Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It by Karen Solomon

One of the things that I’ve found most delightful about the growing hand-made, do-it-yourself trend has been the number of downright lovely books that have accompanied it. My favorite, which hit stores about this time last year, is Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It by Karen Solomon.

This is a fantastic book for the folks who really want to begin to break away from the grocery store, but need a little bit of help making the transition. I’m particularly partial to the Rosemary and Olive Oil cracker recipe Karen included (Erin blogged about it here, if you want to see pictures and peek at the recipe).

Karen’s instructions are crystal clear and the book is full of great projects for anyone who wants to expand their kitchen ambitions.

This post was originally a giveaway, but I’ve edited it to remove the giveaway language because I wanted to simply have a page dedicated to Karen’s lovely book.

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380 responses to “Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It by Karen Solomon”

  1. probably the first thing I ever cooked from scratch that I had previously only used storebought would be chicken broth…still make it once a week or every other week, we use up a lot of it these days πŸ™‚

  2. I remember making blackberry jam with my mom for the first time in her big black pot and that she kept telling me to scoot my stool away from the stove!

  3. Well, I’m not sure if it was the “first” thing ever, but I can tell you that since the first time I made salad dressing, I’ve never purchased a one. I guess now I’m just not sure why you’d ever buy it. Even the most simple thing you could make is easy, cheap, and so much better (that’s what she said!).

  4. My friends and I love your blog! This book would be an excellent source of technical guidance for our canning parties!

  5. I recently made my first batch of kombucha, after buying the expensive stuff in stores. It is almost ready and I can’t wait to taste it. After the first fermentation it was pretty good, and I’m hoping the addition of some ginger will make it even better. I’m also hoping it won’t kill me πŸ™‚

    Lately I’ve also been making poor (& hurried) gal’s jam, just boiling down some frozen berries w/ sugar and lemon, so that I can spread it on biscuits. Just takes a few minutes and it’s already better than the jarred stuff in stores! But this summer I want to do some canning for reals. Haven’t done that since my mom and I made grape jelly back when I was a kid.

  6. I had my first experience with canning last summer. We made basic raspberry jam, and it was just the best experience. My mom and her best friend showed me what to do, and I had such a great time learning from them how to can. We have enjoyed the jam all year, and I can’t wait to do it again this summer. I’m planning on canning more homemade preserves to give out as wedding favors at my wedding next summer.

  7. The first time I made something scratch that I’d only ever bought before was the first summer we subscribed to a CSA, when we found ourselves drowning in tomatoes in September. We discovered that not only is homemade tomato sauce easy to make, but it is SO much better than anything you could buy in a store.

  8. Bread was probably my first, but the one that really changed my thinking was yogurt. It flipped something in my brain, and I thought, “if I can make yogurt cheaper, healthier and tastier than that which I can buy at the store, what else have they been hiding from me?” Now I consider the possibility of making all of the premade products I use, even if I don’t end up making them.

  9. When I was about 8 I made butter for the first time. I thought I was so smart, finding a jar and a couple marbles and then shaking the cream for (what seemed like) hours. My Mom couldn’t figure out WHAT I was doing! When I showed her the butter though, I was so proud. And the taste! Wow! From then on I was hooked on making things from scratch. I couldn’t figure out why we didn’t make our own butter all the time!

  10. Homemade butter was a revelation. I started with raw, un-homogenized milk, skimmed the cream off the top, and made butter from that. Simply melted over some Spring peas, it was amazing.

  11. I used to buy those $3.50 bottles of kombucha, until I found a free scoby on craigslist from a local commune. The guy there gave me some tips on good teas, and I’ve been brewing ever since. Now I keep two rolling batches: green tea and herbal fruit punch tea. Store-bought kombucha tends to be weak and sugary, but mine is as sour as I choose.

  12. In high school, we made donuts from scratch, but that was YEARS ago!! When I was first living on my own (again, years ago!), I found a recipe for beer batter bread and made that often. In more recent years, the things I’m most proud of making are certain baked goods that I’d been scared to have a go at — pie crust (homemade apple pie), cinnamon rolls, pizza dough, and yeast bread.

    The marshmallows on the cover of that book look so tasty!

  13. Just in the last few months I made my first loaf of real yeast bread (one that has to rise and such, not a quickbread). I was always so intimidated to try and tackle this, as I have had to teach myself how to cook; my mother knows how to make a few simple things but she hates to cook, and my grandmothers, who could, really never wanted to spend the time teaching me. It’s been an adventure baking up these steaming, crusty loaves, and I could kick myself for never jumping on it before! It’s so much fun getting your hands into that dough, very cathartic and stress-relieving, to knead and punch down, and have this amazing vehicle for local-churned butter pop out of the oven a short time later! I love a good bread and previously went out of my way to buy from a local organic bakery…but no more!

    I’m in the midst of transitioning to a new job that will unfortunately be a significant pay cut for me but will afford me a normal schedule (no weekends, evenings or holidays), rather than the chaotic, slave-like one I’ve been on. In an effort to be more frugal, in addition to being greener, more self-sufficient, and just plain having the desire to learn, I’ve made this year into a mission to fine-tune already developed skills/cooking, and learn new ones (like bread, pie crusts, and canning!!!). I’m slowly adding more and more projects to my itinerary, and this book would be a huge help! πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for opportunity to win it!

  14. I don’t remember the first thing I ever made from scratch but I am currently pretty pleased with myself for making yogurt. I know it involves heating milk and leaving it to its own devices but it worked its magic and I am impressed! Another huge one was homemade ice cream.

    Evelyn: homemade chicken stock is the best!

  15. I’ve got my first batch of creme fraiche in my fridge – inspirsed by you – awaiting some wonderfulness this weekend.

    Oh, and I love making my own yogurt. Blows people’s minds when they find out you can do it at home.

  16. I remember attempting to make bread, I was a teen and it failed. Every year I say I am going to make jam but then I get scared I am going to mess it up. Hmm, jam and mustard, this summer, I promise!

  17. I would LOVE to have that book. Two years ago I started making my own ketchup. Our family uses about 5 pints of ketchup a year and I personally did not like that a main ingredient was HFCS. I make my own from lovely red vine-ripened tomatoes and cane sugar and then can it. I have also not bought any pre-packaged pickles of any kind for the last two years and I would love to find even more products I can do myself.

  18. I made yogurt in my crock pot last year. Something about seeing it as a liquid at night, and then set up the next morning, was really cool.

  19. I don’t remember the first time I made anything from scratch, if that’s what you’re after. But I remember the first time I made Chinese dumplings from scratch. No, I don’t mean buying store-bought wrappers and filling them with a little ground pork. I mean making a hundred Xiao Long Bao wrappers from scratch. The recipe seemed simpleβ€”just flour and waterβ€”but it took all afternoon. You had to form a ring out of the dough and stretch it out hand over hand until you had a rope approximately six feet long. After cutting it into single servings and rolling them all out, I swore I would never do it again. But when I actually made the dumplings, they were so pliable, so easily shaped, so evenly cooked, that I swore I was never going to use store bought wrappers again. So yeah, I froze up. I never made dumplings again.

  20. I don’t know what the first thing I made from scratch was, I have been cooking since I was young. But the most recent thing I started making from scratch is Ranch Dressing it is so good and so much cheaper than those packets. Oh and also been making my own yogurt and roasting coffee beans.

  21. I made raspberry jam just after we moved to Bellingham. It was the first jam I had ever made. The berries almost cooked themselves in the sunny fields of Lynden.
    Best of all, my daughters got turned on by the process and insist every year that we put up more.
    I happily oblige

  22. Kombucha! I brewed batches and batches of kombucha. However my palate was so used to the synergy brand, it took awhile to adjust to the flavor. Would LOVE the book. Have been admiring it for awhile. Will start with a pickle recipe should I be the lucky winner!

  23. Bread. It was Christmas-time about three years ago and I was staying at my sister’s house. She has one of those big (to me) Kithchenaid mixers and I decided to try and make some bread for the Christmas meal. I’d seen my syster make cakes, bread, etc and thought it’d be pretty straightforward. Indeed it was. Since then, I’ve bought my own breadmaker (I live in a studio apartment and space is at a premium). I use it just as the mixer, to make the dough and bake the bread in the oven. Now I make bread, rolls, bagels (still experimenting with the boiling), and my own pizza dough.

    It all tastes better and I know what’s going in it and how old it is.

  24. I made jam for the first time last fall. My husband and I immediately fell in love with it, and it was so fun to make food that has lasted us all winter out of fruit we have grown ourselves. Its truly a awesome feeling and it taste soooooo good!!!

  25. This wasn’t the first time I made something from scratch, but after trying and falling in love with Annie’s Goddess salad dressing, I decided to try to recreate it from scratch. I looked at the ingredient list, nixed the xanthan gum and made a very decent & very delicious replica. Yum. And I do have to mention that I really want a peek at this book (I’ve been on the waiting list for ages at the local library), so if I could win a copy that would be the best. You know, just saying πŸ™‚

  26. I did my first canning last summer. I started with pickles, my son and I could not wait for six weeks to open them and cracked a jar open the next day πŸ™‚ I made another 25 pounds the next weekend. I also made salsa, huckleberry jam, and pickled bean, and jalapenos. I am hooked on canning and can’t wait to get my garden planted for this years canning.

  27. First thing I made from scratch and taught myself how to can it was a Cranberry Chutney. Now it is a stable for all my family and friends each Thanksgiving. I moved on to jams – Strawberry, Plum and a 3 Berry one. For years I have been making a Hot & Sweet Mustard every year just before Easter. Bread & Butter pickles in late summer. It’s Cranberry & Pistachio biscotti and Sweet/Spicy Mixed nuts at Christmas. Almost every week I make homemade salad dressing – a garlicky vinaigrette. Moved on to no-knead bread recently. Always looking for new things to try.

  28. I just made some homemade chocolate syrup, the kind you put in chocolate milk. I ALWAYS put it in my coffee and am always running out. We do not live in town so I finally had no option but to see if there was a recipe out there and sure enough! I will not go back to the other stuff, this is too easy and very good. I made a double batch but with it being so rich I don’t use as much so hopefully we will go through it fast enough. (With three boys around I usually don’t have to worry about things getting bad!) Shorty

  29. I remember the first time I made mayonnaise — it may not have been the first thing I made that I’d previously only bought, but it was the earliest extremely-memorable one. I put it on *everything*, until it was all gone.

  30. Seeing my mother and granmother making strawberry jam, tomato ketchup and pimbina jelly and, in another area, baking bread, and a bit later, learning these techniques from them, are some of my dearest childhood and teenage memories. I still make my own preserves and my fiancΓ© and rarely buy bread: we rely on my sourdough loaves. So I can’t remember my very first diy experience, but making my own food from scratch is a very rewarding and rich (both emotionally and even spiritualy) part of my life.

  31. I can’t pick just one – Mayonaise made with olive oil in my Vitamix it is super easy and tastes great and Cream of mushroom soup – I don’t know why it took me so long as I make all kinds of other soups – I think it was because it is a cream base – again super easy and the taste is amazing. Ohh and steel cut oatmeal I bake it with a couple eggs and traditional oatmeal add-ins – you will never ever want instant oatmeal again. I have really changed the way we eat and am loving it – nothing is as hard as I imagined and everthing tastes way better. I have only canned apple sauce once and really want to try more this fall.

  32. ooo that sounds like a fantastic book! the first time i made cheese was pretty fun and unusual. it was difficult hanging it up in the cheesecloth to drain, i suspended it in a juice jug in my fridge, hanging from a wooden spoon. the cheese was soft and a bit too tangy, but with pumpkin waffles, cherry tomatoes and chives, it was delicious. next up, i think i’ll try ricotta!

  33. I grew up canning tons of stuff… I remember being about 6 or 7 and my job was to break the cauliflower into florets for a hot pepper mix we were making. Most recently though I made marshmallows for the first time…at 29. πŸ™‚

  34. I want to be that awesome person who has yogurt forming in her warm oven, mushrooms growing on sawdust in her pantry, and vegetables pickling on jars on her countertop. But I’m just a lazy disillusioned graduate student in a 300 sq ft basement efficiency with a teeny tiny kitchenette, but a girl can dream. I would love to win a copy of this book to fuel my fantasies and hopefully one day make my dreams a reality!

  35. The first time I made a salad dressing as opposed to buying it….. I added way too many shallots! It was overwhelming….but the next time I made the vinaigrette it came out wonderful and I was completely hooked on homemade dressings!

  36. Pickled Okra from pods I had grown. So much better tasting and economical than the little jars at the store. I am looking forward to canning much more this summer and fall. I really enjoy your blog. Thanks for sharing.

  37. It maybe is not the first thing I’ve ever made from scratch, but it is the one thing that I will never, ever buy from the store again. Pancake/waffle mix!! Never again. I’ve made so much pancake mix from scratch at this point I could do it in my sleep. I’ve also managed to spoil my boyfriend—we’ve gone out to eat several times and he’s gotten pancakes only to look at me with disappointment half way through breakfast and say “yours are better.”

