Author: craig

How to Preserve Blueberries in a Sugar and Kombucha Brine

A while back I tried fermenting blueberries with a salt solution. While it worked and the blueberries were fermented and were able to sit in the fridge for several weeks, it wasn’t my husband’s favourite. He could never really get rid of the salty flavour of the brine.

I was determined to make this work. My husband loves blueberries, but he eats them slowly, so they’re at risk of going bad before he finishes them. Plus, when they’re on sale it’s always tempting to buy extra and save some money.

Thankfully while researching salt fermentation, I’d also come across a sugar fermentation method that used sugar and kombucha. Since we brew our own kombucha (and that’ll eventually get posted on this site), this seemed like an easy one worth trying.

As long as you have kombucha, this one is easy and simple to put together. If you’re buying your kombucha in the store, you’ll want to make sure it’s pretty fresh bottle so that you can be reasonably sure that the beneficial bacteria is all still alive. You’ll want unflavoured / plain kombucha so that you don’t end up flavouring the blueberries with whatever flavour you purchased (though that might be an experiment worth trying someday—I bet ginger kombucha would make lightly gingered blueberries). If you’re home-brewing your kombucha, I scooped some out for this recipe right before adding the fruit into the kombucha.

The one piece of equipment you’ll need is a fermentation kit. Here’s the one I have. (I can’t find it on Amazon, but if you’re in Canada, I got it from Canadian Tire. Alternatively, here’s a more expensive kit from the same company available on Amazon, though it looks like it’s several lids and weights but you provide your own jar.) However, this is also optional—you can just use a large, clean jar, and when it comes to the step where you need the fermentation weight, you can use a Ziplock bag full of water.

This recipe really couldn’t be simpler, provided you have the ingredients and fermentation kit.

In a bowl or large glass, store together kombucha, salt, sugar, and water until everything is dissolved and nicely mixed. Then rinse or wash the blueberries to ensure they’re clean, then put them into the fermentation jar. Pour the kombucha/sugar solution on top, close the lid, and let it sit on your counter.

After a full 24 hours, taste test it daily until you reach a desired doneness.

In everything I’ve read about this, similarly to when I tried the salt fermentation, there’s never a definition of what doneness is and how to tell if it’s ready. So… my recommendation is to just wing it. With a full 24 hours on the counter, the beneficial bacteria and yeast from the kombucha will have fully established itself in your jar of blueberries, so you’ll have some of that preservation effect even if you call it done too early. At a worst case scenario, if you call it done way too early, the blueberries might go mouldy like they normally would, so next time you just let it ferment a little longer.

For us, it took about three days till my husband felt they were fermented enough and ready to go.

I transferred the blueberries and brine to a new jar and put it in the fridge. Even if you didn’t let it fully ferment before putting it in the fridge, that fermentation action will continue to happen, just at a much slower pace due to the cold of the fridge.

I think it’s been about three times now that my husband has said to me “That new way of fermenting blueberries is really good.” To me, that’s the mark of success.

For longevity of the blueberries… I don’t really know yet how long they last. The jar pictured here is still in our fridge (though much emptier now) and it’s been a full month, and the blueberries are still tasty and delicious.

Kombucha eventually turns vinegary, so if left a really long time, these might taste a bit pickled. If you reach that point, it’d probably be best to throw them out and start a new batch.

My husband eats these straight out of the jar with a spoon—they’re that good—but this is also an excellent way to preserve blueberries for smoothies or to toss on top of ice cream.

I’m tempted to try this same preservation method with Saskatoons (sometimes known as serviceberries). We’ve got a bush in our front yard and last year got quite the harvest. They’re similar in size to blueberries, though I think with less moisture content. If I do try it and if it’s a success, then stay tuned for the recipe!

Sugar-Brine Fermented Blueberries

With sugar, kombucha, and a few other ingredients, blueberries can be easily fermented and last for weeks in the fridge.
Prep Time 5 mins
Fermenting Time 3 d
Course Fruit
Cuisine Fruit


  • 1 Fermenting Jar or Fermenting Kit See notes for alternatives


  • 2 cups Blueberries
  • 6 Tbsp Kombucha, unflavoured
  • ¾ tsp Salt
  • 6 Tbsp Sugar
  • 9 Tbsp Water


  • Mix all ingredients except for the blueberries.
  • Clean blueberries and then put them in the fermentation jar.
  • Pour the kombucha-sugar mixture on top.
  • Put the fermentation weight on top of the blueberries.
  • After twenty-four hours, taste-test daily until desired doneness. For us, we determined this was after three days, but the length of time will vary based on the temperature in your kitchen and various other factors.
    Transfer to a clean jar and store in the fridge.
    I'm not sure of the shelf life, but the jar in our fridge has been there a month and they're still good.


A fermentation kit usually has a jar, a weight, and an airlock. This is the one I have and it worked perfectly for this. (I can’t find it on Amazon, but if you’re in Canada, I got it at Canadian Tire. Alternatively, here’s a more expensive and more complete kit from the same company available on Amazon, though it looks like it’s several lids and weights but you provide your own jar.) If you don’t have a fermentation kit, you can use any jar that’s big enough to hold all of this, and then use a Ziplock bag filled with water as a weight. You might get scum forming on the bag and that’s okay.
Keyword Blueberries, fermented blueberries, preserved blueberries

How to make a Sourdough Starter

I’d tried to get into baking over the last few years. We got a second-hand bread machine from my husband’s uncle and I was excited to start on the journey…but I just never really got into it. I was never really happy with what the bread machine gave me.

After letting that goal rest for a while, I decided to give it another try, but rather than look at the tools I have and figure out what I can do with them (like looking through bread machine recipes till I find an interesting one), I took the opposite approach and decided what I wanted to make and then figured out how to make it happen (in other words, I decided I wanted to make sourdough and I then had to figure out how to do it).

The key to sourdough—and the core element in its unique taste—is an active sourdough starter.

What is a sourdough starter?

A sourdough starter is basically fermented flour.

It’s bubbly and requires some care to keep it healthy and active.

To create it, you mix flour and water and cultivate natural yeasts. These yeasts are all around us—in the air and on surfaces and on us. Thus, each sourdough starter will have its own taste profile and its activity level might vary from other starters.

I used to think that fermented foods—like a sourdough starter—all came down to science. While, yes, there is an element of science to it, fermenting foods is often more of an art. You try something, you experiment, you do a bit of guesswork…but as long as you’re within the general guidelines of fermentation, your experiments are typically safe.

What is sourdough starter used for?

Since sourdough starter is filled with natural yeasts, it takes the place of yeast in breads that require some rise.

In the process of cultivating your sourdough starter, you regularly throw out some of the starter—this is usually called discard and it has its own uses in various things.

What you’ll find on this site so far, and in the very near future, include:

  • Basic sourdough bread (coming soon)
  • Jalapeno cheddar sourdough bread
  • Sourdough bagels (coming soon)
  • Sourdough chocolate chip bagels (coming soon)
  • English muffin bread using discard (coming soon)
  • Sourdough chocolate chip cookies using discard (coming soon)

As this site continues to grow, so too will the list of sourdough recipes. A good tip if you’re searching for more is to check out the Recipe Index page.

How easy or difficult is it to care for my sourdough starter?

It’s extremely easy to create and care for a sourdough starter, all it requires is a little bit of patience.

