Real Food

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Homemade Nectarine Preserves Canning

Rather than use commercial pectin, such as Sure-jel or Certo for making thick preserves and jams, I like to use the old-fashioned methods that use far less sugar.

A commercial pectin recipe for this preserve calls for 4 cups of fruit to 7 cups sugar. I use about ¼ of that: at least twice as much fruit and half the sugar, so my jams and preserves taste of the fruit instead of sugar and have half or less calories.

As well as the usual breakfast toast spread, try adding your own homemade preserves to plain yogurt. I promise, it tastes better and is better for you.

Nectarine Preserves Recipe

Yields 7 half-pints


• 4 pounds ripe nectarines
• 4 cups cane sugar
• zest of 1 large orange
• 2 tsp ginger puree*

Note: Ginger puree is so handy to have on hand and so much tastier and easier to stir in than the dry powdered stuff. Watch for fresh, silky-skinned ginger and buy a big piece. Roughly peel it and slice into ½-inch pieces. Toss those into the mini-prep processor, add about 2 Tbsp cane sugar to 1 cup of ginger chunks and process to a paste.

The sugar keeps it from freezing too hard. Keep this in a jar in the freezer to add to preserves like this one, pickling syrup and even stir fry. And, yes, gingerbread! There’s not enough sugar to make any difference to flavor.


Nectarines are one of my favorite fruits to preserve! No peeling!

1. Wash the nectarines and cut them up. I run my knife around the middle, the “equator” if you will. Then, cut slices a scant ½-inch wide that fall into two pieces, because you’ve already halved them with your first cut. Put all the nectarines into your jam pot.

2. I like to use a zester so I get tiny shreds of peel, but you can also use the finest holes of a grater. Zest the whole orange right on top of the nectarine pieces. Then, add 2 tsp of ginger puree.

3. Now, add the 4 cups of sugar and give it a stir, mixing the sugar into the fruit. Walk away for a half hour or so and when you come back, the nectarines will be juicing out enough that the sugar looks wet. Turn on the heat under your jam pot and stir in using a folding motion while gently heating so the sugar is melting and your fruit is submerged in juice.

4. Bring the preserve just to a boil, stirring, turn off the heat and cover the pot. Let the preserve rest overnight to develop flavor and completely juice out.

5. In the morning, you’ll see that your preserve is much more syrupy. Turn the heat back on and, stirring from time to time, bring slowly back to a boil. Set a jelly/candy thermometer in the pot.

6. Set up your water bath canner and set out your impeccably clean jars. Be sure you have the rack in the bottom of the kettle. Bring the water to a boil. When almost ready to fill the jars, dip each jar and lid into the boiling water and set upside down on a fresh sheet of paper towel. Dip the ladle and canning funnel, too.

7. Stirring frequently, being sure to stir the entire bottom of your jam pot, cook the preserve to 220 degrees Fahrenheit. It will be quite thick and glossy, most of the nectarine slices will be looking transparent, nearly glaceed. Turn off the burner (on an electric stove, you’ll move your pot off the burner).

8. Fill your jars to within ¼ inch of the top, wipe the rims if necessary, and seal with 2-part lids. Process your preserve for 10 minutes in the water bath, then remove immediately to cool on a towel. Leave some space between the jars so that they cool quickly. Listen for that pretty “ping” as the jars seal.


Wendy Akin is a happy to share her years of traditional skills knowledge. Over the years, she’s earned many state fair ribbons for pickles, relishes, preserves and special condiments, and even a few for breads. Read all of Wendy’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.


You can easily make your own glace cherries for fruit cakes and your Christmas stollen.

The cherries you do yourself will be a darker red instead of that false neon color and will be made with only cane sugar and very little or no GMOs.

These will actually taste like sweet cherries, with no odd chemical aftertaste. You’ll also save money.

I used beautiful dark Bing cherries for mine — you could choose to use Royal Anne, Ranier, or other varieties if you choose.


