Real Food
Savor the flavors of everyday real food, fresh from the garden or stored on your pantry shelves.

Kale Salad Recipe

Kale is such a versatile and good-for-you vegetable. It’s rich in vitamins and minerals, you can eat it raw or cooked, it makes great-tasting and healthy chips for snacking, and you can add it to fruit smoothies for a big nutrition boost with no noticeable effect on the drink’s other flavors.

good kale

One of my favorite ways to eat this superfood is as a salad. But not just any old salad. The recipe I’m about to share comes from my cousin Caryn, who blogs over at One Whole Human. She’s converted many a former skeptic into kale fanatics with this salad. She’s sort of the Pied Piper of kale—people will follow her anywhere once she’s promised them a bowl full of this yummy salad.

The best thing about this salad, other than its delicious, wholesome goodness, is that you can mix up a big batch and have a whole week’s worth of healthy, light lunches at your fingertips. You won’t mind eating it day after day, either—it’s that good. In fact, it gets better after it’s sat in the fridge for a day or two, because it “cooks” in there, blending flavors and softening the vegetable’s flavor and texture.

Let me get this out of the way, right up front. What I’m offering is not so much a recipe as a list of ingredients accompanied by some tips. How much of which ingredient you use depends on the size of your kale “bunch” and your personal preferences. As a guide, I’ve listed mine in parentheses.

Kale Salad Recipe


1 bunch of kale (Mine comes from the garden, so I use as much as will fill up a large mixing bowl.)
lemon juice and olive oil in more or less equal proportions (I use about 2 tablespoons of each.)
minced garlic (I use a couple of good-sized cloves.)
salt, to taste (You need at least a little salt. I use a few healthy grinds of coarse sea salt.)
grated Parmesan cheese* (I’m partial to Parmesan, so I sprinkle liberally.)


1. Tear kale into bite-size pieces, discarding tough stems. Place kale in large mixing bowl.

2. Add remaining ingredients.*

3. Mix well. (You may want to mix with your hands, lightly massaging the kale, to ensure that all ingredients are well mixed and to help soften the kale a bit.)

Remember, this easy-to-make salad can be prepared in advance. In fact, that’s preferable—as I said, it gets better with age. But if you can’t wait (that’s me), you can dish up a bowl right away. It will still be delicious. Serve it as a side at dinner or add a few tortilla chips, a baguette, or some other crunchy for a delicious, healthy, filling midday meal.

* While adding the ingredients all at once is the quickest way to make this salad, I’ve found it much more satisfactory to mix in the Parmesan after the salad has been dished into individual bowls. The reason is simple: because of the olive oil, the cheese stubbornly sticks to the sides of the mixing bowl and stays there instead of making it into your mouth. And that would be a real shame.

Happy eating!

Carole Coates is a gardener and food preservationist, family archivist, essayist, poet, photographer, modern homesteader. You can follow her Mother Earth News blog posts by following this link. You can also find Carole at Living On the Diagonal where she shares her take on life, including modern homesteading, food preparation and preservation, and travel as well random thoughts and reflections, personal essays, poetry, and photography.

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.

Make Your Own Pectin for Homemade Jams and Jellies


You can make your own pectin for summer jams and jellies. It’s easy, it’s economical, and you can make summer fruit jams with less sugar and less cooking. Don’t substitute your homemade pectin in the overly sugared recipes used for Certo or SureJel. That would be defeating the purpose.

Choose very green apples, even unripe if you can find them. Grannies, Rhode Island Greenings, or crab apples are good.  The smaller apples are usually less expensive, so these are an economical choice. Follow the proportions below and multiply to make the quantity you will need.

Five pounds of apples makes 3 cups of liquid pectin and optional 4 cups apple sauce.


• 5 pounds hard, very green apples
• Juice of one lemon
• 10 cups filtered water


1. If you get your apples from a store and suspect they have been waxed, get the wax off. Dip the apples, one or two at a time, in boiling water same as you would to peel tomatoes.

