More From: Cooking

Pickle & Ferment in small batches with your own mason jars.

Enjoy Delicious Home Pickled Foods

- posted by EmmaLee Woodland

Canning season in Northern Utah is in full force! We have some new canning gadgets you need to know about. You'll love these great products designed to make your favorite home pickled foods in smaller, faster batches.

Fermentation Creation full kit in use.
ViscoDisc group for fermenting.

Fermentation Creation and ViscoDisc are sure to change the way you can, pickle, and ferment foods. So come on! Let's create some delicious foods that are sure to be a hit at your next family party.

Chop, Salt, Brine and Repeat

Fermentation Creation was founded by two friends with the desire to bring the American agricultural spirit back into homes across America. Jon Lusby and Greg Griffith family histories of hardship, farming, and survival drove them to working in sustainable farms and sharing their passion for food consciousness with others. You can learn more about their great histories by clicking here.

Jon Lusby, owner, teaching people about Fermentation Creation.
The beginnings of a sauerkraut ferment.

This desire helped Jon and Greg develop small batch pickling and fermenting kits. Thus Fermentation Creation was born. These kits help introduce people to the world of pickled and fermented foods that are pack with probiotics. They also allow people to continue the adventure of home canning and fermenting without overwhelming yields.

We carry two of their kits in our store. The lid kits include one specialized Ball mason jar lid, one rubber seal, one 3-piece airlock device, one 2-ounce bottle of Real Salt, and one instructions card with 4 included recipe cards. The full kit also includes a half-gallon Ball mason jar, rubber cork for airlock seal and an instructions/recipe booklet.

These kits are the perfect solution for making small batches of your favorite home pickled foods. You can follow the great recipes included or look elsewhere for additional recipes. The possibilities of fermented foods are endless!

Let's Go, Visco!

An important thing to remember when fermenting is to keep all produce under its brine. But how can one possibly accomplish that? Let me introduce you to ViscoDisc.

The ViscoDisc insert is a universal tool that is great for small-batch pickling and fermenting and canning. It was developed to prevent produce from protruding above their syrups and brines. Simply insert the sterilized ViscoDisc insert into the top of your packed jars with the ViscoDisc inserter. Fruits and vegetables are held under their liquids for perfectly preserved produce every time.

ViscoDisc installation steps.
ViscoDisc fully installed.

When canning, remove the ViscoDisc insert with a fork. Bottle should not be processed in hot temperatures with the ViscoDisc inside. This great tool will ensure that you have enough head space when processing in both waterbath and pressure canning.

When pickling and fermenting, go ahead and leave the inserts in the bottles! This will hold produce under it's brine and prevent it from coming into contact with the mold that could grow on top of your yield. Don't worry about the food under the surface. Simply scrape off that top layer and the food inside will be perfectly preserved and safe to eat. 

Shop Smith & Edwards online for the ViscoDisc Wide Mouth and Regular Mouth inserts. Buy a 2-pack of the ViscoDisc Inserter with wide and regular sizes included.

ViscoDisc Inserts.

For additional questions you might have about preserving foods and proper technique, check out the USU Extension Office! They have all the know-how you need to be confident and safe.

Fulfill Your Canning Needs Right Here

The world of home preserving is always changing. We will be with you every step of the way with the newest brands and hottest trends. Get all of your canning and fermenting essentials right here, at Smith and Edwards. We are sure to have everything you need, if we can find it!

Pickling & Fermenting Crocks Frequently Asked Questions

Fermentation and Pickling Crocks Questions & Answers

- posted by EmmaLee Woodland

At some point in your life, you've probably had fresh, homemade pickles - maybe even homemade sauerkraut or kimchi. You might even have a few seasons of pickling and fermenting under your belt. Yet, I would venture to bet that, no matter where you are in your journey, you have a few questions about pickling crocks.

We've carried made-in-Ohio, USA stoneware pickling crocks for several years (click to see them online!) here at Smith & Edwards, and here are some questions our customers have asked us over the decades. We've found answers from experts including Ohio Stoneware and Utah State University's Extension Office.

Three gallon pickling crock set: crock, lid, and weights

Have a pickling crock question you don't see answered here? Leave a comment below and we'll track down an answer for you!

Pickling Crock Questions about Getting Started

What do I need to get started?

You need a pickling crock with a set of weights and a lid. Whether you buy a pickling or fermentation crock is up to you. There are many brands to choose from, but our favorite here at Smith and Edwards is the Ohio Stoneware crocks.