• 1 pound pitted cherries
• 3 cups sugar
• 2 cups water
• optional: 1 tbsp light corn syrup

Note: Corn syrup is a GMO and you may choose not to use it. It is only 1 tablespoon and it does prevent the syrup from crystallizing. All other syrups I can think of will crystallize.


1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, stir the sugar into the water. Bring to a boil and cook to 230 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. At this point, I transfer to my copper jam pot, because it will now foam up a lot. You need a big pot. Stir in the cherries and the optional corn syrup if you’re using it, bring back to a simmer and cook gently for an hour. Stir only often enough to be sure it’s not sticking. The syrup should be quite thick and the cherries translucent.

3. Turn off the heat and let the cherries rest overnight in the syrup. The next day, heat up the cherries and bring the mixture up to 230 degrees. Turn off the heat and let them cool. Use a slotted spoon to remove the cherries to a wide-mouthed canning jar or freezer tub.

Because there are no preservatives used in my method, I like to store my cherries frozen in a little of the syrup until it’s time for holiday baking.

Save the Syrup! Pour it into a jar and refrigerate to add to summer drinks instead of sugar.

Make Sangria with Cherry Syrup

This is lovely, not-too-sweet and a very festive pink. If I were Spanish, I’d add some brandy, but I like to drink this on a hot summer day without getting tipsy. Mix this all up in a big pitcher with plenty of ice.


• 1 bottle chardonnay or sauvignon blanc
• 1-liter bottle club soda
• juice of 2 big limes
• ½ cup leftover syrup from cherries

Wendy Akin is a happy to share her years of traditional skills knowledge. Over the years, she’s earned many state fair ribbons for pickles, relishes, preserves and special condiments, and even a few for breads. Read all of Wendy’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.


San Diego Fermentation Festival

“Microbes maketh man,” proclaimed Dr. Rob Knight, professor at the University of California, San Diego and director of the Microbiome Initiative that, among other things, explores the connections between the human microbiome and health. Dr. Knight’s keynote was among the highlights of the annual San Diego Fermentation Festival held at Coastal Roots Farm in Encinitas, California, this past February.

“You might think, well, we're human because of our DNA,” Dr. Knight continued. “But it turns out that each of us has about 20,000 human genes, depending on what you count exactly, but as many as two million to 20 million microbial genes. So whichever way we look at it, we're vastly outnumbered by our microbial symbionts.”  And a growing body of evidence is finding that fermented foods are packed with many of the microbes that hang out in our gut that we need for good health.

Besides a lineup of speakers, the San Diego Fermentation Festival included a tent dedicated to helping people learn about and prepare their own canning jar of fermented sauerkraut, plus fermented beverages to try – like the amazing mead from Golden Coast Mead – in the Ambrosia Garden, plus numerous nonprofits or businesses dedicated to the art of fermentation, sharing samples to taste.

Gold Coast Mead 

“Kombucha and other fermented foods deliver living organisms and nutrients in bio-available form that the body can recognize and instantly utilize,” explains Hannah Crum, founder of Kombucha Kamp and co-author of The Big Book of Kombucha.  Kombucha Kamp was one of the many exhibitors at the event.

“For most people, consuming the wide range of fermented options will contribute to diversity in the microbiome, improve digestion, boost immunity and generally support a healthy lifestyle.”

Below, find her recipe for the popular fermented tea called kombucha; you’ll need to secure a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) “starting culture” to make the recipe.

Fermented Food, Health and Wellness

“People want to feel good, and they're realizing how food can be medicine,” says Austin Durant, co-founder of the Fermenters Club and organizer of the San Diego Fermentation Festival.

“Folks who have been captive to the standard American diet are seeing the consequences of that, [like the] explosion of western diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, and are waking up to realize how beneficial fermented foods are to their health.”

“I think people want to take control back of their diets,” Austin adds.  He has another Fermentation Festival scheduled in Portland, Oregon, for September 10, 2016.  The 2nd-annual Oregon Fermentation Festival will have a similar format, be held outdoors on the 150-acre Kruger’s Farm on Sauvie Island, with a Makers Marketplace, educational demos and workshops, and the Ambrosia Garden, featuring local and regional fermented beverages.