2. Peel the lemon before you juice it and save the fragrant zest for another use. Have the water with lemon juice ready in a good-sized stock pot. Don’t bother to peel or core the apples. Pull the stem and then cut the apples into eighths. If you have larger apples, cut again so you have pieces about an inch square. As you cut, drop the pieces into the water so they don’t turn brown.

3. Over high heat, bring to a boil and cook the apples until they are quite soft, about 30 minutes. Let them cool a bit so you won’t scald yourself. With a slotted spoon or spider, dip out the apple pieces. Be sure to pour any extra liquid back.

4. Now pour the liquid through a colander to get out any pieces of apple. Rinse out the colander then line it with a double layer of cheesecloth and pour the strained liquid through back into the original pot. Let this drip for hours, even overnight.

5. Measure the depth of the liquid in the pot with either a ruler or a wooden skewer. Mark the depth and mark the half point. Over high heat, reduce the liquid by half. As it reaches this concentration, you can see that it’s jelling; there’s a light skin on the surface. Turn off the heat and let the pectin cool.

I don’t like to add any sugar to my pectin, so instead of canning, I freeze it in 8-ounce freezer tubs. One of these tubs is enough for most batches of summer fruit jam, jelly or marmalade.

Waste Not, Want Not: Homemade Applesauce

You can make some nice applesauce with the soft-cooked apples. Run them through a food mill to remove all the cores, seeds and skins. Add a judicious amount of honey or other sweetener and the spices you like in applesauce. You can heat the sauce to boiling and ladle into jars for canning. Process in boiling water for 20 minutes for pints or half-pints. Or, you can put the sauce into freezer tubs. Leave ½ inch headspace, let cool completely, then pop into the freezer.

Alternative Directions

If you don’t have a food mill but have a little extra time at the starting point, peel and core the apples, but put the pectin-rich cores in a cheesecloth packet and toss into the pot to cook. Then you need only give the apple pieces an easy mash before adding sweetener and spice for sauce.

If you just don’t care about applesauce, the cooked apple pieces can go to the livestock – poultry, pigs, goats, cows — or to the compost. Don’t waste them.

Wendy Akin is 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.

Sea Stag Fermented Sauerkraut from The Brinery


Getting nutritious and flavorful fermented foods are easy in Ann Arbor, Michigan, thanks, in part, to The Brinery, another of the thriving food enterprises in this community.

With a tag line of “Stimulating your inner economy,” The Brinery’s naturally fermented sauerkraut, hot sauces and seasonal pickles, including cucumbers and asparagus, are 100-percent fermented, so you’ll need to keep them refrigerated. Worth noting, these live culture fermented food products are different than the high acid cottage food products that do not require refrigeration because when the cottage food products are canned, the fermentation process is stopped.

The convivial, bearded and grinning Chief Fermenting Officer, David Klingenberger, swells with enthusiasm, intimate knowledge of the microbial world and passion for ferments.  With his business, he’s serious about scaling up, supporting local farmers and helping people lead healthier lives by eating more fermented foods. But he’s more than willing to share some of his secrets and recipes (see below).

No heat canning and vinegar pickling here. The Brinery uses lacto-fermention of their vegetables in large food-grade containers, It’s a low-energy way of letting bacteria do the work. Fermenting actually retains vitamins, produces beneficial lactobacillus, and predigests some of the plant material, making more nutritive elements available to our bodies.

As many homesteaders know, making a batch of sauerkraut is easy, affordable and fun, especially if you have many helping hands. The ancient art of food preservation is rather simple – and safe.  Only fresh vegetables, a natural salt brine and a crock are needed. As for safety, the salt and anaerobic environment in your fermenting crock stifle harmful bacteria and prevent decay with the beneficial lactobacillus bacteria multiplying to eat the sugars in the veggies, converting them to lactic acid and carbon dioxide -- the signature bubbles and sour taste that characterizes fermented foods.