Once you have your basic kit assembled, all you need is a few of your favorite recipes. Then you're ready to start making delicious, fresh pickles.

You can also try pickling other vegetables, or even try your hand at fermenting!

Find out more tips about getting started with pickling crocks, and a FREE recipe, here.

Are crock lids and weights necessary, or are there "pickling hacks"?

These items are necessary. Pickling weights hold your produce under the brine. Pickling crock lids keep excess air & contaminants from reaching your pickles.

However, you can use some shortcuts. Instead of weights, you could use a plate weighted down with bricks. Also, if you have a plate large enough, you could use that as a lid.

Crock weights are designed & sized specifically for your individual crock, so I recommend them - but you can get by without them.

Pickling & Fermentation crock lids and weights

How do I care for my pickling crock?

It's quite simple, really. Your crock needs only to be washed with soap and water. The goal is to get rid of anything that would cause bacteria to form in your crock. So a little bit of hot water and soap will do just the trick. Here are some more questions we get about cleaning pickling crocks.

Should I wash my crock by hand, or in the dishwasher?

Most pickling crocks, like the Ohio Stoneware crocks, have been treated with a special glaze that has been specially formulated to withstand the power of your dishwasher. But - due to their sheer size and majesty, your pickling crocks might not fit in your dishwasher!

If your 1-gallon or 2-gallon pickling crock fits, you can rest easy knowing that you won't hurt your crock by putting it in the dishwasher. But handwashing is a good bet.

What type of scrubber is best?

Most scrubbers will work great with your crock. You're not likely to ruin the glaze. Still, Ohio Stoneware recommends that you don't use anything too abrasive. Steer clear of metal scrubbing tools.

Don't use these abrasive cleaners on your ceramic pickling crock!

The traditional, little green scrubbing pads that you can find in most cleaning aisles (or on our center bargain tables here at Smith and Edwards) are the perfect tool for doing the job. Any other plastic-bristled scrubbers or foam sponges, even our favorite Scrub Daddy scrubbers, will work great on your pickling crocks!

Use the Scrub Daddy or any foam, sponge, or plastic-bristle scrubbers on your pickling crocks

Is it safe to pour scalding-hot water in my crock?

Your pickling crock has been coated with some kind of glaze and was heated, or fired, in a kiln. Temperatures inside of an industrial kiln, which is like a giant oven, can reach up to 2500°F. So, a little bit of scalding hot water isn't going to hurt your crock.

Something I would suggest would be to avoid pouring boiling hot water into your crock when the crock is extremely cold.

Have you ever seen what happens to glass when it is super-heated and then cooled too quickly? You get really cool cracks in the glass making it look like crystal! That's not something that you want to have happen to your pickling crock.

Can I still use a cracked crock? How about if the glaze is cracked?

If the crack is deep enough that the clay of the crock is exposed, it is recommended that you invest in a new crock. It would be impossible to guarantee that an older crock was made with lead-free clay and health and safety should be your number one concern when pickling and fermenting.

However, if you notice that your glaze is cracked but the clay is not exposed, you should be okay to continue using your crock. Be sure and check with the manufacturer if you have questions about the composition of your crock.

Chips in the rim aren't an issue at all.

More Pickling Crock Questions

Does the color of the interior of my crock have any special meaning?

Pickling crocks have been manufactured in this fashion for many years now. That's just the way it is! Your crock's color won't affect your produce in any way.

This one gallon pickling crock has a natural interior, while the three gallon crock has a chocolate-brown interior

This one gallon pickling crock has a natural interior, while the three gallon crock has a chocolate-brown interior

 

Will salt seep through the sides of my crock?

Salt should not seep through your crock. If this is happening, the crock's glaze or walls have been damaged in some way, and it is now time to invest in a new crock.

Also, the denser the clay and more vitrified a crock is, will affect this undesirable occurrence.

Why is the rim of my crock unglazed?

There needs to be a seam between two different colors. This is known as a parting seam. The manufacturer removes the glaze from the rim, because it would just look unattractive. That is, again, how crocks are traditionally made.

What is the difference between pickling crocks and fermentation crocks?

Trick question! These crocks are used for the same things, and really should be named differently. You can pickle and ferment in either an open-top (pickling) crock or a water-seal (fermentation) crock. Let's take a quick look at the Ohio Stoneware crocks.

Three gallon pickling crock vs Three gallon fermentation crock

Here's a side-by-side comparison: on the left is an open-top crock, and on the right, a water-seal crock. They're commonly called a pickling crock (L) and a fermentation crock (R).