Making Fermented Foods Safely

“Most people fear they're going to ‘poison their whole family,’” observes Austin, regarding why many people are reluctant to get started with fermented foods.  “The truth is, vegetable fermentation is extremely safe and simple to do. Some incorrectly believe botulism is a risk, but because of the high acid quality of fermented foods as well as the populations of beneficial bacteria, a pathogenic microbe like botulism doesn't stand a chance.”

Filling in the information gap is exactly what the Fermenters Club’s Fermentation Festivals in San Diego and Oregon are all about.  And others are popping up around the country, too, like the Fermentation Festival: A Live Culture Convergence held every year in Wisconsin and the Farm to Fermentation Festival in Sonoma County, California.

“Finally, everyone seems to yearn for a link to their past, to their ancestors,” notes Austin.  “Fermentation was a necessity back in the days before refrigeration and global food supply chains. There are people who have known about fermentation for years but never made a fuss and others who are brand new and curious. Kombucha, kimchi, pickles and sauerkraut are enjoying a renaissance.”

With many Americans increasingly familiar with many of the other popular fermented foods and beverages like cheese, wine, breads, mead, beer, yogurt and chocolate, a transition to a diet filled with more live culture foods is a natural step to get our gut, and the microbes living there, in a healthier balance.

Kombucha Recipe

Courtesy of Kombucha Kamp

Yield:  1 gallon

Scale up or down depending on the size of your vessel.


• 1 cup sugar
• 4-6 bags tea –  for loose leaf, 1 bag of tea = 1 tsp
• Kombucha Starter Culture (SCOBY)
• 1 cup starter liquid
• purified/bottled water
• tea kettle
• brewing vessel
• cloth cover
• rubber band


1. Boil 4 cups of water.

2. Add hot water and tea bags to pot or brewing vessel.

3. Steep 5-7 minutes, then remove tea bags.

4. Add sugar and stir to dissolve.

5. Fill vessel most of the way with purified water, leaving just 1-2 inches from the top for breathing room with purified cold water.

6. Add SCOBY and starter liquid.

7. Cover with cloth cover and secure with the rubber band.

8. Say a prayer, send good vibes, commune with your culture (optional but recommended).

9. Set in a warm location out of direct sunlight (unless vessel is opaque).

Do not disturb for 7 days.

After 7 days, or when you are ready to taste your kombucha tea, gently insert a straw beneath the SCOBY and take a sip. If too tart, then reduce your brewing cycle next time.  If too sweet, allow to brew for a few more days.  Continue to taste every day or so until you reach your optimum flavor preference. Your own Kombucha Tea Recipe may vary.

Decant & flavor (optional).

Drink as desired! Start off with 4-8oz on an empty stomach in the morning, then with meals to help with digestion or as your body tells you it would like some more! Drink plenty of water as it is a natural detoxifyer and you want to flush the newly released toxins out.

John D. Ivanko, with his wife, Lisa Kivirist, have co-authored Rural Renaissance, Homemade for Sale, the award-winning ECOpreneuring and Farmstead Chef along with operating Inn Serendipity B&B and Farm, completely powered by the wind and sun. Both are regular speakers at the Mother Earth News Fairs. As a writer and photographer, Ivanko contributes to Mother Earth News, most recently, 9 Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living. They live on a farm in southwestern Wisconsin with their son Liam, millions of ladybugs and a 10 kW Bergey wind turbine. Read all of John's Mother Earth News posts here.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.



First off, this recipe is absolutely delicious! It’s a rather unlikely combination in a way, as drinks using honey are somewhat unusual. One that comes to mind is mead, a very ancient drink made from honey, spices and water, among other ingredients, then fermented.

Mead is fairly difficult to come by for the most part, although it may be more popular in England. This cocktail makes use of honey simple syrup, and simple to make it is.

It’s just a 50/50 concentration of honey and water, simmered together. (Regular simple syrup is just water and white sugar, same ratio. Try it for sweetening ice tea.)