The Brinery turns out over 12 varieties of sauerkraut, some available only seasonally, three types of kimchi, three types of seasonal pickles, and five types of hot sauce. For all these products, they purchase over 150,000 pounds of locally grown produce from Tantre Farm, Pregitzer Farm and the Michigan State University Student Farm. “We use many certified organic ingredients, but none of our products are certified organic themselves,” says Klingenberger who can sometimes be caught selling at their booth at the Ann Arbor Farmers' Market. “Some of our small farmers are not certified organic, but grow along organic principles.” The latter point is becoming increasingly common among direct producer-to-farmer relationships.


“We sell mostly throughout the Midwest, and our hot sauce is available in all Northern California Whole Foods Markets,” cheers Klingenberger. “We use organic ginger from Hawaii and sea salt from Europe. My idea of local keeps evolving. I consider the Great Lakes region to be our backyard.  We sell our products mostly throughout the Midwest and the Great Lakes area.”

Just in time for some fall crops, Klingenberger was excited to share his Sea Stag Sauerkraut recipe below. As a bonus for some of us, the recipe puts to good use some roots of a common and stubborn “weed,” burdock, at least where we homestead.

“We created this recipe with a friend, after visiting the Seaweed Man in Maine,” explains Klingenberger. “Inspired by hand harvesting the wild seaweed, Sea Stag Sauerkraut brings together the briney nutrients of seaweed with the deep earthy essence of burdock root, all united by the golden hue of turmeric!”

“Don't worry if the top layer dries out or gets funky looking,” he advises, when making this kraut. “Anything under the brine is fine and completely safe. The cabbage leaves will help protect the kraut, and can be discarded. If you see any white film on the surface, it's not mold, just a harmless pesky yeast. This recipe is very adaptable, and can be adjusted to your liking.  Vegetable fermentation is a very safe and forgiving art.”

The Brinery Sea Stag Sauerkraut

Provided by David Klingenberger, Chief Fermenting Officer

Yield: a little less than 32 oz.


1.5 pounds, cabbage
1/2 cup carrot, shredded
1/4 cup burdock, shredded
2 T. sea veg (we use a mix of dulse, kelp, and digitae)
1 t. powdered Turmeric, or ½- inch chunk of fresh turmeric root
1 T. salt 


1. Chop cabbage by hand, into thin slivers (or use your favorite cabbage shredding device) and set aside.

2. Break up seaweed by hand, knife or food processor into small, bite size pieces. You can use any type of your favorite seaweed.  We use the soup mix from the Seaweed Man; they harvest by hand, in row boats off the coast of Maine.

3. If using fresh turmeric, finely grate it, or puree in a food processor.

4. In large mixing bowl, thoroughly mix all shredded vegetables with salt, turmeric and seaweed.  Squeeze, agitate and pound with your fist. This will break up the cell walls, get the juices flowing, and help to jump start the fermentation process.

5. Pack tightly into a 32 oz. wide mouth mason jar (or similar food grade container), until it is 80% full, ensuring that your jar does not overflow during fermentation.

6. Place larger, leftover leaves of cabbage into the top of the jar, covering the surface of the kraut. 

7. Place a drinking glass filled with water inside your wide mouth fermenting jar.  This will act as the weight to keep kraut submerged under the brine.  This is crucial for proper fermentation! There should be plenty of natural juices covering the kraut. Remember: If it's under the brine it's fine, if it's in the air, beware!

8. Place your kraut on a counter, out of direct sunlight, at room temperature.  It will be ready in 2 to 6 weeks, depending on your taste preference!

9. For long term storage, keep in refrigerator with a lid on.

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.

Quick Healthy Salad using Farm Fresh Ingredients and Honey Smoked Salmon


During a visit to the National Restaurant Association’s NRA Show in Chicago, Lisa Kivirist and I are always on the lookout for the lines at an exhibit booth. We love to cover the latest in culinary trends, whether cooking by induction or making cocktails with ginger beer.

Like a crowded parking lot outside the best local diner in town, lines at the nation’s largest food and beverage show are markers for excellence, taste, value or innovation. When crowds of chefs, restaurateurs, servers and cooks opt to get into a cue to sample a salad at a convention center overflowing with a cornucopia of food and drink options, you get a sense that whatever is being sampled is great.