After you’ve created your starter using the steps below, you’ll want to regularly care for it to maintain it. If you’re storing your starter at room temperature on the kitchen counter, you’ll likely want to feed it and care for it on a daily basis, though I have gone every second day and it’s been fine. If you’re storing your starter in the fridge, you’ll want to feed and care for it on a weekly basis.

Sometimes your starter will get a strange smell. Mine will often smell like acetone (nail polish remover). This can mean your yeast is hungry for fresh flour.

When my starter gets this smell, I make sure to take care of it very well for a couple days to reduce or remove the smell. From what I’ve seen, if this smell is present when using the starter, it does not affect the taste or smell of the final baked bread or cookies.

You may develop mould in your starter jar. If you do, immediately scoop or scrape it out. (I had a tiny bit of mould once and it was on the half-dry starter clinging to the inside of the jar, so I scraped it out.) Fermenting foods, like what you do when making a sourdough starter, creates a thriving colony of beneficial microorganisms that do a good job of keeping out the bad microorganisms. When I got that bit of mould, I kept a close eye on everything to see if the mould would return or spread—it never did. If your mould comes back or if it’s something more serious like black mould, toss it all out and create a new starter. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

How to Make a Sourdough Starter

It’s pretty simple. All you need for equipment and ingredients are:

  • Digital kitchen scale (like this one); you can use measuring cups if you really want to, but going by weight is best
  • A large glass jar; I used a one-litre mason jar
  • All-purpose flour
  • Water

This process takes several days.

Day one

In a clean jar, mix 60 grams of flour and 60 grams of warm water. (If you prefer using measuring cups, it’s 1/2 cup of loosely-packed flour and 1/4 cup of warm water.) Cover with plastic wrap or a lid and let it sit on the counter at room temperature for 24 hours.

Day two

Look at the starter to search for any signs of bubbles. You may or may not have them forming yet. Either way, leave the jar on the counter another 24 hours.

Day three

Remove and discard about half of the jar’s contents. Add in 60 grams of all-purpose flour and 60 grams of warm water. Stir until smooth, cover, and let sit on the counter.

Days four, five, and six

Each day, remove and discard about half the jar’s contents. Add in 60 grams of all-purpose flour and 60 grams of warm water. Stir until smooth, cover, and let sit on the counter.

By now you should be seeing bubbles in your starter. You should also see that the starter rises in the hours after you feed it and by 24 hours later it’s collapsed back down. You can wrap a rubber band around the jar at the low level to keep an eye on the rise and fall.

Day seven and onward

Your starter should be active now. The level of activeness will depend on the yeast in your starter, the temperature of the room, your local climate (such as humidity), and several other factors, most of which are beyond your control.

Now you can go about feeding and maintaining your starter on a regular schedule. Each time you feed it, first discard half of the jar’s contents, then add 60 grams flour and 60 grams warm water.

If you’re keeping your starter on your kitchen counter, you should feed it every day. However, that requires a lot of investment of flour and your time, which is fine if you’re baking regularly. If you’re not baking quite that frequently, you can store the starter in the fridge and feed it weekly.

A Few Tips and Troubleshooting

  • If you got absolutely no bubbles and the starter was a total flop, I’d suggest looking at what might have prevented the starter from growing. Is it perhaps too cold in your kitchen? Did you store it in a warm place like the oven and accidentally turn the oven on one time (and thus killed the yeast)? If you can figure out the cause, discard your starter and try again. If you can’t figure out the cause, discard your starter and try again—but perhaps try with a new bag of flour in case that was somehow the cause of your issue.
  • Don’t be disappointed if your starter is a little underwhelming. As long as it’s forming bubbles, you have a healthy and active starter. When I got started on this project, I got very little rise. Everything I read online said that when you feed the starter it will double in size, but at best I was getting a 25% rise. The yeast culture in your starter will get stronger over time as you continue to feed and maintain it. Nowadays, just a few months later, my starter will triple in size rather than just double.
  • If you’re continuing to have underwhelming results, you could try mixing in some whole wheat flour. I don’t know the explanation, but a baker friend told me it has something to do with how the flour absorbs moisture. In my research I’ve also found Canadian all-purpose flour is different from all-purpose flour in the rest of the world, which might be why I was having less-than-expected success. I now use about 12 grams of whole wheat flour and 48 grams of all purpose flour, for a total of 60 grams. (It’s a 1:4 ratio of the two flours.) This may be partly why my starter now triples in size rather than doubling.
  • You might get weird smells! Mine smells like acetone (nail polish remover) when it’s left too long. You might also get a murky liquid forming on top that smells like old gym socks—this is called “hooch”. Both of these are normal and have no ill effects on your starter, and the solution to both is being rigorous with your feeding until it goes away. I store my starter in the fridge since I bake about once a week and when I take it out, it reeks of acetone. I leave it on the counter for a few days, feeding it daily, and it’s soon smelling fresh again and is ready to be used. However, if you don’t have the few days of planning like I do, it should still be fine. I’ve baked a loaf with starter that had a strong acetone smell and the bread was completely fine.
  • After scooping out starter to make some baked goods, I usually feed it right away and I give it the same weight that I took out. For example, if I do a sourdough bread, my usual recipe calls for 50 grams of starter—so after scooping it out, I’ll put 25 grams of flour and 25 grams of warm water into my jar to bring it back up to the usual weight/volume.
  • You may want to purchase in a jar with a swing-top enclosure. I’ve got one of these, as you can see in the photos on this post. Instead of locking it down to close it, I wrap a rubber band around the locking pieces. This holds it closed but since it’s not airtight, if the starter grows far too much, it can escape and overflow (and so I keep the jar in a bowl to catch the overflow).

Now that you have a healthy and active sourdough starter, you can dive into the oddly-addicting world of sourdough baking!

Sourdough Starter

An active sourdough starter is the key ingredient for sourdough bread and a whole host of other delicious recipes.
Prep Time 7 d
Course Bread


  • 1 Digital scale
  • 1 Jar, about a litre in size


  • All-purpose flour
  • Water


  • Day one:
    In a clean jar, mix 60 grams of flour and 60 grams of warm water. (If you prefer using measuring cups, it's 1/2 cup of loosely-packed flour and 1/4 cup of warm water.) Cover with plastic wrap or a lid and let it sit on the counter at room temperature for 24 hours.
  • Day two:
    Look at the starter to search for any signs of bubbles. You may or may not have them forming yet. Either way, leave the jar on the counter another 24 hours.
  • Day three:
    Remove and discard about half of the jar's contents. Add in 60 grams of all-purpose flour and 60 grams of warm water. Stir until smooth, cover, and let sit on the counter.
  • Day four, five, and six:
    Each day, remove and discard about half the jar's contents. Add in 60 grams of all-purpose flour and 60 grams of warm water. Stir until smooth, cover, and let sit on the counter.
    By now you should be seeing bubbles in your starter. You should also see that the starter rises in the hours after you feed it and by 24 hours later it's collapsed back down. You can wrap a rubber band around the jar at the low level to keep an eye on the rise and fall.
  • Day seven and onward:
    Your starter should be active now. The level of activeness will depend on the yeast in your starter, the temperature of the room, your local climate (such as humidity), and several other factors, most of which are beyond your control.
    Now you can go about feeding and maintaining your starter on a regular schedule. Each time you feed it, first discard half of the jar's contents, then add 60 grams flour and 60 grams warm water.
    If you're keeping your starter on your kitchen counter, you should feed it every day. However, that requires a lot of investment of flour and your time, which is fine if you're baking regularly. If you're not baking quite that frequently, you can store the starter in the fridge and feed it weekly.