The recipe calls for Ungava gin, and if you can’t find it, use any high quality gin that’s readily available, although Ungava would be preferred for its unique flavor. This gin is a Canadian specialty utilizing arctic plants and herbs from northern Quebec. It has a lovely golden colour to it, unlike the usual clear gins on the market.

Wait a minute you say, Canadian gin? There is no such thing. Gin comes from England, end of story. Not quite. This one is the first to be made in Canada, outside of the English sphere of gin influence. So, if you can find it, do try it, you will be very pleasantly surprised.

Bee's Knees Honey Cocktail Recipe


• 45ml Ungava Gin
• 30ml lemon juice
• 30ml honey syrup

Total Recipe yields one portion


1. Load ingredients into shaker tin

2. Shake with one scoop of ice

3. Strain over chilled glass

Honey Syrup Recipe

Add one part honey with one part water and bring it to a boil.

Now you have the perfect sipper for out on the deck, balcony, picnic or whatever social occasion that needs a cool, sweet/sour drink to savor. Just the thing for this hot summer we’re having!

Remember, please drink responsibly, and don’t drink and drive.

Important Notes:

Ungava Gin. Their website for more ideas and recipes. Do check this out, it’s a totally cool, pun intended, website. Last accessed July 14, 2016. Ungava Gin is produced by Domaine Pinnacle.

You can follow the Sue Van Slooten's adventures or sign up for a class at her website. Email Sue at, and read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.



Apples add the pectin needed to make the fruit juice gel. 

Jellies made from just the juice of fruit are the most beautiful preserves, and they have many uses beyond PB&Js, including glazing fruit tarts and cakes, glazing meats, using in thumbprint cookies, even adding to herbal vinaigrettes for a hint of both sweet and fruit.

The only difference between making jam and making jelly is the extra step of extracting all the fruit juice and discarding the solids.  Jellies can be made easily with high-sugar pectins like Sure-Jell, with low-methoxyl pectins, like Pomona's Universal Pectin, or from homemade pectin. Or you can just throw some apples into the pot and let them contribute the pectin, which is what I do.

Although you can make completely sugar-free jelly, I don't recommend it. The sugar is a preservative.  Once opened, low-sugar jellies and jams will keep for about 3 weeks in the refrigerator before starting to mold or ferment. No-sugar jams have an even shorter shelf-life.

This summer with the last of my strawberries, I made strawberry jelly. Sixteen cups of mashed fruit (plus 4 apples) will yield about 8 cups of juice. The juice, sweetened with 2 cups of sugar, will yield about 4 half-pints of jam. To increase the yield, increase the sugar. These numbers apply to all the berries and stone fruits.

Don't double your batches (unless the commercial pectin you are using says you can). Working in large batches runs the risk of overcooking and destroying the natural pectin in your fruit.  

There are two ways to extract the juice from fruit. The first is with a steam juicer and the second way is to cook the fruit until it yields its juice, then drain. Steam juicers run $75 to $150 and take a lot of cupboard space. If you are going with the draining method, you may be enticed to buy a stand with a jelly bag, which run from $10 to $20 (again think of storage space for the stand). I use butter muslin (denser than cheesecloth) and hang it from a cupboard over a bowl. 


 Cook the fruit and apples until completely broken down.

After extracting the juice, add sweetener and boil until it reaches the gel point – either following the directions of the commercial pectin you are using or bringing the jelly to 220 degrees Fahrenheit or testing for jelly visually: by the sheet test – the jelly drips off a spoon in a single sheet rather than individual drops – or the cold plate test – your finger will leave a distinct trail through the jelly.

Here's how I make jelly with apples.

1.  Quarter and chop 4 apples (don't peel) and add to a large heavy saucepan with 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice (the acid helps extract the pectin) and 2 tablespoons water (to prevent the apples from scorching). Cook while you prepare the fruit (because apples take longer to break down than softer fruits like berries).

2.  While the apples are cooking, prepare the fruit. Peeling isn't necessary. Just chop, pit as needed, and measure. For this batch of jelly, I used 16 cups of mashed strawberries.