And it was, at the Honey Smoked Fish Company’s booth. Instead a chef twirling a spatula that you might find at a Japanese hibachi restaurant, Founder Kevin Mason was mixing up a huge bowl of salad, to which he added his Honey Smoked Salmon.

“We do one thing and one thing only, make the world’s finest lightly hot-smoked salmon that’s fully cooked and ready to eat right out of the package,” says Mason, while spinning his bowl, chatting up the benefits of high omega-3 fatty acids, and smiling a lot.

Each salad is packed full of nutrition and the bold Atlantic salmon flavor. It is melt in your mouth tasty. We had a choice of 5 preparations of Honey Smoked Salmon: Original, Cracked Peppers, Cajun, Chipotle Lime and Lemon Pepper. Honey Smoked Salmon is widely distributed throughout the US, but can be shipped out as well. All fish is shipped fresh, never frozen, directly from the smokehouse. Honey Smoked Salmon is hot smoked, different than cold smoked salmon, also known as lox.

“Salmon is considered a superfood because it has one of the highest concentrations of Omega-3 fatty acids, more than other fish, meat, or poultry sources,” explains Skyler Mason, who shares ownership of the company with his family and serves as the executive sales director. “Omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to the reduction of cholesterol and the risk of heart disease and stroke. There are no carbohydrates in the product, even though we use honey in our process, as the carbohydrates and fat calories are burned off during the cooking process.”

“The main difference between cold smoked and hot smoked is the temperature that the fish is smoked at,” explains Skyler Mason. “Cold smoked is smoked at a lot lower temperature which comes out as an end product as a more raw lox texture. Hot smoked is cooked at a much higher temperature that kills off bacteria and turns out as a more fully cooked texture. It is all personal preference on whether you like cold smoked or hot smoked better. Typically, hot smoking salmon dries out the rich omega’s the salmon already consist of. But we have created a secret recipe in our firing system which locks in the omega’s consisting three times the amount.”

“We buy salmon from multiple farms in British Columbia who operate under some of the strictest standards in good aquacultural practices and food safety,” notes Skyler Mason. “All our source farms have the multiple certifications for food safety and marine stewardship.” Their farms are members of the British Columbia Salmon Farmers Association and collectively received the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s Best Aquaculture Practices certification. One sustainability measure is that the weight of edible fish exceeds the weight of the feeder fish. In other words, these aquaculture farms are net producers of fish in the same way my wife and I are net producers of electricity on our homestead with a PV and wind turbine system.

What’s perfect about his salad, for homesteaders, is that you can easily adapt it to incorporate nearly everything you make or grow yourself on the farm, from the cheese to the sun-dried cranberries and salad dressing. Flakes or small chunks of the Honey Smoked Salmon are the perfect topping to the salad itself. Soon, you’ll be experimenting with pizzas, tacos or simply on top of your homemade bagels.

Five Superfood Salad

By Kevin Mason, Honey Smoked Fish Company

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients for Salad:

8 oz. honey smoked salmon
2 oz. colby-jack cheese, grated
12 oz. romaine and iceberg lettuce mix
4 oz. baby spinach
2 oz. toasted almonds, slivered or sliced
½ cup diced tomatoes, peeled and seeded
½ cup blueberries
½ cup mandarin oranges, in pieces
½ cup sun-dried cranberries

Ingredients Dressing:

2/3 cup ranch dressing, perhaps from our Farmstead Chef cookbook
1/3 cup raspberry vinaigrette dressing

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.

Vegetarian Quiche Recipe

Quiche! What an exotic sounding dish. So French. So upscale. You may think quiche is tricky to prepare. I used to. But it’s not, a fact I learned at my first outing to a Mother Earth News sustainability fair in Seven Springs, PA, when I attended a workshop led by Deborah Niemann.

One of her tips for living a simpler life was to serve quiche when company comes to dinner. Easy, she said. She was right. In fact, it’s ridiculously easy. Although we don’t have a ready supply of eggs like Niemann does, quiche has still become our go-to recipe whenever we have dinner guests.