  38. First thing? I attempted to make bread back when I was about 13 years old but it didn’t turn out very well. Go figure. I’ve been into making things from scratch my whole life (it’s fun!), but I really started up with it January of 2009 with pickles, jams (thanks to help from this site), chutneys, salad dressings, stocks, etc. My fiance and I decided to grow a big heirloom garden and had to do something with all the food! It’s like a whole new world and there’s so much I still don’t know…

  39. Though it wasn’t the very first thing I ever made from scratch, I tried my hand at canning last summer. And because I don’t believe in doing things halfway, I couldn’t just try out something petite and simple. Did I try a simple jam? No. Did I try canning tomatoes? Not until later. Did I can Eugenia Bone’s “Cherries in Wine” and spend an entire day pitting cherries? Yes.
    Years of my life went into those jars… and they were worth every minute! So tasty! And a hell of a lot better than maraschinos!
    I LOVE this book — in fact, I just returned it, late, to the library. Pick me, pick me!

  40. A couple of months ago I had 2 kg of pumpkin and decided to try and make compote for the first time… Let’s just say I followed a “not so good” recipe and although the end result was not bad, after a few days hard crystal sugar came to surface. Still not sure what went wrong, but will try again soon!

  41. The first time I made cheese cake, I made a pumpkin cheesecake for Halloween. It looked perfect. When my brother took it out of the fidge at his party it flipped over and landed on a very dirty floor. That was the last time I made cheese cake!

  42. Which 1st time to choose from? Expecially since I can’t seem to remember the very first…There are many things that I never will willing buy again at a supermarket but for the lack of time!
    Butter, bread, yogurt, saurcrout, snaps, beer, pie crust, chesnut jam, pickled lemons ,crackers, pesto, granola,… I wish I could just grow, make and preserve everything! I’m really just at the beginning of this adventure. Being poor and living in the city doesn’t help but I am determined. I’ve been avidly reading your blog. I need all the help I can get!
    Since I can’t really remember my first experience I will relate the last:
    Last week I was about to toss out some leftover organic orange peels when I remembered a friend saying that making canied orange peels was easy. Well some people’s idea of easy was very subjective! But I really loath tossing anything I can transform and use! And canied orange peels are so good and very spendy!
    So I tried, and it was easy and they are delicious!
    The only problem is that I scrupulously followed the recipe which called for draining the peels and then putting them out on some paper towels to dry… I know if I had thought it over for even a second I would not have had to peel, more or less effectively the paper towels from the candy but it won’t happen again and I’m sure my face was pretty funny to see and I looked with dispare at my otherwise perfect candy!

  43. Definitely not the first time as I’ve been canning for a few years, make my own sausages, hot sauce, ketchup and rubs but my newest made from scratch is the bacon from this very book. The latest go-round substituted some maple syrup for the sugar ~ the jury is out as it is only Day 2 of curing.

  44. I started with homemade jams shortly after my son was born (4 summers ago…wow!) and have since been expanding my repertoire bit by bit. The peaches we froze last summer were a big hit with my infant in one of those little nets. This summer my big goal is to try cheese making.

    I’m going to the library website now to check out this book — it looks great!

  45. After looking at LOTS of recipes, I found a pickle that worked for me. The recipe that I chose led to the most amazing dill pickles, yall. So good, in fact, that I called my sister just to tell her how excited I was about my amazing dill pickles. (She was not impressed, but that doesn’t matter here.) Then my husband came home and I greeted him at the door with a huge smile and exclaimed β€œCOME WITH ME!” I forced a pickle into his hand (I should mention that he had just been playing tennis and had zero interest in a pickle at that moment)… he took a bite… his eyes lit up! β€œThese taste like pickles!” I KNOW! That is about the best compliment I could get.

  46. The first thing I made from scratch was strawberry jam. The taste was so amazing, much better than store bought! Now I experiment with breads and sauces and even have a canner in my cupbard waiting for some good use. πŸ™‚

  47. I recently made ricotta cheese and it is bliss! My new dairy experimentation has been so much fun and revelatory–buttermilk and creme fraiche among them. I’d like to add butter to that roster (probably the easiest thing on the list!) I’ve been pawing through this book at the store and wouldn’t mind it on my shelves!

  48. I recently made some fresh ricotta. It’s not the first thing I’ve made from scratch but making cheese seemed a bit more adventurous than bread or pizza or some such. Amazingly it worked! I didn’t get much out of the litre of milk I used but it tasted great! So easy and you can make it with products you know the history of.

  49. I’ve been cooking from scratch with my Mom since I was very young, so it’s hard to say the first thing. But the first and most impactful, since I’ve been an adult, would probably chicken stock. I use it almost every day and it is so much better than store-bought. Then once I realized you can pressure can it, pure saucy bliss πŸ™‚

  50. I don’t know what the first thing I made from scratch was, but the thing that amazed me the most was making homemade ricotta. It’s the easiest thing in the world to make and so much better than storebought.

  51. My first experience with canning is when I tried to make grape jelly. My mother in law had a huge grape arbor in her yard and I picked a bunch of grapes. I did what she told me and had about a dozen jars of jelly. Except it never set up. It was all watery and yucky. I tossed it all out. That was over 5 years ago. I tried making jelly again and came upon a freazer jelly recipe. I had strawberries. And it was such an easy recipe and mmmm it is so good. Better than any store bought stuff. So I am hooked. I am going to try the grape jelly again this year and see if I can get better results. My dh loves grape jelly and I think homemade will taste much better than store bought. lol Thanks for the opportunity to win this book. It looks like a good one with lots of nice photos.

  52. I grew up in a family of canners, so I was the lid separator-jar washer-cuke stuffe-and fruit masher for my mom and grandma. Summer vacation at granmas consisted of being sent to her place with massive amounts of sugar and containers to make blackberry freezer jam with her! A wonderful memory!

  53. The first thing I ever homemade was bread! And it was delicious and CHEAP! ( compared to the store) Now I’ve started making so much else from scratch- cornbread, salad dressing, pie crusts, pancakes. No more mixes and pre-made for me. I feel so much accomplishment when something I handmade turns out so well.

  54. I’ve been making homemade pickles for several years now, even though I’m the only one who eats them in the household (sad panda!), and just recently delved into jam making/canning with strawberry, raspberry and peach! Enjoying your site, thanks!

  55. From the first time I made salad dressing from scratch, I’ve never gone back to bottled. That lemon/garlic/oil/salt is still my favorite. I switch up that recipe all the time, grapefruit or lime instead of lemon, herbs or shallots instead of garlic.

  56. The first thing I made from scratch was gnocchi… my (now) husband and I had just moved in together, and we were so excited about our new, tiny, apartment, and the beginnings of making our home together that on the first night, in the midst of boxes, no furniture, etc., we dug out a few kitchen items and tried our hand at making homemade gnocchi. Any sane person would have ordered pizza. It is one of my fondest memories πŸ™‚

  57. The first thing I made from scratch was tomato sauce. After I made it, I felt silly for ever buying it since it could not have been easier! I plan on making gobs of it this summer to put up so I won’t have to buy any next year either.

  58. The first time I made bread was from the Sullivan no-knead recipe. It was so easy and yet the final result was amazing. I was converted right away. I love fresh bread and homemade jam for breakfast now.

  59. Thanks for the giveaway!

    When I first moved out of home at age 18, I bought some applesauce. Yech. So I called my mom and got her “recipe” (it involved lots of “until it looks done” and “whatever amount looks good”). I froze that first batch in my little freezer over the fridge and haven’t looked back since.

  60. I grew up in a house that made most things from scratch, so I’d say my personal “wow that’s amazing” home-made moment was a few months ago when I tried crackers for the first time. I could not believe how simple and quick they were to put together, and how *awesome* they were. We ate the entire batch in one sitting… πŸ˜‰ Never going back, baby! I’m very intrigued by the cracker recipe you mention here, actually…

  61. Probably the first thing I ever made from scratch was bread, but I’ve been cooking this way most of my life so I don’t remember. The most memorable thing I’ve made from scratch, though, is pasta. And making pasta from scratch with my toddler for the very first time – that was an experience I’ll never forget!

  62. Last summer my husband and I made blueberry jam from scratch and canned it. It was also our very first canning experience and I was certain something would go wrong, but it didn’t!

  63. I definitely grew up in a Crisco house, and we ate a lot of stuff from those infamous “middle of the grocery store” shelves. My father was diagnosed with Type II diabetes and had a quadruple bypass when he was 46 and I was 11… In the last few years, I made the transition from microwave meals and sandwiches and cereal to real cooking, and I’m so proud–and fulfilled. Last summer, I made my first jam, and with Dad in mind, I went for a peach jam sweetened with only a hint of clover honey. I was so in love with the process that I went on to do a peach-orange marmalade with Wild Turkey (!) and then apple butter, but my favorites were my hot okra pickles. This website is a great resource–nothing but love for ya!

  64. Probably apple sauce, which seemed like a safe start and was amazing. Since then, I have started making my own seasoning mixes, granola, breads, sauces, and am anxious to start canning more with this summer’s garden.

  65. when I was 6 or 7, my Dad decided to teach me how to bake bread. I come from very “from scratch” family, but bread was one of those things we left alone. Dad hadn’t made bread in years, and either his yeast was too old or his water was too hot, and in any case, the dough never rose. Throughout the entire process he kept saying “maybe this next step will make it rise!” and eventually ended up baking what was essentially seasoned flour and water. I’m pretty sure they came out of the oven smaller than when they went in!! My mother bravely hacked off a few slices and made a big show of enjoying them at dinner time! The next time I went to my grandma’s house she walked me through the steps of baking bread (even letting me make a tiny loaf for myself), and I’ve been hooked ever since!

    My first from scratch thing that I was most proud of was the wedding cake I baked for my Dad and step-mom when I was 18. It was 3 tiers, contained a couple dozen eggs, and the frosting alone had 6 lbs of butter in it! I decorated the whole thing with baby roses in red, white, and pink. When they cut into it I couldn’t watch, it had taken me a week to bake and I was a little sad that we couldn’t just look at it. It ended up being delicious though, and the catering crew couldn’t believe that I had made it πŸ™‚

  66. I may be behind on putting food in jars, but at least I make my own salad dressing. I keep promising my 3-year-old that we’re going to make butter– and that seems like such a spring-y activity, too! Last year, I made cheese for the first time, but haven’t felt like trying it again. I love cheese in all its forms, but my ricotta was pretty disappointing. It took a HUGE amount of milk, left me with an enormous quantity of whey, and produced a less-than-exciting cheese that actually went bad before I could use all of it. (Ricotta just *isn’t* that exciting; maybe I need to try mozzarella??? Okay, so I’d rather be able to make a nice St. Andre or Mahon . . . .)

  67. My mother and grandmother spent countless hours canning or freezing the fruits and vegetables of summer. My mother even made our own catsup, tomato sauce, and tomato juice! We barely ate anything from the grocery store, except Hellman’s Mayo.

    A few years ago I tried my hand a homemade mayo, WOW, what a difference!! It doesn’t take long, it tastes better, and I know what goes into it, why wouldn’t I do it!

  68. The first thing that I started making from scratch was baked goods. I first started as a hobby, then started the blog..and now it is more for a health factor. I now exactly what is going in it and how much. I am starting to can now. I have just bought a pressure canner, I am terrified to use it, but I have big plans for it this summer!

  69. Oh I would love this book. I would love to find some new thing to try, I enjoy doing things from scratch – except cleaning.

  70. I got married in the late 60s and became a mother in the early 70s – and discovered the “natural food” movement. That was my introduction to homemade….many things – most memorable bread! Although I have continued to cook from “scratch” over the busy years I really didn’t pay much attention to making some every day things like – again! – bread or salad dressings and just bought them. In my 60s I find I am returning to those early days in a search for self sufficiency and that sense of satisfaction that only comes from the homemade and handmade. I am still busy with work and life but have been baking bread, making stock, stirring sauces, shaking dressings. My newest foray is into canning and pickling and I need all the help I can get! This book looks great and if I don’t win I can only hope my library gets it!

  71. I started canning last summer. My first masterpieces were strawberry jam and apple butter. OMG – the taste is unbelievable compared to store bought. I think a lot of people don’t can because they have the misconception that it’s difficult (I know I did). But it’s easy and I’m hooked. I tried your recipe for the pickled red onions a few weeks ago – devine!

  72. Not sure what the ‘first’ thing was, but I am happy to say I haven’t bought jam in a few years, and we eat a lot of it! Yay for homemade! And also, bread, applesauce, sometimes peanut butter.

  73. Let’s see…the first time I made butter was in Brownies. The first time I canned tomatoes two jars burst in the water bath:( I don’t make butter very often now, but my tomato canning has definitely improved!

    The book looks lovely!

  74. My first experiment was two-fold. I made pickles and canned hot peppers at the same time. I still use the same recipe for the pickles because they were fantastic! The hot peppers…believe it or not, I screwed them up. They were very, very soggy. I only started my garden/canning/freezing/homemade adventures three years ago and am thoroughly enjoying each and every time I learn something new!