3.  After the apples have cooked and broken down to a mashable state, 20 to 25 minutes, add 16 cups of mashed fruit and bring to a boil.

4.  Cook until the fruit is completely broken down, another 20 to 25 minutes.


Drain for 4 to 6 hours. 

5.  Set up a damp jelly bag over a bowl. Or line a colander with a damp double layer of cheesecloth or a damp square of butter muslin. Set the colander in a bowl.  Pour the fruit into the jelly bag or cloth-lined colander. Gather the corners of the cloth and knot onto the handle of a cupboard or refrigerator shelf so it drains into the bowl. Let drain for 4 to 6 hours — you will have about 8 cups of juice (the exact amount is not important).

6. Discard the fruit solids and proceed to make jelly from the fruit juice. Or refrigerate the fruit juice overnight and continue the next morning. Alternatively, freeze the juice and make the jelly sometime in the future.

7. Before you start to make the jelly, put a plate in the freezer to get ready to test for doneness. Sterilize 4 half-pint jelly jars (I always sterilize a 4-ounce jar also, just to be safe), place the canning lids in warm water, and prepare a boiling water bath canner or an atmospheric steam canner (see the MOTHER EARTH NEWS article "Is Steam Canning Safe?")

8.  Bring the fruit juice to a boil over high heat. Add the sweetener (I use 2 cups sugar) and return to a boil. Continue to boil until the jelly reaches 220 degrees Fahrenheit on a jelly thermometer, or until the jelly sheets off a cold metal spoon, or until your finger leaves a trail through a spoonful dropped onto a cold plate.


The test on the left shows the jelly isn't ready; one the right, my finger left a clear trail and the jelly is ready.

9. Fill hot sterilized jars leaving a 1/4-inch headspace. Screw on the two piece lids. Process in a boiling water bath or atmospheric steam canner for 5 minutes, adjusting for altitude and using the steam canner as directed. Let cool for 24 hours. Test the seals and store.

Andrea Chesman has written more than 20 cookbooks, including The Pickled PantryRecipes from the Root CellarServing Up the Harvestand The Backyard Homestead Book of Kitchen Know-HowShe teaches and does cooking demonstrations and classes at fairs, festivals, book events, and garden shows across the United States. She lives in Ripton, Vermont. Read all of Andrea's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.


Pressing the Reuben

All families have their folklore. Their tales of the past, of the the good and the bad. Some of which you learn from a serious conversation and sometimes through an off-hand comment. Then there are the times when you do the research, and you discover deep dark secrets and a revelation that changes how you look at your family and yourself.

Gaga’s Fudge

My father has three brothers and a sister. He is the second oldest son and the sister is the youngest. They spent parts of every summer visiting family in various parts of the country and by country, I mean largely Texas and Arkansas. It sounds like their grandmother (their father’s mother, called Gaga) was especially dear to them. She was very old when I was born, but I do remember her, if only through a virtual memory generated from old photographs. My daughter has her bedroom furniture.

One of the treats she made for the grandkids was fudge. She would wrap the pieces in wax paper and put them in a cylindrical cardboard Quaker Oats container and give it to the kids. It is a fond memory for all of them. One Christmas, long after she had died, the Hudson families gathered in Dallas for the holidays. It was rare for all of the families to be together and the always competitive “boys”, now quite grown men, would compete in anyway possible (but usually in a game of Risk that extended several days). Each day as the survivors gathered around the board for the day’s rounds of play, someone invariably suggested that somebody had moved their pieces around during the night, placing them at a definite disadvantage.

With such a large family, the exchanging of gifts was invariably chaotic and fast. However, that year, my uncle Andy pulled out of his bag of gifts five Quaker Oats containers - one for each sibling and his father. For the first time, maybe ever, the Hudson clan was quiet. They all beamed and almost simultaneously asked “Is that Gaga’s fudge?”. Andy handed out the tubes, and as each sibling received it, they went back 25 years to those special moments with Gaga. Just as they did way back when they could no longer wait, they opened the cans, hands shaking in anticipation and pulled out a roll of of fudgey goodness and the proceeded to gorge themselves. And that was the Christmas diabetes came to our family.