All quiche needs to accompany it are a salad, perhaps some bread, and fruit for dessert, all of which can be prepared in advance. All the prep work for the starring attraction can be done ahead of time, too. I put the ingredients together and pop the quiche into the oven a few minutes before it’s time for company to knock on the door. Then I can fully share in a relaxed visit before we sit down to our meal. Since quiche takes a while to bake, it doesn’t even matter if the guests show up a little late.


Swiss chard is a perfect ingredient for a delicious quiche. So are kale, asparagus, broccoli and other garden fresh veggies.

If you’re lucky enough to have your own egg supply, quiche is a perfect way to use up excess eggs.

I used to think there was a magic, precise formula for making quiche, but there isn’t. You can find recipes calling for 4, 6, or 8 eggs. Some use milk, some cream. Different kinds and amounts of cheese are recommended. I’ve tweaked the recipes I’ve come across and came up with one that works best for our small family. It perfectly fills up a pie pan.

If you’re still anxious about making quiche, just remember it’s nothing more than eggs with some other stuff mixed in. Now, that sounds a little less overwhelming, doesn’t it?

You can prepare quiche with your favorite piecrust recipe or you can serve it naked in a well-oiled pan—even easier. Here’s my favorite recipe:


1 cup milk
4 eggs, beaten
4 cups of of the vegetable(s) of your choice
2 cups grated cheese—again, of your choice

Note: I’ve given specific measurements because some people really don’t like imprecision, but really, if you have a little more—or less—cheese you want to grate and use, that’s fine. Likewise, you can add a little more or less in the way of vegetables.


1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Lightly sauté vegetables and set aside.

3. Mix milk and eggs together.

4. Layer ingredients in the pan in the following order: vegetables, cheese, milk-egg mixture.

5. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the middle comes out clean.

6. Let quiche rest on a rack for a few minutes before serving.

My favorite quiche veggies are Swiss chard with mushrooms and onions. Other popular fillings at our house include kale, broccoli, spinach, or asparagus. As it happens, quiche is a pretty good way to use up tidbits in the fridge. I’ve had quiche with frozen peas and carrots, and that was mighty good, too. While it’s not necessary for flavor, you can toss some garlic and herbs of your choice (perhaps a teaspoon or so) to the egg-milk mixture if you want to up the zing factor.

I most often opt for Swiss or cheddar cheese, sometimes with a little Parmesan. It all depends on what I have on hand. Feta might be the perfect match for spinach, Parmesan for asparagus. Or you can use a combination of cheeses.

By using different vegetables from one meal to the next and switching out one cheese for another, you have almost endless possibilities for exciting, elegant meals—all from the same basic recipe.

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.

Black Ankle Vineyards: Quality, Sustainability and Fun


Traveling through Central Maryland’s wine country is a study in contrasts.  Fragmented but tall forests surround fields of corn and other crops. As you approach Unionville Road on the way to Black Ankle Vineyards, a tunnel of trees engulfs the narrow country lane. Once you emerge, it’s as if you have been beamed down from space into a European-like vineyard scene. You have arrived in another world.

I used to doubt Maryland wines were any good, but in just one afternoon, my mind changed instantly at the 2017 Comptroller’s Cup Wine Competition. The awards presentation held at Baltimore’s Woodberry Kitchen July 28, 2017, exposed me to the best wines in Maryland. The award-winning wines were darn good, and the variety was impressive. Winemakers from the Eastern Shore to the Blue Ridge Mountains and in between are making excellent wines.  

As I started the exploring of some of Maryland’s 80 wineries, none impressed me more than Black Ankle Vineyards near Mt Airy. Husband and wife team, Ed Boyce and Sarah O’Herron, have refreshed a tired old feeder farm and turned it into wine paradise. The setting between two hills provides a perfect micro-climate for grapes. The tasting room is nestled in the low point of the hills providing wide views of the classic farm scene and vineyards.