  75. A year ago I made my first sauerkraut. I much prefer the whole fermentation process rather than vinegar pickling method for savoury food preservation. I dutifully shredded a giant cabbage by hand (with a knife), pounded the veg, added a few pickling spices and liberally added sea salt. I packed it all up in a jar, using water in a double bag to keep the food under the liquid.

    Five days later I checked the kraut to see its readiness and I swear I could feel the moisture being sucked out of my body, there was soooooo much salt!

    It was inedible!

    My next batch, with MUCH less salt and a few TBSPs of whey, tasted totally normal. I think I’ll measure accurately from now on πŸ™‚

  76. I remember making butter at 2nd grade Pioneer Day, and I started making homemade bread when I was about 10 (mom gave the reins of the bread machine to me). The first thing in my adult life (and the first thing that has completely replaced a storebought version) was a batch of tart cherry preserves, last summer. Since then, I’ve put up strawberry preserves, apple jelly, apple butter, and I have grand plans for some rhubarb-something when it comes in up here. I’ll never buy Smucker’s again!

  77. Probably not the first thing I made from scratch but I was wowed when I started making pita bread at home at how cheap and delicious it is when it is fresh!

  78. The first time I made something homemade that (most) people purchase was when I was 17. I started making my own jam. This book looks great, another great resource.

  79. Oh Marisa, That book sounds DELIGHTFUL… I love the “milk it” section, as I’ve yet to try butter, cheese or yogurt but would love to! Even if I don’t win, I’m going to have to pick this one up! I wish I could remember the first time I made something from scratch that I normally buy… probably jam, I made a lot of it in college and what a treat it always was!! Now my pantry is always well stocked with homemade jams and butters {the non-dairy kind}!

  80. I moved into a house with 2 old peach trees. They were small and I expected to be able to make a few pies. 4 bushels later I realised I had to learn to make preserves, because there was no way I had room to freeze that many peaches. Now the trees are dead, but I still make peach jams because my friends and family love them so

  81. Marshmallows, yogurt and orange marmalade. All were delicious…especially the yogurt which is now a weekly production!!

  82. Boy, I can’t remember the first thing, (it was probably bleu cheese dressing, though!) but the most exciting was definitely ketchup. Who knew you could make that?!

  83. One of the first things I remember making from scratch is a Pound Cake for my father-in-law’s birthday (his favorite)…In the past they had always served a frozen brand, so I wanted to make it more special. I was totally shocked when my sister-in-law said “Wow! I didn’t know you could make homemade pound cake!” And she was not kidding. My husband and I come from VERY different backgrounds! πŸ™‚

  84. We joined a CSA in the summer of 2007. By August we were getting 14-16 pounds of tomatoes each week, so we bought some canning supplies and made tomato sauce and salsa. It was our first experience with canning, and we were hooked!

  85. Candied orange peel from a chez panisse cookbook….me and my mom attempted it when I was young. What a disaster– we had no candy thermometer, the peels ended up so bitter it was hard to eat them, and they had a crunch which could crack teeth!

  86. I have been making as much as I can from scratch for several years, but recently have been making jam without commercial pectin. What a difference!

  87. I don’t remember the first time I made something from scratch, but most recently I started to make my own sandwich bread using a recipe from Kim Boyce’s new book Good to the Grain. I made it according to the recipe the first time, then added my own variations the next, and will continue to experiment. I can’t believe the difference in taste from regular store bought bread, and I really can’t believe how EASY it is to do!!! πŸ™‚

  88. This book has been on my wishlist since it came out! The first thing I made that I used to buy was probably crackers about two years ago from the olive oil cracker recipe on 101 cookbooks. I got into jam and pickles last summer, and lately I’ve been making all of our bread, which is extremely satisfying!

  89. I just started making yogurt from scratch. My husband was scared of it at first, but now loves how fresh it tastes!

  90. Probably my first solo canning experience was my mom’s pickled beets. After all the years since, I still love to make them – it makes me think of her.

  91. Well, I haven’t done any of this yet…. growing up my grandma always grew her own green beans and canned them. She cooked them with a ham hock until there was absolutely no nutritional value left then canned them. they were amazing! In fact, we were still eating Grandma’s green beans after she passed away. Well, except for the can that was dated 1969 that my Grandpa brought over for Thanksgiving dinner (it was 1997) We all secretly agreed not to eat them. Grandpa was the only one with green beans on his plate that holiday. But I digress. My husband and I have bought our first share of a CSA this year and shortly are going to be receiving loads of veggies and fruits. I want to learn to preserve them, can them, etc, so i can enjoy the local produce year round, and not let any of it go to waste. I’m a little nervous but superbly excited and could use a little help.

  92. I made marinara sauce from a recipe in _Cooking Light_ about three years ago. It was included as a “base” for a series of soups in that issue. I’m not sure it was the *first* homemade-instead-of-from-scratch thing I ever did, but it was probably the turning point for trying to do *more* things homemade. I don’t buy jars of marinara anymore πŸ™‚

  93. I am only now getting into the spirit of making things from scratch. One very clear memory I have, in fact, the first time I learned what “from scratch” meant was when I made brownies from scratch at a friend’s house. I must have been 8 or 9. In my house, brownies came out of a box. At Hannah’s house, you mixed up all the ingredients. I loved all the measuring and the mixing. I remember those brownies being something of a revelation.

    This book is officially at the top of my wish list. Looks gorgeous.

  94. My first attempt at replacing store bought with homemade was dry mixes. I made taco seasoning, ranch dressing mix, italian dressing mix and dry onion soup mix. They turned out great and I love knowing what is going in them.

  95. This book looks perfect for myself and my friend who are trying to do more DIY cooking. About 5 years ago, I figured out just how easy making salad dressing was, and haven’t bought any since. Especially since the lemon dressing I generally make is so much tastier than anything in the store! I also made marshmallows for the first time in February- so much fun, but kind-of a mess πŸ™‚

  96. Pies with my mom even though she really hated cooking we would make pies, the dough and pick the berries in the woods (it was a very long ago).

    The book looks pretty cool.

  97. When I was about 8 years old, my mom pulled out her Tasajara Bread Book, crusty and stained from her hippy days, and decided that we were going to make baguettes. I was fascinated — I’d never made bread before or worked with yeast, and it was a transformative experience. Years later, I spent the year after I graduated from college working as a baker at an artisanal bread bakery, and I often thought about that afternoon in our kitchen, proofing the yeast, mixing the dough, kneading, kneading, and more kneading, and after a suitable time passed, shaping the bread and baking it. It was magical.

  98. I started making my own bread and peanut butter for my husband’s lunch about 2 years ago. Last summer, I finally made my own blackberry jam. It took me all day to make a few pints, as I insisted on pressing the fruit through a mesh strainer to remove the seeds. This summer, I will be using more practical equipment.

  99. I made jam with my mom when I was a kid but the first time I made something on my own, as an adult, that I’d only previously bought was pickled beets. I got some early baby beets, found an easy recipe online and went for it.

    They were great.

  100. I’ve been trying to get in to canning for the last couple of years, but for some reason it just never comes together. Maybe this book would help! πŸ™‚

  101. I would love to win this book! I can remember the first time that I made my own sandwich bread – which is something that I and my family had previously always purchased. It crackled, and smelled wonderful, and was so inexpensive. Now I make it all the time!

  102. This book looks great! One of my favorite things to make is homemade Marinara sauce – delicious. Have the recipe from a friend, and think of him whenever we make it.

  103. Hmmm. I’ve been making homemade chicken stock for a long time, but the most satisfying “homemade instead of store bought” experience was making butter from the raw milk of local, grassfed cows. Brilliant yellow in summer, it’s absolutely beautiful and demands yummy baked things to go with it!

  104. Actually, salad dressing’s a really good one. I’d always thought salads were boring and tasteless because I disliked store-bought dressings and never dressed my salads. Once I learned that you can add whatever you want to a dressing — honey, or fresh dill, or garlic, or whatever — salads suddenly tasted amazing! I’m so happy that our winter farmer’s market has local RI greens all winter long for salads!

  105. The first thing my sister and I made was jam, and I couldn’t believe how good it tasted compared to store-bought jam. It reminded me of when my mom used to can, and my sister and I would eat peach jam on english muffins as kids…amazing!

  106. When I first started college I got obsessed with sourdough bread, and I was living in the middle of nowhere, so I checked a book out of the library and got directions to make my own sourdough starter, which I managed to keep alive for about 3 years.

  107. the very first thing I can remember making that gave me a sense of power over the grocery store & over cooking was making apple jelly with my friend R. She taught me how to do it one week at the cottage – we picked wild apples and added wild rosehips we found growing along the rocky shore. it was the most delicious & beautifully coloured thing I’d ever seen. I think I ate all of it in within a month. Later that summer, when her red current bush was overflowing with fruit, I didn’t even pause when she asked if I wanted some.

  108. My BF and I recently made our first batch of homemade yogurt – amazingly delicious! Unfortunately, subsequent batches haven’t matched it…

  109. I made jam one year with my mom…But I never buy salad dressing and have been DYING to be more self sufficient! We have two box gardens this year for the first time, so I am turning towards that way! WOULD LOVE this book!!!

  110. I don’t remember the first time as I grew up on a farm where we grew, butchered, processed, canned, or froze just about everything we ate. But then as an adult I got seduced by the convenience of comercially processed food. After recently discovering that making butter in my food processer takes less than five minutes and is so much better than commercial butter I’ve committed to return to a more homemade lifestyle.

  111. Even as wee ones, my siblings and I were expected to help with the summer harvesting and production of canned applesauce and tomato sauce, the freezing of berries, and the weekly baking of bread!

  112. I’ve made lots of stuff from scratch in the past, but the most memorable of recent years was when I figured out that will-go-bad-soon heavy cream is easily turned into homemade butter in minutes in the food processor. Now I never let cream go bad and have lots of homemade butter in the freezer! Brilliant.

  113. I’m not sure if it was my first, but yogurt was definitely the first major thing I started making. I think for a long time I had no idea you could make your own, but it is so good and so worth it!
    I would love to start canning though. I’ve always admired my grandmother for canning everything, but haven’t been able to get into it myself. This book looks like an awesome incentive to start though!

  114. The first time I ever made butter I was 6 or 7, and at a conference with my mom and dad. The kids activity area gave us all jars with cream and had us shake them like mad maraca players. it was awesome. and then years later I was reminded again of how incredibly simple whipped cream is!

    but the most amazing thing for me is canning – either water bath or pressure canning. I am an engineer who loves science and I *STILL* can’t believe that thermodymanics works so well! it’s like a tiny miracle every time I unseal a jar.

  115. Chicken broth….canned broth, bullion cubes, even the fancy organic kinds can not come close to the flavor of homemade broth. I make a big batch, freeze it in ice cube trays, and use as I need…the cubes help because they are 1 oz. portions that can easily be added up to whatever amount i want πŸ™‚

  116. THe first time I pickled anything ever was lotus roots, from a recipe in Barbara Tropp’s China Moon Cookbook. They were gorgeous, and delicious, and the jar vanished in about two days. I need to do that one again! The next pickling project is habanero beets; I’ve had a jar promised to someone since the end of last summer!

  117. I first made apple butter in my Gifted Talented class in 5th grade. It tasted so much better than the jar at the store and was alot of fun to make!

  118. My very first ever homemade attempt was an angel food cake. Yes, an angel food cake. I separated the eggs in my hands and beat the batter way, way too long. I got a tough, misshapen cake for my boyfriend’s birthday. It was a labor of love and he tried to eat it…but we kept laughing. It’s been over ten years now. I suppose I should try my hand at that cake again!

  119. This is a fabulous book, first of all!

    Second…my made from scratch thing…hmm…actually, I think for pure accolades you can’t beat homemade marshmallows. The first time I brought some to a Memorial Day BBQ the oohs and ahhs were priceless.

  120. I don’t remember what the first thing was, but the first jamming experiment was last summer after I took my sisters and my nephew strawberry picking. We had so much fun we just kept picking and picking until we could barely carry it all home and i had so much by the end that I was tucking strawberries into everything. I recently acquired Apples for Jam and it had a very simple strawberry jam recipe that didn’t have as much sugar as most of the others online, so I gave it a try. That jam was the best jam ever. Miles and miles better then anything you could get at the store. And you can say I’ve been hooked ever since πŸ˜€

  121. I try to make a lot of stuff from scratch rather than buy it…tortillas, salsa, stocks, etc. But I think my first venture was salad dressing. St. Helena Kitchens makes a fig balsamic vinegar that has vanilla and orange peel in it (I could drink it), and I mixed it with some local olive oil. I suddenly started to like salad more and more. Problem is, I can only find the vinegar in Napa. Thanks for the giveaway offer!

  122. The first time I made a condiment from scratch was a sweet pepper relish. It’s been a family tradition for many decades, and my grandmother just taught me how to make it as well as how to can it. Not only is this an introduction to canning, but it’s a piece of family history!

