Recipe: Pickled Italian Plums and Pears

An olde, olde recipe. Where did this recipe come from? Everywhere! There are versions of this recipe from China to Europe to America, and mighty fine it is!This requires 2 lbs of sugar for every 2 cups of apple cider vinegar. Combine these two ingredients and heat until sugar dissolves. Take peeled, whole pears with stems intact, and layer in your pot. Simmer gently for approximately 2-3 hours covered, then, uncovered until reduced to your liking. Gently lift out whole pears with the stem and a spoon, place in a jar.The pears will not stick to the bottom of a thick bottomed steel stockpot. Any extra syrup can be jarred for Asian sweet and sour dishes. The pears and plums are scrumptious on ice cream, or served with some whipped cream and toasted almond slices/slivers, shaved chocolate or a drizzle of fudge. One may add cinnamon sticks, cloves, and/or ginger for a syrup variation.For plums, follow the same directions for the sweet and sour sauce, poke holes in their skins, then gently simmer the plums for a five minutes, with skins on, then jar or can them up.These recipes are meant to be stored in cold storage like a root cellar, but can be stored in the refrigerator for a very long time. The syrup is great canned, in small half pint amounts for future food creations!A great book recommendation that has pickled peach, pear and plum recipes is “Putting Food By” by Ruth Hertzberg,  Janet Greene and Beatrice Vaughan.

(c) 2012 Summer Michaelson

Green Tomato Pickles for the Love of Life!

So simple, indeed. Just home-made green tomato pickles. No one can buy these, not obtainable for sale, only for the experience of making. Some people love red tomatoes, and I feel for them, as the prize of a green tomato is just out of their reach. I like ’em green, and firm, before transforming them.

If you haven’t invested in a good sized, lead-free stoneware crock , do so. A large Pyrex glass bowl will work as well.

Flow outside to the garden with your young ones, and pick green tomatoes to your hearts desire. Bring them in, wash them, cut the blossom ends off. Slice thinly. Take a yellow or red onion and slice thinly. Layer your green tomatoes and onion slices with layers of a good, not overly refined salt like Celtic, Himalayan or Redmond’s Sea Salt. Keep layering until all your tomato and onion slices are used up. Cover your crock with a flour sack and a string or rubber band to keep secure from flying beasts. Let sit over-night, or up to 24 hours. To ready for the next step, gingerly empty the contents of your crock into a colander, and rinse in cold water.

Next step, take a pot and heat 6 cups of a good quality apple cider (we prefer raw and organic from Azure Standard, which has 5.7% acidity). Add 4-5 cups sugar to this (4 for a little more on the sour side, 5 for sweet). I prefer a mixture of brown and palm sugar, honey is delicious too. While bringing to a boil get your spice bag together with a 2 tablespoons or so of whole allspice, whole cloves, whole mustard seed and whole peppercorns. Tie to handle of your pot and submerge.

Open, de-seed, and slice Ancho, Anaheim and Jalapeno peppers (or your favorite variety) very thinly, and add them with your green tomatoes and onion slices to the boiling vinegar mixture. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 25 minutes. These can be scooped hot into jars for refrigerator or cold cellar storage or take the next step and water bath can them for approximately 10 minuets or less. Enjoy this sweet and sour treat with almost everything imaginable or strait out of the jar.

Make your pickles with love!

(c) 2012 Summer Michaelson

The Mountain Song

Words put to Accordion music, to an ancient, Hungarian Rhythm.

I sing a song on top of the Mountain~

I love the Mountain song~

I sing to my love in the Mountain~

That touches the Earth and the Sky~

I sing my heart song to the Mountain~

I love the Mountain so~

I go up the Mountain, and down the Mountain~

I roll in the sides of the Mountain~

My heart rolls with the Mountain Mist~

My heart sings to the Mountain Herbs~

My heart intertwines with the Mountain Trees~

And I find my love, my heart the Mountain,

And I sing a song to the Mountain!

(c) 2012, Summer L. Farkas Takacs Michaelson, CH

Storytree Farm tour TODAY and Spicy Kale Disappointment!

Mama Mia! I’m up and gettin’ ready for the day. Was planning on bringing a beautiful crock of fermented, spicy kale, but alas! I need serious man hands to dislodge my weights on it, stuck, altho’ I did fish out tiny bits o’ fermented kale and it is yummy! I plan on bringing some pickles and kraut tho’, if you have anything you want to bring to our fermentation table, please do, would love to share nibbles!

Beautiful Saturday, Loves!

Summer Michaelson, CH


WSU Farm Tour at Storytree Farm with Serendipity Plant Lore!

Come and join this beautiful farm tour at one of the loveliest small, productive, bio dynamic farms in the Southwest Washington area, and walk away with real and glittering visions of bountiful and beautiful local farm livin’, including hens and goats! Visit the farmers, kiss the flowers, see an awesome top bar bee hive in action, and come visit with us at the farm. Lots of events are lined up at the farm, including Serendipity Plant Lore Workshops and Discussions. From 10 AM to 3 PM, free discussions and workshops on fermenting, pickling, nourishment from herbal teas and wild edibles. Might even do a plant walk if we get the chance! I will also be offering free, 5 minute consultations in the middle of the day, so if you would like to find out what herbal medicine is about and can do for you, come join the fun! Always remember, that herbal medicine is people’s medicine, it is that medicine of the ground that nourishes our bodies and spirits, and love and laughter, and can nourish away many problems, from ear infections to cancer.

Where: Storytree Farm, Brush Prairie, WA

Date: Saturday, September 15th, 2012

When: 10 AM-3 PM





The Joy of Diggin’ Potatoes!

Yes, I just said that. The Joy of Diggin’ Potatoes. With the sun on my face, the autumn breeze stringing my hair across my shoulders, and dirt on my nose, I can’t imagine a greater joy could be had or bought anywhere else this afternoon, then in a corner of my garden. I planted a variety of my favorite heirlooms this year, including Yellow Finn, Norkotah Russets, French Fingerling, Rose Gold, and Kennebec. They came from a variety of sources originally, some as far away as Sunbow Farm in Corvallis, others as close as Storytree Farm in Vancouver, WA (providers of my Family’s CSA box). Whatever didn’t get eaten in the potato box in spring, made its way back outdoors to the lovely soil to multiply like mad…and they did!

For the few minutes it takes to plant potatoes, I loved how it took a couple hours to harvest. The potatoes grew deep, and because I hadn’t labeled anything well, it was a complete surprise to find which mounds contained what variety of potatoes. All a surprise, all a joy, all the love the ground brought forth to feed our family until next spring, where again, the potatoes that do not make it to our dinner plate or to those of our friends, will be the seed potatoes for a whole new beautiful crop, that I again get the privilege to dig up abundance with smiles. May everyone in the world be blessed with such experiences!

Summer Michaelson, CH


(c) 2012 Summer Michaelson