A Sustainable Vineyard

This secluded setting seems more like a private park than a vineyard. Happy customers linger on the lawn, in the tasting room, or on the patios enjoying being on the farm. But this farm is serious about making great wines and proving it can be done sustainably.  On their website, the owners say,

“We spend a great deal of time doing what we think of as farming the soil – making sure that the microbial life in the soil has a good mix of air, water and nutrients so it can create a healthy environment for our vines.  

If you don’t take care of the soil, you don’t get great produce. At Black Ankle, they don’t use artificial fertilizers or herbicides, and fungicides are used sparingly. After losing 60% of their crop to Black Rot from trying to go organic, the owners decided fungicides were necessary. They also have used a pesticide against Japanese Beetles after trying dozens of non-pesticide methods with little success.

Other sustainable features include: solar power, passive solar, electric car charging stations, and geothermal; all incorporated in reshaping the farm after Ed and Sarah purchased it. Their recycling program includes recycling food scraps for the farm’s pigs, and they have reduced cardboard consumption by 80% by packing bottles on re-usable trays.

When I asked Ed why they wanted to make Black Ankle Vineyards eco-friendly he said, “Why would we want to treat the farm poorly? I think leaving a small footprint on the Earth should be the default position of everybody, not a statement of differentiation.”

It was easy for me to agree with his answer.

Ed and Sarah built the tasting room mostly from materials found on the farm. To that end, they used straw bale construction from straw grown onsite.  Around 90% of the building materials were sourced on the farm. One of the most striking examples of using materials on the farm is the bar top. This unique feature is made from vine trimmings pressed under very high pressure and finished to a shiny surface revealing the vine clippings as if under glass. Notice the stone fireplace and chimney in the tasting room as you enter. This stone was all sourced from the farm.

The level of sustainability is all well and good, but what about the quality of the wine? It’s no fluke that Black Ankle wines are considered by many to be the best in Maryland. Ed and Sarah went to great strides to attain this level of perfection. They traveled Spain, Italy, and France extensively researching great wine making. They both speak Spanish, and Sarah also speaks French. They learned all they could from these European vineyard visits and brought this knowledge home to Maryland.

It took about a year of driving Maryland’s back roads before the best winery site was found in May of 2002. The first grapevines were planted in 2003, and the tasting room opened in 2008 when the first bottles were ready to sell. Slowly, the word got out there was some seriously good wine at Black Ankle.

Open Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and some holidays, visitors can taste five wines for around $16 per person. There is also a wine flight offered for $30 with some of the wines being special vintages from the past. This wine flight is approximately two glasses total, instead of just an ounce each pour. Local cheeses are sold onsite, and visitors ring the bell for a hot baguette from the kitchen to accompany wine tastings.

My favorite wine was the Slate 3, a premium red blend consisting of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. This rich Bordeaux blend is a full-bodied wine that would go great with everything from tacos to prime rib. At $54 per bottle, some would choose tacos to pair with it! My favorite white wine was a blend named Bedlam, a delicious wine to pair with seafood, chicken, or maybe just a bowl of cheddar popcorn for football game snacks.

Friday nights bring live music to accompany your picnic dinner and Black Ankle wine. In warm weather, this is one of the best Friday night entertainment options in Maryland. Pull up a chair on the patio and enjoy the beauty of this old farm, excellent wine, friends, and family. Located under an hour from Baltimore it’s an easy drive to this vineyard.

In Maryland, you will find several wine shops and restaurants carrying Black Ankle wines. For those of you living out of state, Black Ankle has an option to buy online. Perhaps the only downside to Black Ankle wines is the price. Their current lineup runs from $30 to $54 making these a special occasion wine for some customers.

If you are looking to start your own vineyard, Black Ankle is a good place to seek knowledge. Or if you’re just looking for a great vineyard escape, this little slice of Maryland heaven would be hard to beat.

