisfaction is two-fold. First, using up all those bits of goodness that might be lost in the shuffle of the pantry for months to come. Second? The twinkle in the eye of my happiest of campers, ready to sample what will become the reminder of a warm home while he treks some far off wilderness on his next adventure. 

Woody's Granola
This recipe can be varied in infinite ways. Nuts, no nuts. 1 fruit, no fruit. Don't have a coconut? Leave it out. My constants are organic oats and fresh coconut (because I like it). Virtually everything else can be changed in amount left out or substituted. Play with spice and ingredients to come up with your own favorite.

1 medium fresh coconut, cleaned, shredded & toasted
4-5 cups organic rolled oats, lightly toasted
1 cup hulled pistachios, lightly toasted
1 cup pepitas, toasted and lightly salted
½ cup sunflower seeds, toasted and lightly salted

¼ c butter
½ cup honey
½ cup real maple syrup
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla (I use Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla)
¼ tsp kosher salt – more or less to your taste

½ cup dried apricots, diced
¾ cup dried cherries
1 cup dark raisins
½ cup golden raisins

Toast all nuts, seeds, oats and coconut separately, then combine. Melt the butter, honey, maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla together. Pour over oat and nut mixture and mix well. Pour onto cookie sheets and bake in a 325 degree oven until just lightly toasted – about 20-25 minutes, stirring twice. Pour into a large bowl, add dried fruits and stir to mix in thoroughly.

Let cool completely and vacuum seal in individual portions or store at room temperature in glass jars.

Makes a large batch of granola - about 3½#

Friday, January 7, 2011

Nature's Winter Magic

In a matter of days, the landscape around us has become magical. The trees are heavy laden with ice and flocked with snow, some bent nearly to the ground under the weight. The sunlight through the trees in our little forest literally glitters as it refracts against the ice-tipped branches. I expect to see the White Witch of Narnia in her horse drawn sleigh come gliding down the road at any moment.

Adding to the wild feeling of the place, our local owl sat in a tree just 20 or so feet from the house a few days ago and snatched a squirrel from the snow under the bird feeder before our eyes; his heavy wing beat impressions left in the snow.

Seed catalogs have begin to arrive, bringing news of the coming spring season but in this part of the world the garden is still five months distant. There is plenty of time to read up on the latest garden inventions and oldest heirloom tomatoes in the deep blue light of early evening. Most of our neighbors have left for the season, seeking out warmer climates. We will join them soon for a few weeks but for now I am loathe to leave. There is something about being nestled into the woods, snowed in and unable to let the world interfere with the quiet that I love.

It is in this Midwinter season, following the holidays, that I enjoy catching up with friends and celebrate nothing but our connection with each other. That ancient (vs. religious) notion of communion: breaking bread together and communicating as much through a meal as in our conversation feels right to me somehow.

Perhaps we will have time tomorrow to dig out the deep snow from around the fire pit in the yard for our annual cleansing fire. For years, sometime between the Winter Solstice and the end of January, we have built a fire to burn those things (either physically or symbolically) that we don't wish to carry with us into the new year. Add a little dried sage from last summer's garden to the fire for purity, the spirit of friends sharing its warmth, a little Caribbean rum and it becomes a wonderful beginning to the new year.

This is also the time of year when I am canning and sharing my most treasured kitchen concoctions. It took me years to come up with the idea of freezing fruits in the summer when they are ripe and I am furiously working in the garden. I can them in the heart of winter when the warmth and smells of summer fruit take you back to the day you picked them. Some fruits are elusive to me in small town Minnesota but some, like fresh Lingonberries, show up because of the deep Scandinavian roots of this place. When I saw them at Morey's Market in Baxter I bought them up and headed for my jam pot with glee.

Lingonberries are a cousin to the cranberry and grow in some of the coldest regions on earth. This tundra-hearty fruit is not inexpensive but is a wonderful accompaniment to game or just used as a spread on heavily seeded whole wheat toast on a cold morning. If you can find them fresh or frozen, you can easily waterbath can them and keep the jars in your pantry for use year round. If you can't find them, you can substitute those frozen cranberries in your freezer for the lingonberries.

Nutty Orange Lingonberry Conserve
A conserve is a type of chunky, whole fruit jam which often contains nuts. Marvelous on whole grain breads or served with meats or cheese.

1 c chopped seeded Orange, rind on
2 c Water
4 c Lingonberries
½ c Raisins
3 c Sugar
¼ c Port Wine
½ c lightly toasted Walnuts or Pecans

Combine water and chopped Orange in a saucepan and cook rapidly until tender, about 15-20 minutes.
Add Raisins and Lingonberries. Stir in sugar until dissolved. Slowly bring to a boil. Boil gently, stirring, about 8 minutes or until thickened. Add Port and Nuts. Cook 5 minutes more, stirring.

Jars of Lingonberry Sauce, Lingonberry Rum Relish & Lingonberry Conserve

Ladle into hot, sterilized jars, leaving ¼” headspace. Seal and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes for pints or ½ pints.

Makes about 4:½ pints.