The Cheese Dip Deception

My dad’s mom was pretty good cook as well. She didn’t knock ’em dead like some grandmas, but when she did something, it was pretty good. One snack that was a staple at all family get togethers was Rotel. As a child, I watched her make this with fascination. You take this block of cheese, a block of cheese used only for this purpose, cut it into cubes, open a can of tomatoes, drain it but save the juice and put the tomatoes and cheese in a blender. Using the saved juiced to help liquefy things, you whipped up this wonderful dip that was called Rotel and eaten only with Fritos. It was smooth and creamy and absolutely amazing.

Jump ahead a few years and I am at college in my own place with a couple of roommates at Texas A&M University. It is football season during the great Jackie Sherrill years, and we were having some folks over to watch the game. Memories of Rotel inspired me to try and replicate the dish. My mom had come up with her version that used the stove to melt the cheese often resulting in the formation of a black skin of burnt cheese forming on the bottom of the pot. It was good, but not as good as Grandmother’s. The use of the blender made it creamier.

So I’m at the store looking for something tomato-ey to use in my own version of Rotel when I see a can labeled, Rotel. Wait, what is this? Did someone steal my grandmother’s recipe and rip her off? Or perhaps she sold someone the recipe and someday I’ll inherit a fortune made from cheese dip. I grabbed a can looked at the label to see if her name was on it or something, turned it around and there on the back of the label was a recipe for Velveeta Cheese Dip with Rotel. Wow, Grandmother hit the big time! She got her very own recipe on a can of product named after the dip she invented….wait a minute, I had it all backwards. She was a fraud. She didn’t invent Rotel cheese dip, she got the recipe from the label on the can. I was crushed.

When I got back to the house, I called my mom and asked her for an explanation. Her only response was “Seems like we are wasting a lot of money on you for an education.” and hung up. She was an obvious co-conspirator. I made some Rotel, burned it, of course, watched some football and drank a few Pearl beers as I tried to process this huge betrayal.

Not The Fudge, Too

Jump ahead another 20 years and I see my Uncle Andy at some family gathering, unfortunately, probably a funeral. I told him I was thinking about putting together a family cookbook and asked if he still had the recipe for Gaga’s Fudge.

He said “Yep, you go to the store..” I was not sure where this was going.

“Find you a can of puffed marshmallow..” Okay, I’m not liking this.

“Slowly turn it around and there it is on the back of the can!” He started laughing.

I was like, “Wait, it was not some great, passed down through the ages family recipe.”

“Nope, no great recipe. She got it off the can. Can you believe that?”

What is it with this family?

The Reuben Sandwich Sauce

And now, I have a DIY Reuben sandwich and while I did not invent the sandwich, I did manage to kick it up a few notches (to quote a celebrity chef). As I told you a couple of months back, I have started making my own corned beef and sauerkraut and we figured out how to make a Jewish rye bread. I’m not making my own Swiss cheese yet, so all I needed was the sauce.

The sauce put on a Reuben sandwich varies from region to region across the United States. Most commonly used are Thousand Island Dressing and its derivative Russian Dressing. My dad in his retirement has decided to reinvent cooking and, of course, he started with the Reuben. He soon learned that there is not much flexibility with most of the Reuben ingredients. If you are not making your own, you get what the store gives you. However, the sauce does allow a little flexibility and creativity. He has spent years perfecting his craft. Many different interpretations with modifications here and there. I am sure his Reuben sandwiches will be a lasting legacy, perhaps the lasting legacy for which all of the grandkids will remember him.

I knew it would be difficult to get the recipe from him. Certainly the correct recipe. I hoped he had written it down. I knew I had to come up with some incentive to get him to cough it up.

“Hey Dad,”


“I made up another batch of corned beef. I have some homemade kraut, and we have a rye bread recipe.”

“Sounds good. When can we come over?”

“Sunday, but I’m just missing the sauce. I was wondering if I could have your recipe so I can give proper respect to the sandwich you perfected.”