Some folks, like myself, have found more success mixing flours. This might be partly due to how the flour is absorbing the water and the dryish climate here in Winnipeg affects it, or perhaps because all-purpose flour in Canada is different than in the rest of the world (so this might lead to different results than an American baking blog might experience), or it could be something else entirely. I use a 1:4 ratio of whole wheat and all-purpose flour. When adding in 60 grams of flour, this means 12 grams of whole wheat and 48 of all-purpose.
You might get weird smells. Mine commonly smells like acetone (nail polish remover) when it’s left too long. You might also get a murky liquid forming on top that smells like old gym socks—this is called “hooch”. Both of these are normal and have no ill effects on your starter, and the solution to both is being rigorous with your feeding until it goes away. I store my starter in the fridge since I bake about once a week and when I take it out, it reeks of acetone. I leave it on the counter for a few days, feeding it daily, and it’s soon smelling fresh again and is ready to be used. However, if you don’t have the few days of planning like I do, it should still be fine. I’ve baked a loaf with starter that had a strong acetone smell and the bread was completely fine.
Keyword sourdough bread, sourdough starter

How to Make an Irish Drop Shot

An Irish drop shot is a fun, though not quite so tasty, drink for an Irish themed night or a party.

It’s pretty basic—you literally drop a shot glass full of Irish cream into a glass of Guinness. The Guinness is acidic and this acid immediately starts curdling the cream in the Irish cream…meaning you have to chug the whole thing immediately.

If you’re a fan of Guinness, you may find this extra enjoyable.

(I’m not a fan of stout beers, so this wouldn’t be my first choice. However, I end up having it now and then if we’re having a dinner party with friends.)

A couple years ago I was experimenting with filming some food videos for TikTok and Instagram, and just happened to film a video very similar to this recipe. The Irish Slammer replaces half the Irish cream with Irish whiskey. The same rule applies—drink immediately!

Irish Drop Shot

Not the fanciest of drinks but a fun way to kick off a hangout with friends.
Prep Time 5 mins
Course Drinks
Cuisine Irish


  • 1 Pint glass or larger
  • 1 Shot glass


  • 1 can Guinness
  • 1 oz Irish cream Any brand is fine, see note below for a variation


  • Pour the Guinness into a pint glass. Ensure there is a bit of room left. If it's too full, take a sip or two of the Guinness to make some room.
  • Pour the Irish cream into a shot glass. If the shot glass is larger than an ounce and you're feeling adventurous, you can fill up the shot glass to the top.
  • Drop the shot glass (including the glass) into the pint of Guinness.
  • Drink immediately. The acidity of the Guinness curdles the Irish cream, so this drink is meant to be chugged down in one go.


If, like me, you’re not a fan of chugging a whole can’s worth of Guinness, you could do half a can of Guinness. When I do this drink with my husband, we usually split a can between us.
Irish Slammer: For a slight variation, fill a shot glass with equal parts Irish whiskey and Irish cream. Drop the glass into a pint of Guinness and drink immediately.
Keyword Guinness, Irish Cream, Irish Drop Shot

How to Grow Your Own Wheat and Make Flour

My husband and I take an experimental approach to our gardening. If we get the slightest idea of something that would be neat to try, we try it.

Thankfully, we have a lot of garden space to work with. In addition to our own property, we are able to use our neighbour’s very large garden and have recently started helping our other neighbour convert some of their property into a garden. So, with all that space, we can try something on a whim.

Like wheat.

My mom had picked up a little bundle of wheat berries for us (wheat berries are what the wheat seed is called) and we decided we’d have a little patch of wheat. However, we didn’t have enough to fill the amount of space we had, so I picked up some more wheat berries from Bulk Barn (a bulk food store here in Canada).

We were thus committed to this project.

Planting wheat is remarkably easy. You just clear some earth and sprinkle wheat berries onto it.

To do this, I just had a fistful of berries, loosened my fingers a bit, and shook my hand, letting the berries slip between my fingers and land on the dirt.

From there, we watered regularly. I did this in the summer of 2022 and we had a decent rainfall that year. It likely would have been fine with the intermittent rain, but since it was a small enough patch, I watered the wheat between rainfalls.

Maintaining wheat is easy. The wheat largely chokes out weeds, so it requires little to no work.

Before long we had a patch of knee-high wheat. Over the course of the summer it grew to about hip height.

I did notice that we had two distinct types of wheat. One would have been what my mom gave me and the other would have been what we got from Bulk Barn.

As I proceed through this post, I’ll explain how I did it on my small scale operation here. If you have a much larger plot and want to grow a lot of wheat or if this is going to become a regular staple crop in your garden, I encourage you to do your Google research to find out how to do all this, because there are certainly better ways than what I did.

When late fall turns to early winter here in Winnipeg, the change happens in about 24 to 72 hours. Winter finally starts and everything needs to be harvested from the garden all at once.

For us that means all the half-ripened tomatoes, the potatoes, and the squash. And in 2022, that also meant the wheat.

My husband harvested the wheat by literally grabbing it by the handful and yanking it out of the ground. I came home from work one day to find our patio table absolutely laden with wheat. Most of it was ready for harvest—it had gone golden brown and was dry—but some of it was still too green.

With a pair of scissors I cut the heads of all the stalks of wheat, this took a super long time.

Anything that was too green was thrown out, but anything that looked dried or on its way to being dried went into a bag to be dealt with later.

My lesson here is to use fabric bags. I had one plastic bag of wheat, and since plastic is not breathable, it contained the moisture and went mouldy. The other two bags dried nicely, though, with everything turning golden brown.

If you have cats, I advise you to keep the bags out of their reach and/or tightly closed. both my cats repeatedly broke into the bags and pulled the wheat heads out to chew on them.

Normally I’d be okay with that because cats are curious and like to chew on plants. However, with wheat, as you can see in the photo above, there are strands that stick out. They are dry and stiff and pokey—I’ve scratched my hands on them. Something like that has the potential of getting stuck in a cat’s mouth or throat.

Anyway, that aside…

Let them sit and dry out completely. This can likely be accomplished in a few weeks, but for me the wheat became this thing I didn’t want to deal with and I ended up leaving it for seven months.

Now to process it and turn it into wheat!

Working in batches, put a bunch of wheat in an old pillowcase and absolutely bash the eff out of it with a rolling pin. If you know someone that needs to let out some aggression, invite them over.

Your goal here is to break the wheat berries out of their papery shells (the chaff).

In the photo, you can see I used a reusable shopping bag—that was the wrong choice. It had so much pokey, scrapey chaff stuck in the fibres that I had to throw the bags out.

When you start pulling it out of the bag or pillowcase, it should look like this…

Scoop it into a big bowl.

Since I was working with a smallish batch of wheat, I took the time to break up heads of wheat by hand if they survived the rolling pin bashing. I also dug my hands into the bowl several times and squeezed the wheat to break up some more and encourage the berries to separate from the chaff.

I recommend wearing rubber gloves or gardening gloves while doing this. The sharp, brittle chaff can easily cut like a papercut. At one point I even got some embedded under my fingernail.

