March 2019 Mastery Challenge Round-up

April 3, 2019

Friends! The third month of the Mastery Challenge is over and it was a fun month. I know that not as many of you resonated with the topic (herbs!) as you did last month, but I still loved the enthusiasm of those who participated.

This time around, we had just over 100 people report on the more than 200 projects they made. You all 32 batches of dried herb salt, 24 batches of pesto/pistou/herb paste, 23 batches of salt preserved herbs, 16 batches of compound butter, 8 boozy infusions, 5 herbal jellies, 5 batches of pickles, 4 shrubs, 4 syrups/concentrates, 4 jams, and 2 marinades/vinaigrettes.

There were also 21 projects that didn’t fall into the categories I offered. All told, that’s a lot of preserved herbs!

As is so often the case, attitudes at the start of the month were mixed. A healthy portion of you felt good about the topic, but the rest were all over the board.

Happily, by the end of the month, the majority of participants felt really good about it. There were still a number of you who fell in the middle, feeling just okay. And really, that’s fine. I look at the challenge as a process of discernment. Sometimes, the end result of that discernment is the realization that a particular topic is not for you. But how would you have known if you hadn’t tried?

Some of the things you guys made this month included chimichurri (like Sarah’s batch, pictured above), cucumber dill vodka, garlic chive compound butter, mint jelly, and nettle pesto.

There were also batches of raspberry mint shrub, rhubarb parsley syrup, rosemary cider jelly, tarragon mustard, lime and dill pickles, and blackberry blueberry lavender jam.

It not only challenged me to try different things (jelly & herb salt) but also reminded me to make some things that I had made in the past but had forgotten about (compound butter). This entire challenge has also inspired me to use every little leftover I find lurking in the fridge! Who knew you could freeze citrus peels after using the fruit for juice and then using them in infusions! And no more slimy green parsley in the salad drawer, because I had bought a whole bunch from the grocery store and only used a couple of tablespoons for a recipe! It only takes a few

minutes to turn these leftovers -that were once bound for the compost pile – into something edible and delicious.

Charlotte, NC

Loved it. The 2 new things that I made (garlic; salt herbs) are things I’ve thought about, but likely wouldn’t have bothered with without the challenge to spur me on. The compound butter is to compare to last year’s Ramp Butter, also from F in J. Really enjoyed this month. May still make something else!

Philadelphia, PA

Used a recipe for Herb and Garlic Pickled Mushrooms from the book, “The Complete Book of Pickling”, by Jennifer MacKenzie. This book has been my standby for pickling recipes for 10 years. This is the third time I’ve used this recipe. It’s a favorite with the family for antipasta night.

Colorado Springs, CO

To see more of what your fellow Mastery Challenge participants made this month, make sure to check out the #fijchallenge feed on Instagram and join the Food in Jars Community group on Facebook!

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