I had him! If he wanted a good sandwich, he would have to give me the right recipe. Looks like that education paid off, Mom.

“Well, I don’t know,” he said pausing for a moment. I’m thinking “c’mon old man, if I don’t carry the Reuben torch, who will? Matt? (my younger brother) Not bloody likely!”

“Okay, I’ll give it to you...just Google Emeril’s Reuben sandwich, and it has a recipe for Russian Dressing.”



“Did you even tweak it?”

“Nope, I like Emeril’s stuff and use his Russian dressing recipe.”

For the love of originality, I come from a family of plagiarists. It is apparently in my DNA. It probably resides in that mole on my back. Three generations of Hudsons have passed along mythical recipes... that someone else came up with.

It would seem that Huddy’s Reuben Sauce is really Emeril’s Russian Dressing. AYFKM?

As a public service announcement, please note that I always reference and credit my sources. I am trying to break this cycle and give credit where credit is due.

For your own DIY Reuben you can go here for the corned beef and sauerkraut recipes that were posted a couple of months ago. You can apparently Google Emeril’s Reuben Sandwich recipe to get his recipe for Russian Dressing, or see below for the sauce. Please don’t confuse it with Huddy’s Reuben sauce. By the way, it is great on almost anything.

Corned Beef

Also included below is an abridged version of the Sourdough Rye Bread recipe. For the full recipe go to Hudson’s Farm on the Cement Pond.

Assembling the Reuben

On a griddle or large skillet, melt a little butter. Lay two pieces of bread down in the butter to toast. Apply dressing to each of the pieces on the side facing up. Add cheese to one slice of bread. While the cheese melts, add corned beef and sauerkraut to to other side.

Grilling the Reuben

Once the cheese has melted to your preferred consistency, flip onto the other side and press down with a spatula. Carefully flip it over and press again. When it is toasted how you like, remove, cut in half and enjoy.

Ready to Eat

When my mom and dad tried it, they said it was the best Reuben they ever had, especially the sauce. They may be a bit biased, but I guarantee you will impress some folks with this DIY Reuben sandwich.

Huddy’s Reuben Sauce

Emeril’s Russian Dressing

Mix together:

• 1 cup mayonnaise
• 1/4 cup chili sauce
• 1 tablespoon minced yellow onion
• 1 tablespoon minced dill pickle
• 1 tablespoon minced celery
• 1 tablespoon minced parsley leaves
• 1 tablespoon heavy cream
• 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
• 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
• 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
• 1/4 teaspoon sugar
Once mixed, add salt to taste. Store in the refrigerator until needed.

Homemade Sourdough Rye Bread

Makes 1 Loaf

• 100 g Sourdough Leaven (freshly fed sourdough starter, fed with a 1:1 ratio of all purpose flour and water, then allowed to ferment for at least 4 hours at room temperature. Note, if you cannot bake in 4 hours, transfer the leaven to the refrigerator until ready to bake, but do not store for more than 48 hours in the refrigerator – the longer it goes, the more sour the bread. Longer than 48 hours makes it too sour and too dense)
• 400 g Water (room temp)
• 400 g Bread Flour
• 100 g Whole Rye Flour
• 10 g Sea Salt
• 1Tbsp Caraway Seeds

Preparing the Dough

Transfer the Leaven to a large mixing bowl. The Leaven will be bubbly and fluffy.

Add the Water to the bowl of Leaven. Stir with a spatula or a dough whisk to disperse.

Add the Bread Flour and the Whole Rye Flour. Stir with a spatula or a dough whisk to combine into a shaggy dough. Make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to incorporate all the flour.

Cover and let rest for approximately 30 minutes, but no more than one hour.

Add the Sea Salt and the Caraway Seeds to the bowl. Use the dough whisk or your hands to fully incorporate the Salt and the Caraway Seeds throughout the dough.

Bulk Fermentation – Letting the Wild Yeast Do the Work

Cover the bowl. Rest for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, use a spatula or your hands to stretch the dough and fold it in to itself. Scoop along the edge of the container and pull the dough toward the center, working your way all the way around the container. Cover and rest for 30 minutes.