Eventually you’ll have a bowl that looks like this…

Grab that bowl and a second bowl, and head outside. Hopefully there’s a gentle breeze or a mild wind. If not, you might need to bring a fan out with you.

Pour the wheat and chaff from one bowl to another several times. The breeze will blow away the super-light chaff, leaving just berries (and still some chaff) in the bowls.

When I eventually do up a post about harvesting mustard seeds, it’s the same process.

Eventually you’ll have a bowl of mostly wheat berries. I then handpicked out the last of the chaff.

To do this fairly easily, I scooped a handful onto a plate, picked out the chaff, and dumped the berries into a new bowl. Doing this several times soon leads to a bowl of only wheat berries.

Now we need to turn the wheat berries into flour.

You can buy a small grain mill if this becomes a regular crop for you, but there are alternatives.

You could use a coffee grinder (but be sure to fully clean it before using it again for coffee!) or, like me, you could use a high power bullet blender. Working in batches, I used the blender to grind it into somewhat-chunky flour.

I didn’t get it super fine because the blender started overheating. But I got it decently ground. When I use some of this flour, I’ll likely run it through the coffee grinder to see if I can get it finer.

I’m hesitant to use it for bread and general baking because that usually relies on a certain consistency of flour for rising and the other aspects of baking. I’m sure it would be fine for this, but with a limited amount of flour I don’t want to use it for bread and then have it not turn out.

I would, however, use it for recipes that don’t involve rising. For example, it would work great with Irish potato bread since the flour basically just holds the potato together, or as part of the crumble topping on apple crumble, or if you dredge battered fish in flour.

This was definitely an interesting and worthwhile gardening experiment. It’s not likely one I’d try again, but if you have a good patch for wheat, invest in a few tools and equipment to aid the process, and experiment with the best ways to use your flour, this could be a great crop for you.

How to Make Cheddar Guinness Dip

My husband and I like to have traditions around food.

We like to try new things and then incorporate them into an event to make both the event and the food special. For example, we love watching the Oscars every year and my husband always does up a big batch of Caesar salad (with dressing made from scratch) and fettuccini Alfredo (with sauce made from scratch).

For the past few years we’ve had a friend with Irish heritage come over for dinner on or around St. Patrick’s Day, and so our food tradition is that I try to come up with something Irish for dinner. We’re not the type to drink all the green beer, but more the type to want a good Irish stew with some Irish sides. Last year I made Irish soda bread.

This year I stumbled across a handful of recipes for Cheddar Guinness Dip and knew I had to make it.

What you serve with the dip is up to you. Around the same time I also discovered Irish Potato Bread, and these definitely go together well. Pretzels and celery sticks would be fantastic with this.

There is a small amount of Guinness in here and it’s not cooked so the alcohol isn’t boiled off or anything, so ideally this would be an adults-only appetizer. That being said, the amount of Guinness per serving is minuscule.

Other than the two cheeses, I treated this like a “measure with your heart” recipe. I eyeballed everything and doubled the garlic because who doesn’t like garlic?

But, let’s work through this:

If you have a big food processor, this whole recipe is made in there. I don’t. My food processor is tiny, but I found using a handheld blender / stick blender worked well. I just had to really force it into the cheese to get it to mix. If you don’t have one of these either, you could just mix it really well with a fork. Your final result will be a bit chunkier, but it’ll taste just as great. The chunky texture might even be more appealing, come to think of it.

Start with putting nearly everything in the food processor or a bowl—softened cream cheese, shredded Irish cheddar cheese, garlic cloves, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, salt, and pepper.

I had to head to the deli section of my grocery store to get fancy cheeses, but if that’s not an option for you either because of cost or local selection, getting an old or sharp cheddar cheese will do in a pinch.

If you don’t have Dijon mustard (I didn’t), a strong mustard will do. If all you have is yellow hot dog mustard, use that. For myself, I harvest and blend my own mustard and it has quite the bite, so I used that.

Blend it all in the food processor or with the stick blender or fork until smooth and nicely blended.

Pour in the Guiness and mix it up again. Be careful that you don’t splatter Guinness all over the place.

When that’s all mixed in well and you have a consistent final product, transfer it to your serving bowl and top with parsley (fresh or dried) and green onion.

Let it chill in the fridge for at least an hour to let the flavours really combine nicely, and then serve it up. Like I mentioned above, goes fantastic with Irish potato bread, but pretzels or celery would go great too.

This is definitely a recipe you can make a day ahead. We had leftovers that we ate the next two days while watching TV and it was just as good those times.

Honestly, this is super easy to make and super impressive. It was the hit of our dinner party and it literally took me like ten minutes.

Cheddar Guinness Dip

A tasty option for a St. Patrick's Day party, or any party really, with the sharp bite of Irish cheddar cheese and the tang of Guinness. Goes great with crackers or Irish Potato Bread.
Prep Time 15 mins
Resting Time 1 hr
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Irish


  • Food Processor (Large) You can make do without a food processor. See recipe for details.


  • 250 g Cream cheese Softened
  • 250 g Irish cheddar cheese, or other sharp cheddar cheese Shredded
  • 1-2 Garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard Any strong mustard will do in the absence of Dijon
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp Paprika
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • tsp Pepper
  • cup Guinness
  • 3 Green onions
  • Parsley, fresh or dried, to taste


  • Put the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, garlic, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, salt, and pepper in a large food processor and blend until smooth and consistent. If you don't have a food processor or yours is too small, there are alternatives. I used a hand blender / stick blender, pressing it down into the mixture to mix it up. You could also use a fork to mix and press together; with this method you'll get one that's less smooth but that's all right. If you're going with the fork method, you'll want to mince the garlic since there are no blades to chop it up.
  • Add in the Guinness and process until smooth.
  • Transfer to a bowl, smooth out, and top with green onions and parsley.
  • Let sit in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.


This works well as a “measure with your heart” recipe. If you want extra cheese or extra Guinness or extra garlic or any alterations, just go for it. When I make this, I eyeball all the ingredient measurements.
If you want to go all Irish, this dip goes great with Irish Potato Bread.
Keyword Beer, Cheddar, Dip for bread, Dip for crackers, Guinness

How to Make Irish Potato Bread

I’m a bit of a food experimenter—when I stumble across a recipe I’m curious about, I make sure I try it.

Irish potato bread was one of those things. I was perusing bread recipes, given my newfound love of making bread these past several months, and stumbled across a few references to this one.

It piqued my interest for a few reasons:

  • It’s an easy bread recipe that doesn’t rely on things like yeast and rising and proofing, so it’s easier for beginners like myself,
  • It uses up potatoes, and I’m always on the lookout for ways to utilize our massive garden harvest (we had 350 pounds of potatoes last year, and,
  • We have a friend with Irish heritage who we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with every year, so I’m always on the lookout for easy and delicious (and preferably healthy) Irish recipes.

I’ve made this twice now and it’s been fantastic both times and was an easy crowd-pleaser. I make this as an appetizer for an afternoon or evening meal, but I believe this is traditionally a breakfast food. I’ve always liked breakfast food better in the evening.

The consistency of Irish potato bread is sort of like a pancake, but it isn’t sweet like a pancake since there’s no sugar in it. Irish potato bread tastes fantastic on its own, but it also tastes great served with a dip (like Cheddar Guinness Dip) or if you’re not against mixing cuisines it tastes great with Italian cured meats.

