Childhood Memories

I find it amazing when a person takes a bite or even just the smell of some foods how it can bring you back to a childhood memory. I had that happen to me this weekend, so much that I had goosebumps on my arms. It was magical.
Last Thursday I met one of my students at the Lodi Farmers Market to pick up produce for the upcoming class. He informed me that he had been to a lot of classes, i.e. pie filling, jam, chutney, jelly, hot sauce and even sausage making, but no pickling class. So of course I wanted to find something to pickle. We found some beautiful pickling cucumbers to make into dill pickle spears. We also found some green tomatoes. I was very excited to see them because I have been thinking about my great grandma’s pickled green tomatoes. We found some lovely peaches that will become Peach Bellini. We both were looking forward to having a fun filled day of canning. We started to talk about how we both heard that home canned Maraschino Cherries are out of this world, even if you don’t like Maraschino Cherries. We looked for cherries, but not one person had any. My student said he thinks Walnut Creek Produce had some and he would bring them to class.
I went home and started researching recipes for Maraschino Cherries. I found 4 or 5 recipes and thought they were doing it all wrong. So I did it my way… and typed up a recipe I thought would work well.

While I was doing research on Maraschino Cherries and I started thinking about Great Grandma’s Pickled Green Tomatoes started writing down what I could remember that was in those yummy pickled green tomatoes, so I called my sister and asked if she could remember what was in them. She said I never liked them and I think there was pumpkin pie spice. I said no wonder you didn’t like them, I will make them a lot better. I have an old pickling recipe book I got out and looked up Pickled Green Tomatoes and what I wrote down was pretty much right on.

The day of the class we started with coffee and home made cupcakes with a cream cheese frosting made with my Carrot Cake Preserves. I love that stuff. I had a small snack laid out with other goodies,  like pickled okra, jams, jelly and home made hummus. Later we sat down for lunch.

We worked with the green tomatoes first and the place was smelling like great grandma’s. I took a sample taste and it was as if I had walked back in time. All the hair on my arms were standing up with goosebumps.

I don’t know if it is the pickles or thinking about all that love in the jars that my grandparents put in them. Happy Canning

See you in class

Help Support Farmers


My sister came for a visit last year and found Lodi’s Certified Farmers Market not to far from my home. This market opens May 19th and runs through September 1st from 5pm to 8:30pm, every Thursday. The location is 35 S. School Street Lodi. It has the best fresh produce California has to offer. Farmers come from all over to sell their beautiful produce. Residents and visitors can also grab a bite to eat, order drinks, listen to live music, get fresh eggs, fresh flowers, local honey, organic soap and more.This is a laid back fun place to meet-up with friends or make new ones.

Last year I found a farmer with the best looking okra. I asked if I could order a box and that I would pick it up the following Thursday.
Yangs Farm (209)-354-1919 said yes, ‘call me Wednesday night’ I will pick it Thursday morning and have it set a side for you to pick up that night. I got the best buy ever 30 pounds for $40.00. I pickled it for my family. We all love pickled okra. I will be calling them this year.

A few weeks back we went to the market and found THE BEST apricots I have had in years. Once again I asked if I could get two boxes for the following week. Cipponer Family Farm (209) 669-6434 said yes, we will have two boxes set a side for you. I got 50 pounds for $50.00.They let me go home with the two nice plastic crates and said just bring them back or use them again with the next pick up. I smiled and said I like that. Very nice produce and people. I was in apricot heaven!

Farmers work so hard to provide us with gorgeous produce. So go to your local farmers markets and road side fruit stands. Help support them and eat fresh and local, which is always better. Get to know the people at the market and ask for boxes to save money and get the fresh produce you can. Cut out the middle man i.e… big stores like Safeway, Trade Joe, Raleys and Ralphs.
Happy Canning.

See you in class

Class Date Change


I have moved June 25th class to July 9th at 11:00am here at “The Farm .”  I also changed the two recipes to ” Old Fashioned Grape Jelly.”Just imagine when you were a kid and that big PBJ sandwich your mom made for you, but this one will be better. We will make it with a lot less sugar. You will be able to taste the grapes. The other recipe will be” Caramelized Onion and Red Wine Pizza Sauce.” This sauce has so much flavor you don’t need much more on your pizza. You will go home with a jar from each recipe. A little snack will be served and we will have a sit down lunch. Lunch will be pizza, salad, and ice cream sundae using our grape jelly.

See you in class