CompleteKitchenGarden banneredited
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Peddling over to bring you gifts from the kitchen garden.

Hello Everyone.

While other people are waving flags at the Fourth of July town parade, I celebrate by filling flats at a pick-your-own berry farm. Once home, the canning kettle is dusted off and the mason jars come up from the basement.

Recipes for jam should come with a warning label: “Danger, habit-forming process ahead. May result in eating more fruit and sugar than is good for you.” Because once I get started, I’m hopeless. Instead of bringing home a few quarts of berries to share with the family, fruit comes into the kitchen by the armful. Advice to exercise moderation in everything is tossed aside when fresh berries are in season.

Making jam may appear easy, and for the most part it is. I am reminded of what a neighbor once said about the art of preserving: “It is like learning to drive a car on the ice—it’s a little tricky at first, but then once you get the hang of it, it is easy.” And the rewards? Delicious.

As Always,
Ellen Ecker Ogden
Author of The Complete Kitchen Garden and Garden Speaker
Check out my new lectures for the 2020 Season with my upcoming book.


New and Now:

Favorite Edible Vine: Chocolate Runner Bean. My Summer Reading: The Goddess Pose and Overstory. Powerful Environmental Video: Joanna Macy Watch This. Entertainment Watching: HBO's Big Little Lies. Current Writing Project: A personal memoir with recipes about a summer house on Cape Cod. Cooking Tonight: Anything with lemon. Also this Summer Farro Salad with variations from the garden.


Photo Credit: Matthew Benson for The Vermont Country Store Cookbook (2014 Grand Central Publishing) by Ellen Ecker Ogden and Andrea Diehl.


Gifts from the Garden

It’s berry season in Vermont and the kitchen counter is filled with canning jars, sugar and a colander full of dripping ripe berries. Every August, my mother made watermelon pickles, along with plum jelly. The hot canning kettles steamed up the kitchen windows, and I remember the satisfaction at the end of the day admiring the jars, and listening to the seals pop shut.

I started making jam for our farm stand, beginning with Strawberry, and in August pints of Sweet Bread and Butter Pickles. Canning season doesn't stop until late September when the last batch of Ginger Peach Chutney rolls off the production line.

Admittedly, my canning spree includes making gifts to give to friends, which is why the final step is important: design a beautiful label, add your name and the date you made it. Then it's time to put away the kettle, stack all the jars and get ready for another season.


Follow Me into the Garden

Summer gardens, wild plants, fruit desserts, it's all on Instagram. Follow me into the garden to spark fresh ideas for your own kitchen garden on Instagram.

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Ellen's July 2019 Instagram Feed


Become a Seed Saver!

Save money, share open-pollinated seeds with friends, grow unusual heirlooms. These compact seed boxes can be found on my Etsy site. Makes a wonderful gift for a gardening friend, as well as for yourself.

seed boxPicMonkey Collage
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