Irish potato bread starts with, you guessed it, potatoes. Specifically, peeled, boiled, and mashed potatoes.

Even though this is an easy first step, you can make it easier on yourself if you want. You can use leftover mashed potatoes, so simply make too much for dinner the night before with the intention of using the leftovers for this. Or, like me, you can use home-canned potatoes, which are already fully cooked, and just need to be drained (and perhaps rinsed if the water was starchy) and mashed.

Since I used canned potatoes—one pint specifically—I didn’t have the full weight of potatoes required by the recipe below, so I did some math to figure out the new measurements of the rest of the ingredients. If you’re not comfortable with that kind of math, you might be best to stick to the measurements in the recipe, or, honestly, you can eyeball it. If you have approximately half the amount of potatoes, you could halve all the other ingredients. Since there’s no rising or proofing or more science-y aspects of baking, a ratio that’s a little off is likely all right.

From there you add in your melted butter, flour, and salt (if using unsalted butter). Mix it all together with a spoon and when it starts to come together and becomes too stiff to stir, switch to using your hands.

I’ve made this twice now. The first time the ingredients worked out great and the dough was perfect. The second time, it was far too wet and sticky and I had to add a considerable amount of extra flour. So, if needed, add some flour. (If you’re new to this kind of thing, add flour in small amounts at a time because it’s easy to add flour but impossible to remove it if you’ve added too much. It should be ever so slightly sticky to the touch, but should hold to itself more than to your hands—that’s the consistency you’re going for.)

From there you’ll want to transfer it to a floured surface. I’ve got a small spot on the counter that works well, but you can do it on a cutting board or something if that’s what you’ve got. Knead it just a little bit so it really comes together nicely in a ball.

Break the ball up into six smaller balls. That is, if you did the full recipe. Since my potatoes came out to about 2/3 of the required amount, I broke this into four smaller balls. Roll out each ball one at a time on the floured surface still it’s about half a centimetre thick. Since this isn’t a super fancy project, even just smashing it flat with the palm of your hand can work well too.

Once it’s flattened, slice up it up into squares or triangles or any other small bite-size shape that works.

Now it’s time to cook them up!

In a pan over medium heat, warm up some olive oil (or canola oil works too) and add a dollop of butter. When the butter has melted, add in as many pieces of dough fit comfortably on the bottom of the pan. Let it fry for a few minutes and then with tongs or a fork, flip them over and cook the other side. Like with pancakes, I find each successive batch goes a little quicker and a little smoother. You will likely need to add a little oil and butter between batches because it gets used up and absorbed by the bread.

Between batches, you’ll want to keep the cooked bread warm. Putting it in a bowl with a plate over top would work. I line my bowl with paper towel to absorb excess oil/butter.

Or, if you’re like me the other night, you can just put the bowl of cooked bread in front of your guests while you cook up the next batch—but be sure to grab some for yourself before it’s all gone!

We had a guest over and we were all hanging out in the kitchen while I was frying up the bread, so I put the bowl of cooked bread in front of my husband and our guest along with a bowl of cheddar Guinness dip, and we had a great time talking and eating while I cooked up more bread for all of us.

Irish Potato Bread

Simple and tasty, Irish Potato Bread is an excellent way to use up leftover mashed potatoes. It's great on its own, is perfect in a breakfast fry, and is a tasty appetizer with Cheddar Guinness Dip.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Bread
Cuisine Irish


  • 750 g Potatoes
  • 30 g Butter, melted (2 Tbsp)
  • cups All-purpose flour (or any flour of your choice)
  • 1 pinch Salt (omit if using salted butter)
  • Olive oil and extra butter for frying


  • Peel, chop, boil, drain, and mash potatoes. Let sit until cool enough to handle. (If you have leftover mashed potatoes in your fridge, you can use that and skip this step. Alternatively, if you have home-canned potatoes, they're already fully cooked, so you can drain them and mash them.)
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl. If you're adding extra ingredients (see notes), also add them to the bowl.
  • Mix with a spoon until it starts to come together and is difficult to mix. Continue mixing with your hands. The dough should be slightly sticky; if it's too sticky you can add extra flour until it feels like a good bread dough consistency. Knead for a few minutes on a floured surface.
  • Divide dough into several small balls. Working with one ball at a time, roll dough out on a floured surface (or smash down with your hands if you don't have a roller) and slice into squares or triangles. You want it somewhere between a quarter and half a centimetre in thickness.
  • Put a pan over medium heat on the stove and add in olive oil and extra butter. Working in batches, fry until one side is golden and then flip and fry until both sides are golden. This should take a few minutes per batch and will speed up as you go along. You might need to add extra oil or butter between batches.
  • When a batch is done, move to a bowl or dish with a lid to keep it warm until all the batches are done. I like to line the bowl with a paper towel to absorb some of the extra oil and butter.
  • Best served warm.


If you want to get creative with flavours, you can add in fine herbs, cheese, chopped bacon, or finely chopped vegetables. You can swap out the butter with flavoured/seasoned butter. If desired, you can dust the finished bread with cinnamon and sugar.
I’ve found this goes great with Cheddar Guinness Dip for an Irish appetizer.
Keyword Easy Bread, Irish Potato Bread

How to Make Jalapeño Cheddar Sourdough Bread (or with Other Hot Peppers)

A few months ago I got myself going with a sourdough starter. A sourdough starter is basically fermented flour, and once you create this starter, you have to constantly feed it to keep it alive. And since so much work goes into keeping it alive, I’m always looking to try new recipes that use the sourdough starter. A lot of those recipes will end up on here, including sourdough bread, English muffin bread, and sourdough chocolate chip cookies.

(If you don’t have a sourdough starter yet, I’ll post directions in an upcoming post. Once I do that, I’ll link to it here.)

My sourdough starter—bubbly, active, and ready to use

In addition to having this sourdough starter to utilize, I also have several jars of pickled hot peppers from last year’s garden that need to be eaten before the fall harvest and a fresh batch of peppers—so that got me thinking about a cheddar and hot pepper sourdough bread!

What I’ve done here is a bit of a mishmash of two recipes—my existing sourdough recipe and a cheddar jalapeño sourdough recipe I found online. I didn’t really like the steps of the new recipe, so I adapted my existing recipe to make a tasty hybrid.

Sourdough is remarkably simple in terms of ingredients. It’s literally sourdough starter (which is flour and water), more water, more flour, and salt.

With the sourdough recipe I use, I start the dough the night before and then let it rest and rise overnight at room temperature. You can leave it on the counter, but I have a cat that loves anything made with flour, so I have to stick it in the microwave or oven so it stays safe from him.

Sorry for the poor lighting, I took this photo at 11:30 at night.

Theoretically, when the dough rests overnight, it should double in size. However, this is highly dependent on ideal local climate conditions and Winnipeg in the middle of winter is not an ideal climate. I’ve been told that Winnipeg in the summer isn’t ideal either. While I get some rise in my dough, it’s nowhere near double. So don’t panic if you don’t get the kind of rise you see on other blogs.

After resting overnight, it’s time to work in the peppers and cheese.

While this recipe is for jalapeño and cheddar sourdough, what I have on hand are pickled banana peppers. I like the taste of banana peppers better, but they’re also a lower on the Scoville scale, meaning they’re not as hot as jalapeño peppers—so if you like the sound of this recipe but you’re not sure if you can handle jalapeños, banana peppers might be the way to go.