  123. I have plans to make my first ever canned good (helping my Mom as a kid doesn’t count). I am starting with marmalade, using the following recipe:
    I am going to modify it a slight bit by adding other citrus like grapefruit, limes, and lemons, maybe throw a little whiskey in there? Yea! Hope I don’t die!

  124. I have been homemade for years, but the most recent one that was really wow was crackers. Stupidly easy, endlessly variable and sensational! I use Bittman’s recipe and haven’t bought crackers in years.
    Ketchup was also an eye opener. Another one of those easy and delicious things that made me wonder what I had been doing all these years!
    Thanks for the giveaway! Love the blog!

  125. I’ve long made things from scratch. Butter and ice cream as a kid. Canning everything with my mother as a teenager. Hot sauces with my ex-husband. But my biggest accomplishments have been mini marshmallows and chewy caramels. It took until I was an adult to master the candy thermometer, but wow, I love that bit of kitchen chemistry.

  126. I’ve had alot of “oh my gosh, I MADE that?!?!” moments over the last few years, mainly in the crafting realm as I started knitting and making my own jewelry. But when it comes to food, my greatest moment probably came a few months ago when I made my first loaves of bread. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I’d spent the last year or so taking determined steps to make my household less dependant on non-local groceries and take-out. So I’d taught myself how to cook beyond just boiling pasta water, figured out how to garden in our concrete Philly backyard, and done my first round of canning the previous summer. While reading one of the many food blogs that had been essential to my progression, I came upon a recipe for an orange breakfast bread. Up until that point, I hadn’t even considered the idea of making bread for us on a regular basis, mainly because I figured it was too time-consuming. Orange breakfast bread was hardly a universal or easy choice for my first time out of the box, but I went for it anyway. To be honest, it was mainly because I was snowed in for a weekend and figured I’d have plenty of time to mix dough and knead it. But the entire process proved to be much easier than I’d anticipated. When my husband was drawn downstairs by the smell of the bread baking, we cracked open the oven door to take a peak. And there we saw two perfectly rounded and browned loafs with an aroma that was just heavenly. My exact exclamation was, “Holy #$*%! I MADE that all by myself!” And my husband’s reply was, “I’ve been saying ‘Holy #$%*, my wife MADE this!’ for months, now, every time you try something new.” All that time, I had never really taken the time to be proud of myself and I’d never realized how impressed my husband was with what I was doing. That bread was sort of the culmination of an entire journey. Now, three months later, I make bread for us every single week…it’s usually a no-knead bread, but this week I’m experimenting with a rosemary stout bread that’s a little more labor intensive. We are expanding our “urban farm,” this season, have joined a CSA (finally!), and I purchased a camping burner to improve my canning techniques. And of course, I continue to amaze myself with what I can accomplish, every time I learn a new skill.

  127. I don’t exactly remember – my parents made bread and yogurt and jam. My first solo experience was making dill pickles – I made enough for a small army, was so thrilled with the experience, and then found out that I didn’t like the recipe I used. Oops!

  128. I can’t recall the first thing I made from scratch so I’m writing about the first real surprise about how much better something I made myself was compared to the prepackaged version…pancakes! The pancakes I make from scratch are SO much better and still very easy to make. I will never go back to prepackaged mix.

  129. My husband and I started getting organic beef and pork from the local farmer and made our first beef jerkey yesterday! It is so yummy! my kids love them and I feel good about feeding it to them.

  130. My mom thought that teaching us to cook was really important, so it’s hard for me to remember the first time I made something that could be bought in a store. The first time I made something that I’d only ever bought in a store was last summer. After a summer camp, I found myself the proud owner of 3 fresh pineapples and had no idea what to do with them. I was on a baking kick anyway, so I decided to cook them instead of eating them raw. I found a recipe for Rhubarb Pineapple jam and it became my first canning experience too. Since I wasn’t sure how much pineapple I really had (and I was worried about having a whole bunch of jam I didn’t like), I decided to cut the recipe in half. It was SO disappointing when I finished and realized that all my hard work had created only 3 little half pint jars. Luckily, my husband loves the jam and has requested that I make more this summer. πŸ™‚

  131. I love apricot jam, and last summer was my first attempt at canning my own. The moment I tasted the finished product, I knew I could never eat store-bought jam again. There’s just something about going to the farmer’s market, picking out a locally grown batch of fruit, and cooking and processing it the same day that the store-bought stuff can’t ever compete with.

  132. I’d previously only bought salad dressings, now I make them all the time from scratch. So much fresher and without all those nasty preservatives.

  133. I have a huge garden and tons of vegetables to can pickle, etc…What is stopping me-fear of failure. This book would be just the thing to kick me into gear.

  134. Ooh, I want that book! When my husband and I first moved into this house, we hacked back a HUGE grapevine and ended up with about 11 pounds of Concord grapes. It was my first canning experience, and I made 24 half pint jars of the best grape jam I’ve ever had. I loved it, and I love making stuff instead of buying it and finding out how good things can really taste.

  135. Not sure I remember what my first was, but one that pops to mind was homemade barbeque sauce! Tasted just like store-bought — minus the chemical-y cornsyrup-y flavor!

  136. Well I have been making things from scratch for so long I couldn’t tell you what the first thing was but back when my oldest daughter was in kindergarten almost 20 years ago she came home from school and told me how they made homemade butter at school that day. I was fascinated with the idea and I couldn’t wait to try it with her but she told me they used milk in baby food jars and they had passed it around the classroom so each child could have a chance to shake it up. So we did the same at home. We shook that jar of milk for hours. Of course it never turned into butter. A few years later I read that you need to use heavy cream to make butter. I’ve made homemade butter at various family get togethers over the years and let the children help with shaking a canning jar of heavy cream. They love it!

  137. My very own tomato sauce from Romas ! For about 10 years now. I started not knowing a BIT about canning/water bathing but was determined. The first year, I hand cranked it through a food mill. I had to come up with something more efficient. Now I use my strainer attachment on my Kitchen Aid. I went from 14 pints that first year to 70-80 now a days. I use it in an amazing amout of things that I make from samon patties to bbq sauce. I start to panic in May when there’s not a ton left….will I be able to get the Romas again this year? ETC.

  138. oh!oh! Pick me! I really want this book – it looks so fun!!!
    The first thing that I made myself from scratch was probably pita bread. I was so confused about how they get that hole in them and then by magic, my pitas puffed up and made lovely little pockets. I was SO proud!

  139. I grew up canning jam with my mom, and hadn’t done it in years, but about about 3 years ago made the leap to doing it myself and haven’t bought a jar of jam from the store since. This led to confidence in canning and I’ve now added tomatoes, tomatillos (these things seriously grow like weeds!) and salsa to my list of things I don’t buy at the store. I can’t wait to try some more exciting stuff this season! LOVE your blog and the inspiration it provides. My husband, on the other hand, may not love my new desire to collect unique and antique jars.

  140. I was trying to teach my kids that we could make whipped cream, but putting cream in a ball jar and shaking it vigorously. We passed it around the table at the end of dinner, making whipped cream for our dessert, but then it stopped with me and I decided it needed a few more shakes and it turned to butter. So I modified the teaching moment a bit and we had ‘homemade’ butter on our biscuits the next morning.

  141. The first big canning job was with my ex husband who came home with 4 boxes of green beans from his mom’s house, so we canned them up and it was great. I wish I had a shelf full right now.

  142. I had been making jams for a few years at home when I decided to can peaches. I love fresh peaches but had always detested the canned peaches available in stores. Two years ago I took the plunge and now I can’t get through a winter without them!

  143. Watermelon pickles – a few years ago. It’s not something I purchased, it was something given to my family in the summer by a close family friend. The jar was savored and only a few were eaten at a time to make the jar last as long as possible. Now I am the one who gives them back to the same family friend who started the trend years ago!

  144. The first time I made mayonnaise I was blown away by how easy it was (granted, I was using an electric whisk attachment, not by hand) and how much more flavorful it was than the jarred kind.

  145. my husband’s sweet auntie taught me to can tomatoes and now we do it together every fall. It is such a treat to have fresh, self canned tomatoes throughout the winter for stews, spaghettis, and just about everything else.
    this book looks great!

  146. We made a breakfast pizza a few weeks ago – crust from flour, water, olive oil, and salt. Ultimately, we want to make the sauce from tomatoes and the cheese from milk as well, we’re just not there yet. Your blog inspires these dreams.

  147. Can’t remember the first thing, but I loved when I found out how to make my own Hidden Valley Ranch dressing without all the msg and other things you can’t name. My family loves and prefers my homemade.

  148. I used to buy (shudder) cool whip or reddi whip – now I make my own since I was able to purchase a lovely KitchenAid mixer and it does all the magic in only a few minutes!! Real whipped cream is amazing.

  149. last summer i made jam for the first time – partially inspired by this blog – and i was awestruck by something i previously thought as so complicated was in reality so easy and so awesome. i can’t wait to start canning more this summer.

  150. Long ago, before I was a baker and cooked lots, I used to only buy box mixes for cakes. Then I baked a cake from scratch, and now I can’t abide the mixes.

    I know that I have better examples, but I’ve gotten to where I try to make so much stuff I can’t remember any! Oooh, apple butter. That was fun.

  151. Maybe it was freezer jam. Or bread. Or vinagrette. I can’t recall what exactly started me into making my old grocery staples from scratch. But when I started making grenadine, and maraschino cherries, and marshmallows, I knew I was hooked. Next on my list are crackers. And canning. It’s an obsession. But a good one. I’d love that book.

  152. My first foray was pickled onions from a Smitten Kitchen recipe that I gave away for X-Mas 2008. My only regret was not making double the recipe.

  153. After moving to the Netherlands where I had a hard time tracking down green tea ice cream (my favorite), I decided on trying making it from scratch. Not as hard as I imagined, with the added bonus of learning to make good, from scratch, custard. Now trying out all sorts of new flavour of ice creams not available in the supermarkets. Looking forward to summer and making elderflower sorbet.

  154. I honestly don’t remember the first time I ever made something from scratch that I would normally buy because a lot of times if I need something and don’t have it I’ll just look up how to make it. I have been doing that since I started cooking at 7. That said, probably the most memorable thing that I have made was canned tomatoes. I discovered canning a few months before I got pregnant with my daughter and had learned how to make jam. However, when I was pregnant I found that instead of nesting my instinct was to put food away for winter. I froze stuff and dehydrated stuff, but the only thing I canned was jam until one day in mid-July I got an email saying that we could get flats of tomatoes through our CSA at a reduced price. That was all it took to have me standing over a pot of boiling water blanching tomatoes in 110 degree weather while 6 months pregnant. By the time I was done I wasn’t sure if I ever wanted to see my canning pot again. Luckily that feeling only lasted until I used the first jar of tomatoes 2 weeks later. Now we have used our entire supply and I can’t wait until tomatoes are in season again so I can put up even more.

  155. I made Nutella a few weeks ago. I was slightly more coarse grained, but I liked that I knew all and how much of what went into it.

  156. The first thing I ever made that I used to buy was when I was 9. I was in OK for the summer and my grandma taught me to make pickles. I thought it was soooo cool that you can just make stuff.

  157. I think the first time I made something from scratch that I had only ever previously seen store-bought was apple pie for my baking patch in Girl Scouts. The idea what I, my little 7 year old self, could make an apple pie was amazing to me. Of course, Mom helped, but I really felt like I accomplished something. I recently started 3 bottles of vanilla extract from scratch. The first one should be ready around June 15.

  158. My parents were always growing veggies and fruit and canning things, but the first thing I tried on my own was spaghetti sauce! I’ll never go back to the store-bought brands. YUM!

  159. Hi! On Wednesday I had my first canning/(homemade item I usually buy) experience! I just made your strawberry jam recipe and it was a hit (I tweeted about it)! All I want to do now is can EVERYTHING! This book would be the perfect kickstart to help me with pickling and jamming any and everything in sight!

  160. I actually started making homemade cheese about 10 years ago when I was at home on the ranch milking a cow and needing to use the excess. From that start, I have evolved, now I can almost everything, make my own yogurt, make my own bread and am starting a chicken project this year for eggs. My sister inspired me on most of my projects though.