Photos by Atsuko Okabe

Kurt Jacobsohas been a chef for 40 years and, after being schooled in the U.S. Coast Guard, he trained in many restaurants under both kind and maniac chefs. Kurt is starting his fourth year of container and raised-bed organic gardening and is volunteering at Wilbur’s Farm in Kingsville, Maryland, to learn real organic gardening. For this and other recipes using garden greens, and more fresh veggies check out his food blog. For tasty travel ideas check out Kurt's travel blog, Read all of Kurt'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.

Lusciously Moist Baby Back Ribs from the Instant Pot


I recently cobbled together the recipe below in my usual way—reading through several other recipes, considered the things I had on-hand, tailored the flavors to our tastes, and dove into the deep end (though I know the deep end of my pool very well by this point in time).

One of my favorite ways to cook is to incorporate other foods that I have preserved, dried, frozen, or picked fresh from my garden. While I used my own pear preserves in this recipe, you could easily substitute your own peach preserves or a commercial fig spread—any fruit concoction that brings smiles to the diner’s faces is worthy of a try. I urge cooks to mine the treasures they already have in their supplies and to create with the tastes of their family’s palates in mind.

Just a few weeks ago I processed some of my freshly dug and dried garlic into a brine bath. At the same time, I started more cloves fermenting in honey for future use. I have been using the brined garlic nearly every day since it was ready so it was easy for me to include it as the final topping in this recipe. Your use of unfermented, fresh garlic will work just fine. I have no doubt that the honey-fermented garlic will also find its way into this dish in our kitchen by the end of fall—perhaps even into some homemade barbecue sauce.

While the following is written for one rack of 15 baby back ribs, time could be varied depending on more or less meat being cooked—use your best judgment. Many people love to slather ribs in tasty, dripping goodness that’s finger-lickin’ good. We prefer these ribs lighter on the sauce so their rich meaty flavor is more highlighted. I leave the slathering levels up to the individual chef’s taste, hence the lack of more specific quantities for topping ingredients.


Luscious Baby Back Ribs for the Instant Pot


rack of ribs
barbecue rub
1 12-ounce beer (I prefer darker beers for their added flavor and richness)
1 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1 tsp minced, fresh ginger
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar (you could substitute another vinegar, it may alter the end flavor)
3/4 cup water

Topping ingredients for broiling:

barbecue sauce
pear preserves
fresh ginger
crushed pineapple
chopped garlic


1. Coat the rack of ribs with the rub. (This can be a commercially produced rub or you can combine your own ingredients. I did the latter)

2. Stand the ribs on end, circling the inside of the pot, meaty side in.

3. Pour the rest of the ingredients (from the first list) into the hole made by the circle of the ribs.

4. Lock Instant Pot. Turn Instant Pot onto high pressure and manually set for 17 minutes. Prepare your side dishes while the ribs are cooking. Once the pressure cooking is complete, switch to warm and let pressure come off for 10 minutes before venting (10-minute natural release).

5. Carefully remove ribs from Pot and lay meat side up on a broiling pan. This is where personal choice comes in. As I mentioned above, we prefer to taste the meat and my husband would rather not have to clean his fingers while eating so we go with a lighter-on-the-goop option. First, I lay down a light coating of barbecue sauce across the rack of ribs. That is followed by a layer of my pear preserves mixed with fresh ginger. Next is a layer crushed pineapple. I then sprinkle coarsely chopped garlic over the entire top.

6. Broil for 10-12 minutes or until the tops are nicely glazed and garlic is browned (or charred, according to preference).

7. Divide rack (if you haven’t already… it may be easier for some to cut the rack in the Instant Pot and take out smaller sections, though that also makes slightly more work when glazing and topping). Serve with your choice of sides. Pictured below with the ribs are (starting bottom left, then clockwise): fresh asparagus and kale from the garden with chopped garlic; fresh cucumber, basil leaves, and tomatoes from the garden; and fresh pole beans and dill from the garden with lemon.


Blythe Pelham is an artist that aims to enable others to find their grounding through energy work. She is in the midst of writing a cookbook and will occasionally share bits in her blogging here. She writes, gardens and cooks in Ohio. Find her online at Humings and Being Blythe, and read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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