(You can usually find pickled banana peppers in the condiments aisle of your grocery store, next to things like ketchup and mustard. If the jars are labelled with “mild” or “hot”, you’ll want to go with the hot ones. The mild ones can have the same heat level as bell peppers, which would be kind of pointless for this recipe.)

This already smells so good

With the “pinch and fold” method, we start working the cheese and peppers into the dough. (Full directions on how to do this are in the recipe below.)

The original jalapeño cheddar sourdough recipe I looked up had the cheese and peppers mixed in with the dough at the very beginning. The end result would give cheese and peppers spotted throughout the loaf, whereas my method here results in a ribbon of cheese and peppers that runs through the whole loaf.

While I like the idea of cheese and peppers being spread throughout like little morsels of goodness, I didn’t like the idea of leaving the cheese (a dairy product) at room temperature overnight while the dough was resting. To be fair, that recipe had the dough in the fridge overnight, but if I’m having enough difficulty getting a rise out of my dough at room temperature, I’d have much poorer results in the fridge.

After resting for a bit we do another round of “pinch and folds” to work the cheese and peppers in a bit more. However, be a bit gentler at this stage. I found I’d ripped the dough in one spot and cheese started tumbling out; I hadn’t realized the cheese had migrated so close to the surface of the dough ball.

Now we let it rest one final time in a bowl lined with a towel and sprinkled with flour.

One final rest before we bake it.

Toward the end of the 30-60 minute rest, we crank the oven up to 450 F.

Transfer the dough to some parchment paper—pinch seam side down—and cut some slits in it, then transfer the whole thing to a dutch oven.

Lower the heat to 425 F, then put the dutch oven (with the lid on) on the centre rack. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for an additional 40 minutes. If it looks like it needs a little longer, you could give it an additional ten minutes. (When I pulled it out and later sliced into it, it looked like it could have used just a little bit longer. The addition of the cheese likely altered the baking time just a little bit.)

Fresh from the oven and smelling so good!

Transfer to a wire rack and let it cool for at least an hour before slicing into it.

This was my first time making a cheddar and hot pepper bread and I would absolutely make it again!

Sourdough is usually chewy, but this was chewy and extra soft. The tang of the hot peppers had worked its way into the rest of the bread, so even when I wasn’t biting into a pepper, I could taste them. The cheddar cooked perfectly—not so cooked that it’s crunchy, but cooked enough that it’s solid.

This tastes wonderful at room temperature with some butter, but would likely taste amazing toasted, buttered, and served alongside a spicy pasta dish.

Jalapeño Cheddar Sourdough Bread

Chewy sourdough bread with the zing of hot peppers and sharp cheddar makes for an irresistible snack.
Prep Time 14 hrs
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Bread
Cuisine bread


  • 1 Dutch Oven


  • 50 g Bubbly, active sourdough starter
  • 330 g water (1⅓ cup + 1 Tbsp)
  • 9 g salt (1½ tsp)
  • 125 g Whole wheat flour (can round to 1 cup)
  • 375 g All-purpose flour (can round to 3¼ cups)
  • ¼ cup Jalapeño peppers, pickled or fresh, chopped (other hot peppers can be substituted; pickled banana peppers taste amazing here)
  • ½ cup Cheddar cheese, shredded (go for an old/sharp cheddar)


  • This recipe starts the night before and concludes the next day.
  • The night before, whisk starter and water together in a large bowl.
  • Mix in flour and salt with a fork until the dough becomes stiff and shaggy. Finish mixing with your hands.
  • Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • After resting, work the dough into a ball using the "pinch and fold" method. Grab a pinch of dough at the edge and fold it / press it into the middle of the ball. Rotate the bowl a bit and do it again, repeating until you've gone all the way around. The dough will feel tighter as you do this.
  • Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let it rise overnight at room temperature, about 10-12 hours.
  • After 10-12 hours, the dough should double in size. Don't panic if it doesn't; while mine does get larger, it certainly doesn't double in size. A lot of this comes down to local climate factors and my local climate is not amenable to sourdough.
  • Sprinkle flour on your work surface, like a counter or table. Scoop the dough out of the bowl and onto the work surface. Spread the peppers and cheddar on top of the dough.
  • Use the pinch and fold method to start shaping the dough into a ball. Once you've gone around the whole ball, flip it over so the pinched seam is down. Cover with a towel and let rest for 30 minutes.
  • Flip it over again so the seam is up. Pinch and fold the dough one more time. If you pinch and fold too hard, you might rip the dough and cheese and peppers might tumble out, so be gentle.
  • Line a bowl with a dry towel and sprinkle the towel with flour. Let the dough ball rest in the towel, seam side up and with the towel edges covering it, for thirty minutes to an hour. The dough should rise some more, but again local climate may give you different results.
  • Preheat oven to 450℉.
  • Cut a sheet of parchment paper larger than your dough. Place the parchment over the dough and flip the bowl so the dough is now resting on the parchment in your hand. Set it down on the counter and with a sharp knife, make four shallow cuts at north, east, south, and west points (or 3, 6, 9, and 12 on the clock).
  • Grabbing the edges of the parchment paper, lift the dough and place it into the dutch oven and put the lid on.
  • Reduce oven heat to 425℉ and put the dutch oven in on the centre rack.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the lid. Bake for an additional 40 minutes. If the bread doesn't seem ready, bake for ten more minutes.
  • Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for at least an hour before slicing.
Keyword Bread, Sourdough

How to Ferment Blueberries Using Salt

I try to buy food in smaller quantities because we hate food waste and we also don’t like having to overeat something just to avoid throwing it out.

But a sale is a sale.

Blueberries were dirt cheap a few weeks ago and my husband eats them. I decided to buy more than double his normal amount and I intended to experiment with preserving them via fermentation.

Fermentation typically preserves fruits and vegetables by allowing good bacteria to thrive and destroying bad bacteria. The good bacteria is typically probiotic bacteria, so in addition to being good for food preservation, it’s also good for your gut.

There are apparently two ways to ferment blueberries—one is with 2% salt by weight and the other is with a sugar brine. For this, I decided to go with the salt process, and I’ll try the sugar brine next time blueberries are on sale (update: here it is).

Blueberries, salt, and a fermentation kit are all that’s needed.

A couple years ago I received this handy fermentation kit for Christmas. It comes with a large glass jar, a glass fermentation weight, and an airlock lid.

While this specific recipe doesn’t include submerging blueberries in liquid, most fermentation recipes do, so a fermentation weight helps keep the food below the liquid level. The fermentation process creates gas, so the airlock lid lets the gas escape without worrying about pressure building up.

If you don’t have a fermentation kit, you can easily construct a makeshift one.

You’ll want:

  • A large glass jar, preferably with a wide mouth.
  • Something to act as a weight; this could be a Ziploc bag with water in it, or a smaller jar that can fit inside the fermentation jar, or if you’re using a really large jar with a really large mouth, you might even be able to fit a small plate in there.
  • In the absence of an airlock lid, you can just use a normal lid, but you’ll want to “burp” it regularly, which means opening it to allow the gas to escape. In this recipe, you can have the lid slightly loose so gas can escape on its own, or you can burp it every twelve hours or so.

As far as fermentation projects go, and I haven’t done a whole lot but I’ve done some, fermenting blueberries is reasonably simple. You need a weight for the blueberries and then you calculate 2% of this weight to figure out how much salt to add.