  161. I started making my own yogurt in the oven last month. I can’t believe how easy it is! I always thought you needed a fancy yogurt maker, but I’ve just been doing it in a pot in the oven. It’s delicious, and better for lactose intolerant people like me. I’ve been reading that most commercial yogurt is only fermented for about 6 hours. To convert all the lactose, it needs to ferment for 24hrs. It’s a little more sour than the stuff you buy in the store, but I think it’s wonderful πŸ™‚

  162. When I first moved to the SF Bay area, I worked for a Non-profit that was focused on food equity. I was also poor. The things I learned from the Non-profit combined with being poor made me seriously re-consider my grocery shopping habits, and I started making things from scratch that I’d previously never bothered with: Bread, crackers, granola, broth.
    One of the first things I made from scratch was broth. My fiance had had his wisdom teeth out, and wasn’t able to eat anything even remotely solid (jello was too tough for him, poor thing!), so I went to the grocery store, and asked for soup bones. “We’re out.” I was told. “But we might have something else.” I ended up with a WHOLE COW FEMUR. They were kind enough to cut it up for me, since it was almost as long as my leg and wouldn’t have fit in my stock pot. I also got carrots, celery, onions, and a few other random root veggies. The checker was baffled as to what I was doing with 5 lbs worth of bone, and so were all the people in line with me. People are seriously nosy around here, sometimes.
    I got home, and chopped and salted, seasoned and boiled, and 8 hours later, I had broth. I still think it’s the best broth I ever managed, and it helped my fiance survive his ordeal.
    Our roommate at the time decided that she wanted some broth, and grabbed it out of the fridge. She was HORRIFIED to discover that it was the consistency of jello when cold. I was at least expecting it, my mom had made broth from scratch when I was a kid, but she was so grossed out that she couldn’t eat the broth.

  163. I used to buy strawberry jam (and enjoy it) until the day that i tried the real thing made fresh!!!! πŸ™‚ i love it!

  164. We were both so very excited when we learned that marshmallows weren’t some kind of chemical marvel, but could instead be made at home. The moment when the greyish goop turned into fluffy white marshmallow was especially pleasing.

  165. The first time I made my Thanksgiving Turkey from scratch vs. the cooked and re-heated turkey. I felt like I had conquered the world, it was a great feeling!

  166. The first time it really hit me was when I made vanilla extract. Vodka and vanilla beans, that’s it! Oh and time. I couldn’t believe how awesome and easy it was. Now I want to try making everything myself.

  167. I pickled sweet pickle slices last year for the first time. My family devoured them in just a few weeks and I had to make them again. This time, I am planting many hills of cucumbers so I can keep up with the demand!

  168. My family has been having a make-our-own renaissance the past few years. Last summer we even rose to the challenge of freezing, drying, canning, and pickling food to supplement all winter- jams, tomato sauce (my first year to get it right), apple sauce, peaches, pickles… our best discovery was dilly beans! Next year I hope to make some cheeses to age, and fine tune my breadmaking. It’s so empowering to reclaim your food supply!

  169. I recently started making my own cinnamon rolls from scratch, and this morning I made my first batch of strawberry jam. I have never canned anything in my life before this morning. I even burned my thumb, but it was worth it.

  170. I made preserves for the first time as a Christmas gift last year. They came out well, but too sweet for my tastes. I’m still struggling to find jam and other canned fruit recipes that are lighter on the sugar but will still set well! I’ve also started making my own chicken stock in the crock pot with vegetable scraps that I keep in a container in the freezer and a chicken carcass whenever I roast one. It really is so much better than storebought!

  171. Inspired by “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle,” a few years ago, a couple of friends & I made cheese – and it was so easy & delicious. It took a little time, but it’s so fun to do with friends. Mozarella & ricotta is especially simple. Yum!

  172. I just made strawberry jam last week. Not my first time jam-making, but my first batch of strawberry jam. It turned out the most gorgeous red color and is delicious. It’s so much cheaper to make your own. And I love knowing what has gone into it.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  173. I was raised in a family whose matriarch was a master canner. My mom never took interest, and when my grandmother passed, the knowledge was gone. I am petrified of giving my family botchulism! I know, rediculous, but it is a fear. We are planting a mess of okra, cucumbers, strawberries and tomatoes I would LOVE to know how to can properly – there’s only so much freezer space!

  174. Last year, as newlyweds, my husband and I were on quite the tight budget. My husband has somewhat of an addictive eating personality. By that I mean that he gets on kicks of eating at one certain place, or eating one certain food for a matter of months, burns himself out on it, and moves on to the next lucky food/establishment. Pita Chips = quite expensive for what they are! Solution: make our own! I began to buy packages of pita and would make homemade garlic salt pita chips with olive oil, and he LOVED them! we had to start a “pita chip allowance” so that he wouldn’t eat them all in one night! It’s a good thing my man loves to work out! haha πŸ™‚
    If i don’t win, i might just have to ask for that book for christmas! i’m really looking forward to canning in my near future!! πŸ™‚

  175. the first time i made bread, i made my sister do the kneading b/c for some reason that step terrified me – i was convinced i’d mess it up! (in my defense, i was only 14 or so.)

  176. I got that very book from the library. I am a freak for Goddess dressing, and her version of it was AMAZING. I haven’t yet purchased the book (and the library did want it back!) so I’d love to get a copy.

  177. The first thing I made from scratch was bread. It’s been a few years since then and I still love making it! My mil taught me how to make a delicious homemade dressing and I plan on trying more recipes soon. I’m taking this book back to the library today, hate to part with it but would love to win it πŸ™‚

  178. The first time I made hashbrowns…I used a zester instead of a grater. My boyfriend (now husband) still ate the totally inedible grey mess. Thankfully most of my other firsts have turned out much better.

  179. I was encouraged by mom and sister (who are big time cookers/bakers – which I really am not) to make my own salad dressing – and when I’m having people over, I’d always rather whip up something delightful then bust out the store brand ranch…(which I do love, I should try making ranch….). πŸ™‚ Lauren

  180. Two summers ago, I canned jam for the first time. I grew up with my mom’s freezer jam, so my jam wasn’t too revolutionary for me. But it gave me the courage to can my own tomatoes–and it was a life changing experience. It got me hooked onto canning!

  181. Pita bread! I made fresh, homemade pita bread, and it is leaps and bounds beyond anything store bought. And not that hard to do either. πŸ™‚ My husband just discovered his love for pickled okra (not my favorite, but whatever floats his boat), and seeing that we’ve never canned/pickled anything before, we’d love this book to get us going. Crossing my fingers!

  182. Last summer I made gooseberry jam from scratch. I am still a bit afraid of canning w/a pressure seal, so it was only refrigerator jam. However, it was so delicious that the three jars had no chance to get moldy!

  183. I made my own cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving and couldn’t stop laughing as they crackle and popped all over my stove! They were no doubt tastier than the canned sauce, but we did lament the missing indentions from the can!

  184. I’ve been making pies for awhile, but it was just last year that I started making my own crusts from scratch. I felt like I had invented fire, it seemed so important and magical. The difference was so astounding, I couldn’t believe I had ever wasted my time and money on the store-bought frozen kind. never again!

  185. The first time I made challah was a revelation. I loved seeing the dough rise – just like the recipe said it would! – and punching down the dough. And my apartment smelled like heaven for last 10 minutes of baking time. So rewarding and delicious. I’ll never buy it again!

  186. I checked this out from the library and I would love to have it in my permanent collection.

    The first time I made jam it was gooseberry jam and I didn’t use a recipe. We overcooked it and it was awful!

  187. The first time I made my own salad dressing was from an Ellie Krieger recipe for balsamic vinaigrette. It was so much more flavorful and healthy than store-bought dressings that I’m no longer interested in using them!

  188. The first thing I probably ever made from scratch would be salad dressing. And I have to say after tasting it there is no going back to store bought.

  189. I hadn’t made bread until a year ago or so…it always seemed so complicated! Then I got Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and I lost my fear of yeast. Making bread and pizza dough are now so fun!

  190. I’ve been a dyed-in-the-wool homemade girl since birth. I knit, I bake bread, I consider storebought pie crust a mortal sin, I have a huge garden every year and freeze everything from slivers of peppers to entire batches of soup and calzones. I’ve been flagging this blog and other canning blogs for months, reading religiously, drooling over all the yummies… Yet, I’m terrified to make the canning plunge. I keep saying this is the month I’ll can something. Eventually I’ll be right… Right?

  191. i haven’t made anything from scratch yet, unless you count the bread i use to make when bread machines first came out. we are moving this summer and i have started saying…”once we move, i am going to start making jams and jellies”…so this book would be perfect!!!
    I am writing down the title, just in case i am not the lucky winner.
    thanks for a great offer…and i look forward to more posts on your wonderful blog.

  192. This looks like a fantastic book! I made my own cherry pie filling last year, and while that wasn’t the first time I’d made something from scratch that I would have normally bought, it was certainly the most amazing. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to eat store-bought cherry pie ever again.

  193. The first thing I ever made from scratch was strawberry jam in Home Economics in High School. (I will not tell you how long ago that was, but the recipe was on mimeographed paper!) It was given as gifts for Christmas to my family and there were requests for refills for many years after. That got me started canning goodies for our pleasure and gifts, a favorite occupation which continues to this day. My mother enjoyed canning and taught me many more recipes and techniques.

  194. Back in 1980, as a newlywed, I rode my bike 10 miles out a gravel road in N.C. to attend a very hippie-ish day of bread baking. I think it was about 100 degrees that day and the bread was rising really quickly. It was a day that I will never forget and my love for bread baking has never waned….

  195. Since I didn’t know how to cook when I first got married and had to teach myself how to boil water (I’m serious). I decided that if I was going to have to learn to cook, then I wanted to do it the right way. Ever since then, I’ve read any book I could get my hands on. The first loaf of bread I made with my own two hands was like watching a miracle happen. I’ve never turned back, and I continue daily learning to feed my family in a healthy way.

  196. The first time I made honey-mustard and canned it, I was just amazed that I could do that myself and at how delicious it was. That was the summer of canning at our house and I haven’t done much since…but I miss it.

  197. does playdough count? think i first made that around 5? grew up making jams….a lot of jams. now i’m trying to recreate all those old favorites and also can them…always a bit of an adventure

  198. I recently made butter from scratch. Technically, I had done it before, as girl scout, using the shake-cream-in-a-jar-until-you-want-to-die method. But making it in my mixer was so easy, and it was by far the most delicious butter EVER!

  199. When I was in first grade, the mother of one of my classmates came in and showed us how to make corn tortillas from scratch. She came back several times after that because… well… we begged a lot.

  200. The first time I made yogurt I was amazed at how it came out. I didn’t even have a yogurt maker at the time so it was a bit thin, but delicious nonetheless.

  201. Whipped cream! I used to get cool whip, and then I promoted myself to ‘real cream in a can.’ And THEN I read on a food/recipe blog somewhere that the author whips her own cream. And a light bulb went on.

    Since then I’ve tried my hand at a couple more things – sour cream (actually creme fraiche I guess) and chicken broth. I have a lady who has promised to teach me to make jam, so I am eagerly awaiting that day. This book looks so fun!

  202. I JUST made my own (and very first) jam! The Can Jam inspired it πŸ™‚ I made strawberry & chocolate mint jam, then plain strawberry jam. It is a tad runny-er, if that’s a word, then store-bought jam, but oh well! it tastes fantastic!

  203. The very first thing, for me, was butter. Then many, many years later butter was followed by salsa, then pickles. Now a large portion of my pantry is home made.

  204. Grew up making things instead of buying in a store – store-bought was a treat back then! But perhaps the most exciting thing I’ve made at home lately is some hot pepper butter, from home grown chiles. Funny thing is that one of the ingredients is (drum roll, please!) yellow ball park mustard!

    It is a joy to see so many of the old ways coming back, with all the good science to improve the safety of our food stuffs! This book would be a lovely addition to the library.

  205. I can’t quite even remember the first thing I’ve made myself that I previously always bought… but the first thing I canned (and didn’t purchase or then get from my Mother who always had them canned) were tomatoes. I grew tomatoes in my little garden where I had moved in the city – the rest of my family lived rurally – and then with several calls to my Mom canned them myself when I was in my early 20’s. It was such a feeling of accomplishment! Of course, a few years passed until last year when I became a dedicated canner. I’m hoping to increase my canning stock each year, as I’m able.

    I love Karen Solomon’s book, and rented it from my library. It’s in my Amazon cart, so I hope I win it before I purchase!

  206. My best “from scratch” experience involves pickled eggplant. If you have never had it, it might sound a tad funky, but it’s actually a deliciously salty item that you might serve with other luscious Italian spreads. One of my best friends from college spent the month of February living with me and my husband and cooking divine Italian recipes. At one point she made pickled eggplant, which was so delicious I had to get the recipe. In true Nonna style she dictated the recipe, which involves salting, and compressing the eggplant over an over again over the course of several days. When I finally made it on my own I was so proud–it was something I would have paid $7 for at Whole Foods! It will always be a wonderful recipe that reminds me of old friends, old-world cookery and salt.

  207. I make quite a bit from scratch, but the most recent experience was yogurt. Unfortunately it was more like a thick drink than yogurt. Tried the crockpot method, but maybe should try a different way.

  208. I had never canned until two years ago when my neighbor planted a passionfruit vine on her side of the fence… which quickly grew over on my side of the fence.

    I ended up with a ton of passionfruits so I gave it a go. Eighty five pans and spoons and funnels later, I had four glistening jars of Passionfruit jam and a mountain of dirty dishes to wash.

    But I was hooked. The next year it was preserves, jams and marmalades for every occasion.

