Tag Archives | Hugh Acheson

A Canning Tee-Shirt to Benefit Seed Life Skills

Green canning tee-shirt with an image of canning jars on the front

Do you want to get an awesome canning tee-shirt and do some good? Here’s how.

Yesterday, Liana Krissoff, author of Canning for a New Generation*, launched a campaign on Teespring to help raise money for Seed Life Skills by selling cool canning tee-shirts. They are a nonprofit organization that is working to develop a home ec curriculum that is useful and relevant for today’s students (you might even say that it’s Home Ec for a New Generation).

Seed Life Skills was founded by Hugh Acheson after his disappointment with what his daughter was learning in her home ec program. After complaining to school administration, they challenged him to do it better and so he did. The students will learn any array of practical skills, like how to cook with real, whole food, how to minimize waste, how to can and preserve, how to mend their clothes, and also how to manage minor financial tasks like picking the best cell phone contract.

The program is launching this year in Athens, Georgia and the hope is that it will roll out across the country over the next couple of years. There is more about Seed Life Skills here.

Wanting to help, Liana teamed up with designer Jake Genen and he created the canning tee-shirt you see above. There are several versions up on Teespring and if enough people place orders, they will go into production. All the proceeds (minus taxes) will be donated to Seed Life Skills. The shirts are available until Thursday, June 16 at 11 pm.

*A new edition of Canning for a New Generation will be published next month, so if you’re thinking of pulling the trigger on a copy, consider waiting for the new one!

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Cookbooks: Pick a Pickle and Pickles & Preserves

two pickle books

We are in the thick of the canning season now. Pickling cucumbers are appearing in heaps at the farmers markets and orchards are selling summer stone fruit by the bushel basket. If ever there was a time to add a new recipe or two to your repertory, now is it.

This summer, there have been a few books that keep floating to the top of my stack as I search out a fresh crop of preserves. Two that I haven’t yet mentioned here on the blog are Pick a Pickle and Pickles and Preserves.

pick a pickle splayed

Pick a Pickle comes to us from celebrity chef and regular Top Chef judge, Hugh Acheson (he’s also a spokesperson for Ball). This charming but unwieldy paint chip-style books contains 50 recipes for a wide array of pickles, relishes, condiments, and vinegars.

I like the looks of many of the recipes in this book, but I find it so hard to physically maneuver that I keep getting frustrated and surrendering before ever managing to cook from it. I also find one element of the recipes slightly strange, in that he never gives processing times. Instead, we are told for all canning-safe recipes to, “Cap with lids and bands, cool for 2 hours, and then either refrigerate or process according to the jar manufacturer’s directions.”

classic chow chow

Knowing that processing time varies depending on density, acid content, and the size of the jars, it seems impossible to me that the jar manufacturer would have processing times available for the specific recipes Acheson has included in this book. It’s as if we are not actually expected to preserve from it.

Still, I find the ideas compelling enough that I regularly pick it up, read a few cards (just until inspiration strikes), and then head for the kitchen with a kernel of an idea that was born thanks to Pick a Pickle.

pickles & preserves

Next up is Pickles and Preserves by North Carolina-based food writer Andrea Weigl. Published by the University of North Carolina University Press, as part of their Savor the South series, this slim hardback book offers a carefully edited array of beloved southern preserves. You’ll find everything from sweet potato butter to a flexible batch of vegetable relish, designed to help use up odds and ends from an end-of-season garden.

corn sweet pepper relish

The only flaw that some might find in this book is its lack of photography. However, I found that Weigl is such an able writer that her words painted images enough to illustrate this collection. For lovers of southern preserves, as well as those looking for accessible recipes with a no-nonsense attitude, this book is a good one.

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