Mix it all in a bowl, transfer to your fermentation jar, and you just let it sit for a few days.

It took us about four days until we felt they were fermented. You can see in the photos that the level of the weight sunk a bit, which I think was caused by blueberry juice being expressed.

The recipes I looked up all said something along the lines of tasting it daily until it’s ready…but never really defined how you determine if it’s ready. It takes three to seven days, so I would say that it’s reasonably safe to assume that anytime after three days, if it’s tasting reasonably good, it’s likely safe to call it ready. By that time, the beneficial bacteria will have already taken over and gotten a good start at doing their work of preserving the blueberries—in other words, if it’s not perfectly fermented, it’s likely fermented enough to get the preservation effect that we’re after. If you find you enjoy fermented blueberries, you’ll develop a skill over time of determining by taste if the blueberries are ready.

If you used a Ziploc bag with water as your weight, you may find some scuzzy growth on there. Before I got my fermentation kit and I was fermenting tomatoes, I found this to be the case. As long as the blueberries look and smell fine, simply clean off the bag and reuse it.

If at any point there is fuzzy mould growth on the berries or if it ever smells or tastes like something’s gone wrong, dispose the berries and start over. The old adage of “when in doubt, throw it out” holds true here.

When the berries are ready, simply remove the weight, seal the jar, and move the blueberries to the fridge. For me, that meant transferring the blueberries to a new jar so my fermenting kit isn’t taken up with storing blueberries.

Ready to go in the fridge

One of the byproducts of this form of fermentation is acetic acid, or vinegar. So the final result is a little bit sour. Understandably, the final result is also a little bit salty from, well, all the salt. It should also be a bit sweet. It’s an interesting mix of flavours. They’re probably best eaten on top of oatmeal or mixed in a smoothie where some of the “unique” aspects of the taste can be masked by the other ingredients.

My husband isn’t really a fan of blueberries preserved like this because he likes to eat the blueberries straight and that sour-salty tang isn’t his thing.

When I was researching this, I came across a second version of fermenting blueberries that uses a sugar brine as well as some kombucha, or water kefir, or whey. I brew both kombucha and water kefir, so I’m eager to try this alternative method. Of the two of them, I’m likely going to try the kefir version because kombucha can taste a bit vinegary, but with my extremely limited water kefir experience, there’s no vinegary taste there. Watch for that recipe to appear here in coming months. (Update: here it is.)

Lacto-Fermented Blueberries (2% Salt Method)

If you have an abundance of blueberries, fermenting them is a great option to preserve them and enjoy them for weeks, plus fermenting creates beneficial probiotic bacteria for a healthy gut.
Prep Time 10 mins
Fermentation Time (Estimate) 3 d
Course Snack


  • 1 Kitchen Scale
  • 1 Fermentation Vessel with Weight This can be a fermentation kit or simply a jar with something to weigh down the blueberries, such as a Ziploc bag with water in it, or a smaller jar that fits inside the fermentation jar.


  • Blueberries
  • Salt, non-iodized


  • Rinse and dry blueberries.
  • Place blueberries in a bowl and weigh them. (Be sure to hit the "tare" or "zero" button before adding the blueberries to the bowl so you are weighing only the blueberries.)
  • Calculate 2% of this weight and add that amount of salt. (For example, if you have 800g of blueberries, use a calculator to do 800 x 0.02, to get 16g of sat.)
  • Thoroughly mix the blueberries and salt. You can slightly crush the blueberries if you'd like.
  • Transfer the blueberry and salt mixture to the fermentation vessel. With a spatula, scrape out any remaining salt in the bowl so it's all in the fermentation vessel.
  • Cover with a fermentation weight. Close with a lid. Fermentation kits often have an airlock built into them; if you're using a regular lid, don't close it super tight so that built-up gas can escape.
  • Taste the blueberries daily until they've reached an appropriate level of fermentation for your taste (see note below); this should take three to seven days, depending on the temperature. When fermented, store the jar in the fridge. Blueberries should remain in good condition for several weeks.


I found it took four days before we felt it was fully fermented. The taste test assessment will be a bit of a trial and error because it’s difficult to know what tastes ready if you haven’t tasted it before. Even if you’re uncertain, having the blueberries ferment for a minimum of three days means there’s at least some fermentation that’s occurred, so if you put them in the fridge a little too early, you’ll still benefit from a partial fermentation.
We found that salt fermentation led to a bit of a salty-sour taste that isn’t super appealing when eating the blueberries straight (versus in yogurt or a smoothie), so our next attempt will be fermenting using a sugar brine. (Update: here it is.)
Keyword Blueberries, Fermented Fruit

How to Pressure Can Potatoes

Every year my husband grows far too many potatoes.

We give some away and we attempt to eat as many potatoes as possible before they grow too many eyes. Fortunately, once the eyes get too numerous and too large, the potatoes are still usable as seed potatoes for the following year’s garden, so there’s no real waste here.

Recently, I’ve started canning potatoes and I’ve found this to be a really handy staple to have in the kitchen.

Canning potatoes is only recommended for red-skinned potatoes because they hold their shape best once they’re boiled and cooked. Light-skinned potatoes unfortunately turn to mush and are thus potentially unsafe for canning.

The process outlined in the recipe is fairly straight forward.

Wash and peel and cube potatoes, storing them in water as you go to prevent unwanted colour changes.

Cubed potatoes patiently waiting for me to cube more potatoes.

Once this is done, rinse the potatoes once more and blanch them as per the instructions below. Pack into pint or quart jars with a bit of salt (or a salt alternative if you’re watching your sodium) and top off with boiling water, then process in the pressure canner.

Since potatoes in water are a low-acid food, this must be done in a pressure canner and cannot be done in a water bath canner. Doing so in a water bath canner runs the risk of botulism, which has the unfortunate side effect of death.

You might be looking at this like I initially looked at this—with a bit of disinterest because canned potatoes doesn’t sound all that appetizing.

What I’ve found, though, is that canned potatoes are perfect for various uses in the kitchen, including:

  • Quick mashed potatoes—since it’s already cooked, you just have to heat and mash
  • Shepherd’s pie—skip the extra step of making mashed potatoes and just pull a jar of canned potatoes out of the cupboard, mash, and top your pie
  • An alternative to gnocchi—we love having gnocchi but I’m not always organized enough to remember to buy it when I’m grocery shopping, so I’ve learned that if I drain a can of potatoes and toss them into a pan with some oil and butter, they fry up nice and crispy and go great with some pesto sauce
  • The first step in gnocchi—if you want to make your own gnocchi, the first step is cooking potatoes, but using canned potatoes means that first step is already done
  • Potato bread (recipe here!)—I recently discovered an Irish potato flatbread where the first step is to boil and mash potatoes, but using canned potatoes cuts down the time dramatically

Canning Potatoes (Pressure Canner)

If you have a bumper crop of red-skinner potatoes and no cold storage to keep them for the long term, pressure canning them is a great way to preserve them. They're fully cooked in the jar, saving time when you're preparing them for dinner or other uses.
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 40 mins
Course Side Dish


  • 1 Pressure Canner
  • Pint or Quart Mason Jars The exact number needed will vary based on the amount of potatoes you have.


  • Red-skinned potatoes These must be red-skinned potatoes as they hold their shape best after boiling. Other potatoes are not recommended for canning.
  • Water
  • Salt A sodium-free salt alternative could work if you're watching your sodium.