  209. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I was one of those really fortunate kids that grew up in a family of people who did everything from scratch. I actually thought stuff from the store was “special”. So, though I’ve purchased almost everything at one time or another just to try it, I’ve always made most things myself. They just taste better! The only place I haven’t gone yet is charcuterie – and that’s on my list for this year. The book looks great and it has a section on curing!

  210. I made some strawberry jam about 2 years ago with my husband’s grandma, but tomorrow is my first try by myself. I’m going to make homemade graham crackers for my little one and plain yogurt in the crockpot. I have lots of homemade ideas brewing! I’d love to get this book:)

  211. Both of my grandmothers canned, my mother canned & I really want to learn how to can. Last year I bought all the things to make dilled green beans & really wanted to, but whole process seemed very overwhelming. My mom used to can in very large quanitities, so I feel like if I want to can, I , too, have to process large quanitities at a time. However, I have to remind myself that it’s not true. I can can as much or as little as I want. Your blog has help inspired me. Thanks!

  212. I think I was most amazed about making butter. We did it as an activity with our Pre-K Camp Fire Kids group. (This was just a couple of years ago – I was one of the parents.) It was delicious, and it was a cool activity. What I love about canning and preparing foods is that I can make things that I can’t get (or can’t afford) at the stores: spicy canned apples, vanilla syrup, okra pickles, spicy pickled beets. Mmm!

  213. I like this book! I checked it out of the library — I do that a lot — and my daughter and I made the marshmallows which was super-fun. I would love to own a copy. πŸ˜‰

  214. I grew up cooking and baking from scratch, milking cows and churning butter, making cottage cheese, baking biscuits on a wood stove. We always had a huge garden and the first thing I ever learned to can was fox grape jelly. I found some wild fox grapes and Mom taught me how to make grape jelly.
    It was and is a wonderful lifestyle and I still make and bake from scratch, search for branch lettuce, morels, ramps on the mountain.
    This books loos wonderful and making your own ensures you know what’s going into the jar.

  215. I have found your site recently and love it. I have been pricing canning equip. I truly think that before this recession is over we will all be living a lot more sustainably. As a child I can remember helping my mother do canning but at 4 I was scalded when I pulled a hot plate with the canner full of hot water down on me. Needless to say I wasn’t interested anymore.I have just a few scars left at my old age of 60.It may have taken me a long time but I am planning to try and become self sufficient and your blog is helping. Pls keep up the good work.

  216. LOVE the look of this book! I remember the first time I made crackers – why is it that everyone makes cookies but hardly anyone makes crackers? They were wonderfully easy and satisfying to make – a revelation that I could just add whatever spices or herbs or coarse salts to customize them and have them turn out nice and rustic. Ad everyone would say “you made crackers??” as if only the crazy ones would do this rather than buy a box at the store…

    I’m not sure that was the first thing I made. As a kid I tried to make cereal out of the long grasses in the field by our house because they looked like the ones in the Shredded Wheat commercial. I forced my younger sisters to eat it. It didn’t turn out like Shredded Wheat.

  217. I’m a youth leader, and last fall one of my teens mentioned a interest in learning “to can”. So…to the storage shelves I went to dig our my grandmothers supplies. After a few sweet memories and a few stumbles in the processing, we successfully “put up” a healthy batch of pears, string beans, pumpkin, peaches, and applesauce over the course of a few weekends. Last week the same teenager was over visiting and helping my niece to start some seeds in a small tabletop greenhouse. Afterwards, she made a list of the many items she suggests we attempt to can before she heads off to college in the fall. After all, as she cleverly pointed out, college students are always hungry! Looking for some new recipes!

  218. I wasn’t much of a cook or baker, until I took a year off from college and worked in an after school program that regularly did cooking projects. Because I’m a scientist at heart, my first cooking project was actually a DIY coca cola project: The kids mixed spices, sugar and club soda, then did a blind taste test with their samples and the real thing. After each trial, we discussed what worked and what didn’t, and made changes. We got surprisingly close! Of course, the next time I tried the activity with a different batch of kids, they just wanted to add more sugar to their vaguely cinnamon-y water. Different tastebuds, different attitudes, I guess. The first experience made me realize that cooking wasn’t so different from lab work after all; in fact it was easier because your grade didn’t depend on your finesse.

  219. The first things that I ever made from scratch was of course chocolate chip cookies but have now moved on to canning of jams and jellies and even did some salsa this last summer. I have not had the courage to try pressure canning yet but I am working up to it.

  220. As a kid, my Mom canned Salsa and different jams. She stopped doing that quite a while ago. My kids had never had homemade jam. Last fall, we made a batch of raspberry jam. They are hooked we went through our 8 little jars in less than 1 month.

  221. I think I fell in puppylove with homemade after tasting real whipped cream at my Grandmother’s house (compared with the CoolWhip in my parents’ fridge). My latest endeavor: vanilla extract. That book looks fabulous!

  222. The first time I took green coffee beans and roasted them into something I could drink was magic! The process is simpler than I would have imagined and doesn’t necessarily need any special equipment, however it does need to be done outside (unless you want to set off the smoke alarms) so I don’t always have home roasted coffee on hand. I do have some wonderful beans waiting for me tomorrow morning πŸ™‚

  223. I haven’t purchased store-bought jam/jelly for over 25 years–taught myself to make jelly when I discovered wild blackberries growing where we live. I am sure that first batch wasn’t all that great but, I didn’t give up.

  224. Hmm, I honestly cannot remember the first thing I made from scratch. One of the more recent (although not food) things was homemade bath fizzies. That was a lot of fun. The last thing I made was failed marmalade. I would make everything myself if I could.

  225. We made butter for Thanksgiving in first grade, and I grew up making jam with my mother and grandmother, but the make-it-not-buy-it revelations for me have been the condiments I always thought I hated. I never liked mustard ’til I had some a friend made and had to get the recipe! Mayonnaise was gross ’til I made my own. I should really try making tomato ketchup, since I’ve never liked that either… (Your grape catchup is what made me find you in the first place, and it’s really tasty!)

  226. I can’t even remember the first time I made my own version of something. But I did just make a quick shallot pickle for a lentil salad. Would love this book!

  227. I made my own cranberry sauce and loved how easy it was to make and how freakin’ good it was, even compared to the whole berry stuff my mom would get. I can’t wait to make more, especially since I gave most of it away as Christmas gifts.

  228. One of the most delicious things that I have made from scratch is buttermilk ranch salad dressing. So good and so easy! The only problem is keeping enough made to satisfy our salad consumption! Yum!!

  229. My mom used to can tomato sauce every year when I was really young and we still had a garden. I remember her standing by the stove with a giant canning pot that was my great-grandmother’s, pulling steaming jars of sauce out of this crazy big pot of boiling water.

    That canning pot is now mine, and I had my first tomato canning experience a few summers ago. I joined a CSA which had a tomato share option, so of course I purchased that and then spent an afternoon with a friend canning tomatoes to use for sauce in the winter. We had a hilarious afternoon of peeling, crushing, and boiling. I’ve been learning how to can more things each year, and I love the process – and finished product.

  230. For the past two years I’ve been trying to move more and more towards home-made. Home-made bread and mixes, a crockpot full of bean soup rather than cans for lunch, learning to make our favorite restaurant meals at home.

    This year I’m taking the plunge into gardening. Thwarting all warnings against going overboard the first year, I started with a goal to grow a few things in containers – now have a whole grow-light system raising plants in my attic and a double square-foot garden lying in my hallway, waiting to be put in. I’ve probably gotten about 100 packs of seeds, and have raspberry, blackberry, and grape vines sitting on my porch until we plant them (probably tomorrow). I also have strawberry plants, a dwarf blueberry bush, and ground cherry seeds on the way. Hopefully I’ll have much success with at least a few of these, and will want to know how to preserve all that gardeny goodness! =) Wish me luck!

  231. I have a distant memory of spending a day canning peaches with my mom one summer. And distant memories of cranking the handle and adding salt to ice to make ice cream. More recent and ongoing adventures, inspired by those long ago summers, include making pizza dough regularly, a bulk batch of cukes turned into 3 varieties of pickles, and I hope to continue the adventures this growing season!

  232. My first big made from scratch venture was bread making. I started simple with a basic wheat loaf then tried french bread and now I’m working on starting my first sourdough starter (using wild yeast even!). I really love the satisfaction of doing it myself and, of course, the wonderful taste of the end product. Yum.

  233. When I was in my preteens I made strawberry freezer jam, and tried churning butter once (with the old fashioned-type churn with a dasher). My sister made some bread and I thought all of these foods were wonderful. My attempts at sourdough bread were not so successful! I didn’t get back into these things again until the last few years, but am having a great time!

  234. I can’t remember not making things from scratch! Growing up in a large family under the tutelage of depression era parents, it was how we lived. Perhaps part necessity, but also learning to survive
    by our wits was the name of the game. It’s wonderful to see people starting to appreciate the skill and creativity and making
    it part of their own way of living again! I would love to have a book with the basics as well as a fresh way of looking at an old artform.

  235. Yogurt! I grew up with homemade bread, pickles, fruit and jam… but until I volunteered at a farm, it had never EVER occurred to me that you could make your own yogurt. (how naive of me.) This great girl Emma showed me how, and to keep the yogurt warm for optimum culturing, she wrapped the yogurt in a warm water bath inside her own down quilt! Talk about homesteady. It was truly inspiring!

  236. Applebutter – last summer I decided to make apple butter in my crockpot. I filled the crockpot with mostly Cortland apples and threw in a couple of Fujis, peeled, seeded and quartered. Wanted to make them low sugar so added Splenda and seasoned with cinnamon, cloves and cider vinegar. My only problem was I did not realize how far the apples would cook down. After 8 hours my crockpot was only 1/2 full and the mix was WAAAYYYY too sweet! Luckily I had more apples so I peeled seeded and cut up more, cooked them in the microwave until they were soft then added them to the crockpot and cooked them on low overnight. It turned out so delicious!

  237. The impression I had was that making mayonnaise was on par with enriching plutonium- difficult, touchy, and fraught with potential for disaster. I was pleasantly surprised that with my immersion blender and and squeeze bottle for the oil, it was a pretty easy undertaking.

  238. In December I made marmalade from the oranges from the tree in my backyard. Probably not the best initial foray into canning! I am in a rental so didn’t really “know” the oranges well–apparently the first time I tasted them they were not ripe and so were sour so I figured they were seville oranges. Faulty assumption, I know. My marmalade didn’t set–it’s a tasty orange sauce, the consistency of syrup. It turns out that my oranges are sweet! Not sevilles, and I guess that they don’t have much pectin. At least I now know I have oranges that are great for juicing right in my backyard.

  239. This year is m husband and I first year at growing our own food and he is going to try his hand at canning! Did you know the art of canning is disappearing?! Canning books are very hard to come by and we would love this one!

  240. the first time i tried cultured butter, i wanted to eat it all the time, but it is SO EXPENSIVE! so, i learned how easy it is to make. culturing the cream, leaving it out overnight, a little time in the kitchenaid, some squeezing, and done! it was so exciting.

  241. Pineapple jam! We honeymooned on Moorea, in Tahiti. Believe it or not, the highpoint of our honeymoon for me (well, the culinary one, anyway πŸ™‚ was driving up a hilly road and finding this little stand on the side of the road. The local college had an agriculture department, and they canned the extra produce they grew and sold it at this little stand. They had passionfruit preserve, and a weird banana jam, and pineapple jam, which was a revelation to me. It was unbelievably good! They stuck a tiny piece of locally grown vanilla bean in the jar, too. We only bought one jar of each, and when we went back they were closed. I brought a case of pineapples home with us, and made a batch of pineapple jam, and now I make it every year. Everyone loves it, and it’s really unique and surprising to them.

  242. I only recently have started overcoming my fear of “spoiled” dairy products so I could make a buttermilk substitution by curdling regular milk with lemon juice. I hope to make yogurt soon, but need to work on my aversion to leaving milk sitting out overnight! I would love the cookbook to help me get started (and as reassurance that it will all be okay if milk is less unrefrigerated for a short time).

  243. This isn’t a lot, but my mom always had brownie mixes when we were growing up, so that was our way of baking.
    Last year I decided to bake brownies from scratch, and they turned out to be the best I’ve ever tasted! I get so many compliments on them now I will never go back to baking from a box.

  244. I remember the first time I made barbeque sauce from scratch– it was so much more tangy and flavorful than anything I got out of a jar! And eating the fruit of my labors was such a joy… mmm, everything’s better slathered in barbeque sauce especially the slow simmered, homemade variety!

  245. well, I didn’t know what a cakemix was til I was in college. I come from a family of Make-it-yourself-ers. But I remember in first grade we made butter- in a quart jar. Everyone passed it around shaking it until we made butter. I couldn’t figure out why they didn’t just use a churn- it’s so much easier that way. I think this may be just part of the reason so many people think I’m strange.