Repeat Step 2 at least three more times – until the dough has increased approximately 30 to 50 percent, and has a springy texture that will hold a shape. It may take longer than two hours, but you will learn what the dough is supposed to feel like – just do a stretch and fold every 30 minutes until it is ready.

Scrape the dough onto a floured surface. Sprinkle flour over the top of the dough, cover with a cloth and rest for 10 minutes.

Shaping and Proofing

After the 10 minute rest, pat the dough with your fingertips to make it slightly flatter. Take the two side edges and pull them toward the center, then roll the dough, creating tension and forming a cylinder loaf. Sprinkle flour on the outside of the roll, and set it on the floured counter, seam side down. Cover with a cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.

After the 10 minutes rest, tighten the dough roll to make sure there is tension on the surface. Lightly flour the loaf.

Transfer the dough seam side down into a loaf pan (We use a Pullman Loaf pan with a cover). Cover the loaf with the cover (if using) or with a cloth and let rest and rise for approximately one hour, until the loaf is almost to the top of the loaf pan.

Baking the Bread

1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Place a heavy skillet on the lowest level shelf.

2. Get a very sharp knife or a bread lame ready. Make sure you have oven gloves that are suitable up to at least 500 degrees – the oven and the pans get VERY hot!

3. Get a cup of ice and set it on the counter, near your oven.

4. After the rise, remove the cover and use the sharp knife or baker’s lame to score the surface of the dough. Replace the cover (or if not using a Pullman Loaf pan, cover with aluminum foil).

5. Put the covered container into the oven, then dump the ice into the heavy skillet on the lowest shelf and immediately close the oven door, allowing the oven to fill with steam. Turn down the temperature to 450 degrees. Bake for 18 minutes.

6. After 18 minutes, wearing oven gloves, open the oven and carefully remove the skillet of hot water and discard the water. Remove the cover on the loaf pan. Close the oven and set a timer for 15 minutes.

7. Keep your eye on the bread - it should be browned, and may even get dark brown edges near the scoring. You can take its temperature (wear oven gloves!) – the center should be approximately 198 - 200 degrees when it is finished. It should be finished approximately 13-18 minutes after you have removed the cover, depending on your oven and the size of your bread.

8. When the center of the bread has reached 198-200 degrees, pull it out and immediately transfer it to a cooling rack. Cover with a cloth. If serving immediately, let it rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing.

Bread Recipe Resources:

We have researched online and in books and have done many experiments with baking sourdough bread. Our primary inspiration for techniques and recipes has been Chad Robertson’s book Tartine Bread. For troubleshooting, starter development and other recipes, we have often referred to Mike Avery’s website/blog

Ed Hudson is a biochemist for NASA in Houston. His free time is filled with gardening and an ongoing list of Food Preservation Projects with his lovely wife, Jennifer. You can read more MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts from Ed here and contact him via email at He is always looking for comments, new ideas and suggestions.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.



When garden vegetables are coming in by the basketfuls, I am always eager to craft dishes that utilize as much of summer’s abundance as possible. One of the easiest ways to make use of excess is to do a simple slow-cooker dish like this one. A delicious pork roast is enlivened by ripe tomato, savory squash, fresh pepper, and hearty carrots. Feel free to adapt this recipe to whatever is ready in your garden, as nearly any vegetable will taste heavenly after hours under low heat.


• Pork roast
• 1 large tomato, sectioned
• 1 yellow squash, sliced
• 1 bell pepper, sliced
• 1 cup baby carrots
• 1 teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon pepper
• 2 teaspoons organic garlic powder
• 2 cups organic French onion soup


1. In the base of a slow cooker, pour French onion soup and arrange baby carrots.

2. Place pork roast atop and arrange squash, peppers, and tomato around its sides.

3. Season with garlic, salt, and pepper.

4. Cook on high for approximately 4-5 hours or on low for 6-7. For faster cooking, cut deep slits into the roast. Serve when fork tender.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

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