  • Wash potatoes, then peel them and cut them into cubes no bigger than half an inch. Small potatoes (1-2 inches) can be left whole, but must be peeled.
  • As you peel and chop the potatoes, put the cubes into a big bowl or pot filled with water. This prevents them from changing colour and also drains a bit of the starch from the potatoes.
  • Boil water in a big pot. You'll be blanching the potatoes, so it should be big enough to accommodate all of the potatoes, or at least to accommodate batches of potatoes. Boil additional water, either in a pot or a kettle; this will be for adding to the jars with the potatoes.
  • While waiting for the pot of water to boil, rinse the potatoes once more to wash away more starch.
  • Boil potato cubes for two minutes. If using small whole potatoes, boil them for ten minutes.
  • Drain the potatoes.
  • Pack into pint or quart mason jars, leaving one inch of headspace. Add ½ teaspoon of salt to each jar. (Adding salt is optional, but potatoes can be very bland without added salt at this step and sometimes the blandness can't be remedied.)
  • Add boiled water, maintaining one inch of headspace. Debubble and top up water if needed. Wipe jar rims, put on lid and screw band to fingertip tightness.
  • Process in a pressure canner as per your pressure canner's directions. *See note below.
    Pressure gauge at 10 lbs, dial gauge at 11 lbs. Adjust as necessary based on your altitude.
    Process pints for 35 minutes, quarts for 40 minutes.
  • When finished, bring canner pressure down as per canner instructions. Remove jars from canner and set on a heavy towel overnight to cool and seal. The next day, check that jars sealed; if any didn't seal, put them in the refrigerator and use them within a couple days.


Most pressure canners require a minimum load for the canner to work properly. My pressure canner requires a minimum load of two quarts / two litres. Since this is a variable recipe based on the amount of potatoes you have, you could end up with a too-small load. In this case, figure out how many jars need to be added to achieve the minimum load and fill those jars with boiled water and put on lids and screw bands to fingertip tightness, then add them to the canner.
If you can some water to achieve this minimum load, the processing time here is more than enough to safely can water, so you can keep this canned water on a shelf for emergencies or camping.
Keyword Potatoes, Pressure Canner

How to Make Grapefruit Soju

When I hang out with my friend group, we like to try to pair food or drinks to what we’re watching, and with some of us really getting into Korean dramas (K-dramas) lately, that’s meant we’ve been getting into soju, a Korean spirit. Soju is similar to vodka in that it has little to no taste (and sometimes we use it in place of vodka in a cocktail), but comes in at about half the alcohol percentage of vodka, making it an easier drink.

Earlier today I posted my Orange Soju recipe. Typically I make two batches—one orange and one grapefruit.

Here’s how to make grapefruit soju.

The ingredients are pretty simple. Two bottles of soju, two grapefruit, and sugar. After taking this photo I decided to add a lemon to it as well.

Finding soju can be tricky. Some places don’t carry it and then places that do carry it will put it in odd places since it doesn’t really fit anywhere. Here in Manitoba, our government-owned Liquor Marts are inconsistent with where they place it. One store has it with the whiskey, another has it with the sake, and yet another has it with the liqueurs, so I always have to ask the staff where to find it.

Making grapefruit soju—which is basically an infused drink—is ridiculously easy.

Simply cut up the grapefruit and lemon. I usually cut in quarters and then slice. The thinner and smaller the pieces are, the easier it will be for the juice to come out. At the same time, though, you don’t want to spend a lot of time dicing this up into tiny pieces.

Throw the fruit in a bowl and weigh it with a kitchen scale (being sure to hit the “tare” or “zero” button after putting the bowl on it, but before putting the fruit in it. Once you’ve got a weight, you’ll want to add half that weight of sugar.

Give it all a good stir with a spatula or wooden spoon, and then transfer the sugary fruit to a large jar or pitcher. Scrape out all the sugar with a spatula so you get it all in the jar.

Pour the two bottles of soju in, then give it all a good stir, and cover it and let it sit.

You’ll get sugar settling on the bottom and that’s normal. You can just let it sit on the counter for about a week and all that sugar will dissolve. If you want, you can speed up the process a bit by stirring or shaking it daily. Once it’s all dissolved, strain it. While straining, give the fruit a gentle press with the back of a spoon to extract more juice and alcohol.

From there, you simply bottle and enjoy!

We often serve it at room temperature, but serving it chilled is nice too.

As I posted in my orange soju post, I recently came up with an easy cocktail for this:

  • 5 oz grapefruit soju
  • 2.5 oz club soda
  • Mix in a glass with ice

If you have both grapefruit and orange soju on hand (I usually make them both at once), you could also use half orange and half grapefruit.

Drinking it straight, while definitely enjoyable, is a little too sweet and syrupy for my tastes, so the cocktail thins it out a bit and makes it a lot more drinkable.

Grapefruit Soju

Delicious and easy to make, grapefruit soju is a crowd pleaser for drinking straight or for mixing. This does have a bit of the grapefruit bitterness, so folks who don't enjoy grapefruit may not like this as much.
Prep Time 10 mins
Infusing Time 7 d
Course Drinks
Cuisine Korean


  • 1 Large jar or pitcher
  • 1 Food scale


  • 720 ml Soju
  • 2 Grapefruit
  • 1 Lemon
  • Sugar


  • Slice the grapefruit and lemon into small pieces. I usually quarter them, then slice the quarters.
  • Place a bowl on the digital scale and press the "tare" or "zero" button. Add the grapefruit and lemon slices to get a weight for the fruit.
  • Press the "tare" or "zero" button again. Add in half the weight of sugar. (If the fruit weighed 800 grams, add 400 grams of sugar.)
  • Mix the fruit and sugar with a spatula or large spoon. Once well mixed, transfer the fruit and sugar to a very large jar or pitcher. I use a spatula to get as much sugar as possible from the bowl into the jar.
  • Pour the soju on top and stir until well mixed.
  • Cover and let sit at room temperature for approximately a week. For the first few days, a layer of sugar will likely settle on the bottom, but will slowly dissolve. You can speed up this process by stirring it daily (or shaking it if it's in a jar with a secure lid).
  • Once the sugar has dissolved. Strain the soju and lightly press the fruit to extract more juice and alcohol.
  • Bottle, chill, and serve. See notes below for serving suggestions.


Soju is a Korean spirit that doesn’t have much of a taste. Typically it comes in around 20% and with the volume change from added juice, the final product is somewhere around 15%.
You might have to ask for help finding soju at your local liquor store. At my local store it’s with the whiskey, and in another store (in the same chain) it’s with the sake in the wine section.
I usually discard the fruit after straining, but theoretically they’d be alcohol-infused pieces of fruit and fully edible.
Feel free to mix up the citrus fruits a bit. I’ve also posted an orange soju. However, you could mix orange and grapefruit, or even go for a lemon and lime if that’s your thing.
Serving suggestions:
  • Grapefruit soju can be enjoyed straight.
  • If the soju is a bit too thick and syrupy for your taste, an easy cocktail is to add 5 oz orange soju and 2.5 oz club soda to a glass filled with ice. This thins out the texture a little bit and the sparkling water makes it feel a little extra special.
  • If serving this with a meal, I’d suggest making this a dessert drink.
Keyword Alcohol, Soju