  246. Actually, one of my first memories is helping my mom knead bread dough when I was about five. I really loved the feel of it, and she would always give me a little bit to knead and make into a little loaf of my own. I don’t make bread regularly anymore, but when I do, I still feel like kneading it is the best part. That’s why I don’t understand dough hooks…

  247. I lived abroad for a few years and finding out that I could make sour cream with heavy cream and vinegar was revolutionary for me- not sure if it counts as truly making something from scratch though. The other item I made was pumpkin pie… so yummy after you’ve put all the effort into baking the pumpkin and mashing it. I would love to try pickling, fingers crossed my garden works out.

  248. We made a wild leek (ramps) and roasted garlic jam similar to the Stonewall Kitchens one. It came down to cost–$8 for a jar of jam!! It took some research, and timing to gather the ramps bulbs, but is so worth it! Karen

  249. Strawberry jam with my mother when I was 8. We spent a lovely day at a pick your own strawberry farm and the afternoon in the kitchen. I have been searching for that variety of strawberry ever since. I realize now how great it was for my mom to give me an understanding of where my food came from, since I grew up in an urban area.

  250. Oh, I loved making homemade butter in a canning jar when I was a little girl! My sister and I would take turns passing the jar back and forth until our arms were tired from shaking!

  251. The first time I made homemade hummus, I couldn’t believe how much the recipe made! Tastier than storebought and enough for an army.. at a fraction of the cost.

  252. My first homemade item after getting married was sweet pickles. Mama used to make them and used them in potato salad. Then she quit making the pickles and used store bought sweet pickle relish and it just wasn’t good anymore. So I decided to start making them myself. For me they make all the difference to a great bowl of potato salad! My little girls love the pickles and always want some slices when I am making tuna salad for lunch.

  253. When I made sesame dressing from scratch for a Japanese dish called gomae (blanched spinach topped with this dressing). I was really proud of it and it tasted so much better made from scratch!

  254. Hello, I just found your website. Lovely! I have made several things that were previously only bought in the store but my favorite is yogurt. The first time I tried it and the milk became yogurt it was like magic! I just took a few loaves of sandwich bread out of the oven and the house smells fantastic. My first foray into canning will be this summer and I can’t wait.

  255. I would loooove to have this book. The first thing I made homemade was spaghetti sauce from our garden tomatoes. I was surprisingly impressed. It was yummy! I just bought 5 lbs of strawberries and am diving into homemade jam next!

  256. The first thing I really made from scratch was baby food. Steaming fruits and veggies, throwing in the Cuisinart…nothing could be more simple!

  257. Ummm… well, the first time I made something from scratch was probably during high school when I first borrowed my local library’s copy of the Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book and made their basic whole wheat bread. Amazing stuff. I didn’t know fresh bread was supposed to taste like that!

  258. I have yet to venture into the homemade side of things partly out of a paralzing fear that it will be bad, and partly out of respect for a Grandmother could could make, literally, anything. Meme always had canned stuff around like fig preserves, mayahw jelly (crabapple jelly in Louisiana) and she also stored tons of fresh veggies like green beans and corn. The third, and probably most immediate reason is space: I’ve been living with roommates for the last 9 years and, well, personal speace is something that gets lost in a shared kitchen. However, I have just purchased my first home and am already planning my first veggie garden.

  259. Thanks for the chance to win!
    I’ve been trying to replace all our packaged foods with home made. My most recent experiment has been crackers. I’m still perfecting them, but love making them myself!

  260. The first time I canned anything was a pasta sauce that was given to me by an older gentleman friend (god rest his soul)whom parents came from Italy. He gave me his grandmother’s recipe that he had grown up with. It was very generous of him. After I mastered this task, I realized how much fresher and tastier things were when made from scratch at home. You know what is going into the product and there what is going into your body.

  261. I made pickles for the first time last summer. They were wonderful. We were getting ready for a long move so I only made refrigerator pickles but I’m planning on making a lot more this summer and canning them.

  262. Making and canning stock has been my most satisfying homemade project. I was so pleased when I figured out how to make something to essential to cooking from “trash”! Then when I learned to pressure can it, it made it even better. Now I save up bones in the freezer, make a big batch of it and can it all at once.

    My newest homemade project is red wine vinegar. Not much happening so far. I also would like to make beer some time.

    This book would be great for me because even though I can a lot, I don’t actually have a canning book!

  263. I was very intimidated the first time I processed homemade jam in a boiling water bath. I re-read through the instructions multiple times, and was so uber-prepared. It turned out to be much easier than I expected!

  264. I’ve always cooled from scratch, why would you buy a ‘box’ when you have the ingredients in the cupboard??? With my girls, first we made whipped cream in a bowl with a whisk, then we made butter, then we made bread….and now, well we can our own jams and jellys, we make our own rubs and BBQ sauce, flavored oils and vinegars, our own gelatin with agar-agar instead of the nasty stuff. My new project, trying to make a real sourdough starter.

  265. I’ve just renewed that very book for the 4th time from my library.
    Made Triple Sec, and the 6 week wait date is up today. Can’t wait to taste the results!

  266. When my husband was in seminary in NEPA, decent pita bread wasn’t available in the grocery stores. I Googled a recipe and it was so much better than anything I had ever bought!

  267. The first time I made butter was when my dad, obviously thinking that I was at a loose end, half-filled a bottle with whipping cream, put the lid on, and told me to shake. I must have been about six. My poor arms! But it worked (possibly with a bit of help from him), and my mind was blown.

  268. Hey there! Well, to be honest, I am just beginning on the homemade track. I taught myself to cook several years ago, but I still rely pretty heavily on the grocery store. I have been working toward growing/ canning/ baking my own food for a few years, slowly transitioning from supermarket produce to farmer’s market, and even more slowly, but surely, to growing my own berries, herbs, etc.

    I am starting down this path for two reasons. First and foremost, I believe in sustainable living. Growing my own food saves resources and emissions in a big way. Second, my soon-to-be husband is joining the military. I know enough about the military life to know that “home” will have to be a traveling thing, a portable thing, and that to make that happen and still have “home” retain some semblance of what I grew up calling home, I will have to work at building something that matches that portability. I can grow a garden in every base, I can rely on canning, on making my own bread, preserves, etc. to keep the upset of moving to a minimum by providing some sort of continuity in my family’s food and home.

    All that to say that I am working hard to teach myself sustainable and healthy home living. : )

  269. Recently I have been making more and more things from scratch that I use to buy prepackaged. I like the idea of having more control over flavor & ingredients. My biggest accomplishment has been making a successful ailoi for the first time. Simple fresh ingredients, no preservatives or stabilizers to worry about.

    I have also just begun researching canning in preparing for volunteering with the Lancaster Farm Fresh CSA this year so I should have a large increase of fruits & veggies soon.

  270. My husband got me a cheese making kit for my birthday in February, so we’ve been making our own mozzarella for the past few months. Our weekly pizza is almost entirely homemade now — dough, cheese, and sauce. I’ve been buying the sauce tomatoes, but I hope to can our own this summer!

  271. Yogurt was the last new thing from scratch. Had not made it in many years. I also make more and more of my own bread, canned apple pie filling etc. It’s so satisfying.

  272. The first time I canned, I made five-fruit marmalade. I had to zest so many citrus fruits, but the result was delicious and beautiful.

  273. I made sauerkraut when we were getting too many cabbages from our CSA share. Lately I’ve been wanting to try mayo, but haven’t felt brave enough yet…

  274. Baking bread was an important one for me. After that came making butter, oh how that was a revelation! I never knew that it was so easy to make and now I don’t want to eat anything else!

  275. Faced with a big punnet of lackluster plums, I just made a plum chutney to serve with leftover chicken (and I’m sure it would go great with other things too – duck, cheddar cheese…). Two handfuls of plums, pitted and coarsely chopped, a small red onion, handful of dried blueberries, about a 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (homemade), 10 black pepper corns, 1/2 star anise. Brought the lot to a boil in a small saucepan and simmered until starting to thicken, about 1/2 hour. And did the house smell good!

  276. I have been wanting to get started canning for a long time. With summer just around the corner, I think now’s the time. I’ll probably get this book whether I win it or not!

  277. I really love the first time I canned applesauce… my first canning. So cool to have a day-long outing of farm-picking, apple peeling, cooking, canning, sweating… and at the end to have good friends and delicious appley goodness. I’d love that book!

  278. I am hoping that 2010 will be the year that I jump on the canning bandwagon. I bought jars and pickling seasoning a couple of years ago and a canning book but have yet to get the gumption to do it myself. I love your blog and it helps me see that anything is possible!

  279. I look at your blog all the time, but have yet to can anything. I made butter for the first time in Kindergarten for a Thanksgiving feast we were having. I remember it quite distinctly, sitting in a circle, shaking the jar with a marble in it. This past fall I wanted to create that memory for other kids and we made butter in the afterschool group that I lead. The kids were shocked at how good the butter tasted and keep asking to make more.

  280. I have been making homemade tomato sauce the past few years! can’t wait til my garden gets going this year!

  281. last year I canned for the first the time. Bought a serious load of beets and made some delicious batch of pickled beets. Although the beets could be a little bit sweeter… So definitely I will be canning this year! Now what crops shall I plant in our new veggie garden:-)

  282. My husband and son are into canning. They grow it then can it. This book would be fun.Last year their pickels and applesauce turned out great. Thanks for your site.

  283. Love your blog, Marisa! I’m a longtime reader, but first time commenter.

    Last year I started making my own granola, which I eat every morning with Greek yogurt. I think this year I’ll have to try making my own yogurt!

  284. When I was 11 years old I went to summer camp for a week. We made strawberry jam. Before that, I never knew jam was something you could make yourself!

  285. I was so inspired by the Little House in the Big Woods when I was 9 that I begged my mum to buy some cream which I promptly turned into butter.

  286. When I was in my junior year of college, I had a January term where I only worked about 4 hours a day. I was bored off my rocker, so I tried my hand at making bread. I was surprised at how easy and how fun it was!

  287. The first thing I canned was peaches in syrup, after discovering that a nearby farmer’s market had the most delicious sweet peaches I could ever remember tasting. That was the summer of ’07, and I did apple butter in the fall. I took 2008 off from canning to prepare for a move that never happened, and went all out in 2009 with james, pickles, salsa, butters, and ketchup! Can’t wait to see what 2010 brings.

  288. Last Fall I made my own pumpkin puree. Then I made apple butter for Christmas. Nothing compares to making something with your own hands. Now I just have to wait for the produce to start rolling in to do some more experimenting.

  289. I’ve started making my own salad dressing (Lemony shallot) and I find it so much more refreshing (and inexpensive!). I would love to make more from scratch, I just get nervous. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the giveaway!

  290. this looks like a fantastic book! not sure why I’ve never heard of it. I love to figure out how to make EVERYTHING! most recently it’s been Lara Bars πŸ™‚

  291. I made pickles once- they turned out alright I guess, not enough crunch for me though. That was years ago… these days I feel I don’t have enough time to make things like bread, pickles, jams, etc regularly though I wish I could! Also, I live with three other girls so space is a bit of an issue in our fridge πŸ™‚

  292. Last summer was the first time I’d ever canned anything on my own. I helped my grandparents when they would can peaches, pears, plums and anything else that wasn’t nailed down, but I’d never done it on my own. Last summer I canned two tiny jars of dill pickles (and they’re might tasty), and made apple butter and blueberry preserves for Christmas presents. And being the good friend I am, I got over my distaste for brussel sprouts and made pickled brussel sprouts for my best friend. I loved hearing about how people loved the gifts and how good they tasted. I just opened my peach preserves last week; they got me in the mood for summer stone fruits. Knowing that I did it myself made them taste all the sweeter.

  293. The first thing I ever made was either apple sauce or marmalade. It’s hard to remember now, even though it was only last Fall (2009). I have made both many times since then. My family especially likes my apple sauce with vanilla bean. And, I eat my marmalade for breakfast most days. I have given a lot away as gifts too, and have gotten great reviews. Yesterday I tried a recipe for pickled asparagus (purchased at the opening day of the local farmer’s market). I’m waiting about a week, for the flavors to meld, before we eat it. I sure hope that it is tasty!

  294. Garlic-dill pickles! I had never even seen canning before, but I took a class on pickling for the fun of it, and I’ve been canning ever since.

  295. The first thing I made/canned was Red/Green Bell pepper relish. It turned out so well that I was shocked. It was a great Christmas present. It’s been several years since the last time I made the recipe. Maybe this summer?

  296. The first time I made anything from scratch, it was a berry pie. At the time I worked for a cold storage facility and one of my accounts was a fruit producer. They ‘gifted’ a gigantic box of frozen boysenberries to me that I had no idea what to do with. I shared some with the other ladies in the office, and the rest I took home. That weekend I made a passable pie crust but was lost when it came to the filling… everything i read on berry pies gave different instructions and measurements. Some said lots of sugar, some only a little, some included flour or corn starch, some not. I finally just sort of averaged out the amounts of berry vs sugar between a few recipes, threw a crumb topping on it and into the oven and hoped for the best. It was, hands down, the most amazing pie I’ve ever had… it was just sweet enough and the berry filling held together like a dream, so when you cut a piece, it didn’t run all over. And of course, since I didn’t follow a particular recipe, I have never to this day been able to reproduce that pie!!! I have, however, developed a love of trying my hand at making things from scratch in hopes of another berry pie success. πŸ™‚

  297. Last summer I made jam for the first time and I was blown away — it’s easy to make and *so* much tastier than the stuff you buy. I can’t eat store bought anymore πŸ˜‰

  298. I guess I fall into the category of “what’s holding you back”? I am very interested in this topic because I have a son with a gazillion food allergies, so I have to read labels very carefully. But I’m kind of reluctant to start–I don’t know why . . . still I read your blog regularly.

  299. I canned for the first time this past fall (and I was brave enough to give the chutney as gifts!). It was a lot of fun and I’d like to do more…

  300. I started making homemade marmalade last year and it is AMAZING and surprisingly uncomplicated.

    Also, this Easter a friend and I made homemade Peeps – it was hard to get them into the right shape (they were vaguely Peep-shaped blobs), but homemade marshmallows were certainly better tasting than the pre-packaged ones.

  301. Hi Marisa!

    You probably remember the first time I canned because I had to e-mail you and ask you about a million questions about my seals, etc! Well my first foray was in pickles and peaches. For the peaches I took a recipe I had found online for brandied peaches and modified it to use gin, since I have a family friend who makes a delicious fresh version. Recently I wanted to gift a jar of the peaches for a friend’s birthday, but I was reluctant to give out my VERY FIRST canning project without trying it myself. I turned another jar from the batch into a peach cobbler and it was phenomenal. Not only were my freshly canned peaches better in the recipe than the usual grocery store kinds, but the gin gave the cobbler this amazing “what is this?” kick. Such a huge success that I had made it enough times to run right out of peaches!!! Will be canning a HUGE batch this summer.

    Thanks so much,

  302. I learned to make yogurt when my first child was born…..ages (29 years) ago. What a freeing experience!!! I moved onto never purchasing a jar of baby food and making homemade bread. I am now back to canning with a vengeance: pickles, jelly, jam, veggies and fruit butters (pear=YUMMY!). I plan to try even more this summer. Would love a book like this.

  303. I think homemade applesauce was the first thing I tried. And I was so worried about a worm in the apples that I cut them into much smaller pieces than I really needed to (never did find any worms). I’m not sure I’d ever go back to the store-bought kind.

  304. I made my first attempt at jamming a few weeks ago with Strawberry Jam. With tips from sites such as yours, I think I’m ready to step it up a notch. I recently helped my grandmother incorporate fresh herbs, fruits and veggies as part of an extremely low sodium diet and becuase of this we were able to make salad dressings together and really enjoyed ourselves. I would love to be able to share this book with her (minus salt cured items of course)for us to be able to spend more time together creating!

  305. I constantly challenge myself to make things I’ve previously only bought. I made mustard for the first time ever this year. I thought it was insanely hot. Way too hot to ever eat. I was sad and disappointed. Then my husband discovered it and raves about it. I found after a few weeks the flavor had mellowed and was amazing. Also, not food, but I just learned how to sew my own bra and underwear.

    I also like to look at things that are in cans in the store. If they are in cans there, I should be able to can them at home. Granted some things may require the use of a pressure canner. I just like imagining what it’d be like to make some of those things myself.

  306. My first foray into canning was making blueberry preserves. Every summer, I go visit my dad and we spend a day picking wild blueberries. Since they’re only available once a year, I had to try something besides freezing them!

  307. my first canning adventure was crushed tomatoes from the excess of my dad’s garden! they were delicious. i don’t live near enough to him now to take advantage of the excess…i miss it. we do visit our local pick-your-own orchard throughout the summer for fruit for homemade jams. equally as delicious.

  308. I’ve began cooking the meals for my family when I was 11 years old, so the first thing is long lost to memory. I have been making jam for a few years, but your web site inspired me to make my first marmalade and pickles. I’ve been having a blast and I have so much product I’m planning to build storage in my basement. Thanks for this great site!

  309. I don’t remember the first time I made something from scratch in terms of canning. Truth is, I’m more of an “in-the-moment” cook, and canning requires planning…and patience. What I remember most about canning was how much my mom loved it. She canned everything that came out of her garden, and she loved both gardening and canning very much. I can’t look at a home canned good without thinking about her and how much love she packed into every jar.

  310. I don’t remember the first time — we did it a lot in my house growing up. I know I’m always amazed when other folks don’t realize you can make most things from scratch. I haven’t done much canning on my own — I’d love to start.

  311. I’m growing cucumbers (just the everyday variety). But I heard that I won’t be able to pickle them…that I’ll need to grow pickling cucumbers. Does anyone know if that’s true? Thanks and thanks for a great blog!!

  312. I hate store bought salad dressing…so I have been making my own and LOVING it…and it is so easy!!! The cookbook looks amazing!! Thanks!

  313. The first time I ever made anything from scratch was the asparagus pickles you posted about a year ago. I made them and they were sooooo good. It started a fire in me. I am so appreciative of this web site, and your lovely posts. Viva la canning!

  314. Nut butters!! I adore peanut butter, always have. About a year ago, I dawned on me that I could make my own peanut butter to my exact taste after recently purchasing a food processor. Unfortunately my first batch was a disaster as I over-salted it. However, I have been happily making my own nut butters – almond, peanut, cashew, etc. – ever since.

  315. Knowing last summer was my last chance to really overacheive at gardening before returning to the workforce and under the influence of a book very similar to Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It, I planted whatever I wanted in a huge garden. Starting with a spring Vadalia Onion Relish, through the early summer white wine pickled chinese pea pods, through the beautiful collections of zucchini and cucumber relishes and pickles, and on to the end of season Basil Tomato Jam and pumpkin conserves, I gardened and canned and pickled and jarred through (I’d have to recount for sure) I think 56 batches of jarred goods. I used every jar I’d been collecting for 10 plus years and almost every jar gifted me from the cellar of our old farmhouse. I didn’t leave the yard or the house the entire summer! After gifting everybody I know with quarts of stuff(which I’m sure are still sitting in their pantries!) I still have a refrigerator and a cupboard full of jars! It was a major accoplishment, one I’m very proud of. Maybe I’d be better off not winning–I promised my family a trip to the lake this year!

  316. Well, I’ve never tried to pickle anything, but have been very interested in it for years. Just haven’t because of the fear of botulism πŸ™ However, I have a house guest that is pickling eggs (with beets) in my fridge as I type this. So I’ve no idea how they’ll turn out. I am hopeful πŸ™‚ Hoping to try bread and butter pickles this summer!

  317. One of the very first items I made from “scratch” was pasta. Even though I used store bought flour, eggs and olive oil, there was no escaping the feeling I got when I worked the dough on my counter. I especially like that my husband is always eager to help me guide the pasta through our hand crank pasta maker. Its so fun and romantic to be so close in the kitchen.

  318. The first thing I ever tried by myself was jam. So simple and good tasting! And it makes such wonderful gifts, especially when you’re a poor college student who can’t afford much. Now I don’t buy anything pre-made anymore. I love how good and easy my partner’s bagels are (he makes them once a week) and we’ve actually found a bread recipe that is fantastic even when we’re lazy and use the bread machine.

  319. I love to make things from scratch! I don’t recall my very first thing but one of my most memerable has been ice cream! It is so decadent and it always seems like such an accomplishment!

  320. The first time I made anything from scratch it was banana nut bread with my mother when I was much younger (5 or 6). She allowed me to complete every step solo- disastrous! I have since learned how to properly measure and guesstimate, and have a much better eye for baking πŸ™‚

  321. Looks lovely. I want! πŸ™‚ I think time is stopping me the most from jumping in. And that the whole process feels a bit overwhelming until you get the hang of it.

  322. The first thing I really remember making by myself was, of all things, bread. Yes, whole wheat honey bread. Kneading Rising and all that jazz. I don’t know why, but I got it into my head that I wanted to cook something. I was in High School and in the middle of a week long snow bread from school. I found a worn Gold Medal Flour paperback book, and skimmed through it. When I came upon the picture of the bread it took up almost a whole page and just looked so good and yummy I decided to try that. We had all the ingredients in the house. I followed all the instructions. The loaves turned out just as pretty as the picture. And when my mom came home and we cut into it, it tasted just as good as it looked. Boy was she surprised. She was also surprised the next day to come home to homemade White bread from the same book. Did I mention that each recipe made two whole loaves? I don’t remember us having much left over though. πŸ™‚

  323. Lately I’ve really been into making easy sauces (like caramel and butterscotch) and jaring them up. And a few months ago I discovered how easy it is to make fresh buttermilk and creme fraiche, both of which I use to buy (almost weekly! for like $10!) and now I just make my own. My husband and I just moved to a new place where we can finally have a garden, so I plan to learn how to can & jam all summer. Would love a copy of this book! Saw it last time I was at Williams & Sonoma and loved it.

  324. When I used to live in Japan, I LOVED a drink they have everyhwere called “Iced Cocoa.” It’s kind of a glorified chocolate milk (or an iced hot chocolate), but much more cocoa-like. I absolutely loved it and one time I found a recipe (just milk sugar and cocoa) and made it for myself. I fell in love and soon I was making entire gallons at a time and storing it in the fridge for daily consumption!!

  325. I planted my first garden two weeks ago and can’t wait to get started canning…the problem is I have no idea where to begin. M

  326. I’ve always wanted to make my own mustard and ketchup, so even if I don’t win the giveaway, I think I’ll have to buy this book to get started!

  327. I made my own jam a year ago. And I’ll never look back. Smuckers? Yuck.

    My next thing to make? Butter. Oh yeah. I. Can’t. Wait.

  328. I have just started to jump start some canning and this book looks divine! I would LOVE to add it to my collection. thanks!

  329. Just recently I made American brown sugar from scratch because it’s a little tricky to find it here in Germany. I just mixed white sugar with molasses – easy peasy!

  330. I’ve been making yogurt, farmer’s cheese, chevre, ricotta, butter (with my new butter churn from lehman’s), jams, chutneys, pickles (just dilly beans successful so far- tricky!), etc. while having access to a milkable goat and a pressure canner (for soups, tomato sauces, and meats) has been a huge motivator, i think almost all of my experiments with making things from scratch are inspired by the enthusiasm of my new boyfriend dan (not so new now- it’s been a year and a half of cheese making bliss!). he’s so psyched to eat everything i make. it helps a lot.
    my new goal (for life) is to become as much like laura ingalls wilder and as little like paula dean as possible.

  331. The day I made my first jar of jam (strawberry) was the day I decided never to buy the store junk again. A couple of months ago, I made my own butter using leftover cream, and I was ridiculously excited to watch it solidify into creamy, buttery deliciousness.

  332. Oh, wow. I couldn’t even tell you the first thing I ever made instead of buying. My mother is a canner and baker and I (and my husband) went to The Culinary Institute of America so we’ve been doing homemade forever.

    My favorite homemade items though are pickles, flavored mayos, breads and the list goes on! I love making things for my family and NOT depending on the grocery store and the limited flavors and copious amounts of salt in everything!

    Great site! This is my first visit – I’ll be back!

  333. The first time I made bread instead of buying it was a revelation. That so little effort produced bread that was sooooo much better than those plastic bags full of squishy, plastic slices was unbelievable! Now I make all our bread. When I have to buy a loaf occassionally due to time constraints, I definitely get complaints from my husband.

  334. Can’t wait to pick up a copy of that book. I’ve been eyeing it for a while, and want it all the more after this post.

    I can’t remember the first from-scratch thing I’ve made, but I’ve got to tell you-

    Inspired by one of your old homemade butter posts, I made some last year in my mixer. Even with saran, there was wild splashing on the counter and floor. Stupidly, I didn’t check in the drawers under the counter. Two weeks later, I discovered that my drawer of misc tools, dishes, and other kitchen paraphernalia was covered in dried, rotted milk.

  335. Bread – and then pickles. It has been amazing to me realizing that there are things that really aren’t that much work to make that everyone buys. I want to do more pickled things, butter.

  336. That is so funny: I just checked this book out of the library today, and my first project from it is going to be the crackers.

    Long ago I started making mayo from scratch, and now I cannot think about buying the stuff in a jar — I’m not even sure what that stuff is. Anyway, it was such a revelation that you can make it, change the flavor (add garlic, or basil, or… use different oils, there is just so much to play with here) and just be in control of it. Potato salad, just plain old potatoes, suddenly becomes a revelation. If there is one , single empowering experience in the kitchen, it is making mayo. But fair warning: it is a gateway drug to Hollandaise!



  337. I hope I’m not too late – I’d love to win that book! The first time I canned anything was way too long ago to remember, but the first time I made CHEESE was just last year. It was Ricotta and Mozzarella, but the ricotta was best. I’ve been making it ever since, and it is way better than store-bought (unless you buy good, fresh ricotta, that’s not too bad). It is so darned easy, there’s really no reason NOT to make it.

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