Open-top crocks made by Ohio Stoneware are sturdier and denser. This is because of the form that the crocks are made from. Ohio Stoneware presses these crocks in a metal mold with a hydraulic press.

The water-seal crock is a poured form, so it isn't as dense. Also, the handles aren't a functional difference - they are just decorative.

Whether you buy an open-top crock or a water-seal fermentation crock is really just dependent on your personal preferences.

Here's a look at the "moat" in a fermentation crock, or water seal crock.Why does this crock have a "moat" around the opening?

Europeans have traditionally used water-seal crocks in fermenting. Americans typically ferment in open-top crocks. There is generally more attention needed for the water-seal crocks, because you have to make sure that the moat stays full of water.

If the water in the moat evaporates, oxygen and other particles will be able to get into your brine solution. This can cause problems, including slimy and soft pickles, cloudy brine, bloom, or other bacteria growth.

You must also continuously check for bloom, which is the bubbles on top of the weights. You must skim the bloom off the brine every 2-3 days to ensure that your pickles turn out perfectly.

Questions about the Fermentation Process

How do I know when my pickles & fermented foods are ready?

Follow your recipe, or even do some taste-testing. Really, that's OK! Taste-testing helps you know how much longer to ferment or pickle.

Generally, the longer you pickle something, the stronger the taste. Just keep an eye on things.

Can I ever re-use my brine? What about with pickled eggs?

No, you cannot. Even with pickled eggs! It is always best to start at the beginning for the best-tasting and safest pickles.

What types of salt should I use? Are there different salts for different applications?

Use a pickling or canning salt. These salts are cleaner and have no additives, which can affect the quality of your brine and produce. In all of your pickling and canning, use a salt made specifically for these purposes.
Everything you need for making pickles at home - you can find it all at Smith & Edwards!

Do I have to be exact on the amount of salt and produce?

Yes. You need to go-to a good source for the ratio. Follow your recipe.

What temperature do I need to keep my brine?

The ideal temperature range for pickling is between 68° F and 74° F. If you are not in that range, you can run into lots of problems:

If your solution is too hot, this can cause soft and slimy pickles. If your climate is fairly warm, then you need to pay more attention to your pickles. You may need to change out the brine more frequently and there is more "pickle-sitting" involved.

If your solution is too cold, it takes a longer time for the fermentation process to take place. This can mean cloudiness in your brine and a poorer-quality pickle.
You'll be good to go with these pickling crock tips!

teresa-hunsaker-usu-extension

What's next?

The best step is to either start or continue pickling!

Whether you’re a seasoned pickling veteran, or just starting out, we are sure you'll have more questions. Just remember the best resources you have in your pickling adventures.

You can contact your manufacturer for any questions that you have regarding workmanship, materials, and care. Any additional questions you have about pickling and fermenting can be answered by contacting your local Extension office. The Utah State University Extension office is always happy to answer any questions you have about pickling and fermenting and many other types of food preservation and safety as well.

Call the local expert on all things canning and fermenting, Teresa Hunsaker with the USU Extension Service, at 801-399-8200. Or email her at teresa.hunsaker (at) usu.edu.

Remember to stay safe and informed for the best pickles and cleanest crocks in town. Happy pickling!

How to make dried apricots & apricot freezer jam

How to Make Dried Apricots & Apricot Jam

- posted by Rose Marion

What do you do with a couple pounds of fresh Utah apricots?

Some of the best ways to preserve that fresh, tangy sweetness are dehydrating apricots and turning them into apricot freezer jam.

Maggie & Hannah are 10-year-old friends, cousins, and daughters of Smith & Edwards employees. They gave it a shot! Here's how they did - and if they can do it, YOU & your kids can, too!

Maggie & Hannah about to make apricot jam and dehydrated apricots

Making Dried Apricots

You'll need:

  1. Wash and dry the apricots. Then, cut the apricots in half. Lastly, separate the halves, and pull out the pit.
    Dehydrating Apricots: Pitting
  2. Now arrange the apricots on your dehydrator screens. You can actually place them closer together than this, because they'll shrink as they dry.
    Dehydrating apricots: placing the halves on the dehydrator screen
  3. Let them dry according to your dehydrator's instructions. This batch only took Maggie & Hannah about 1 hour.
    Maggie making dried apricots

Making Apricot Freezer Jam

We used:

  1. Cut and discard the apricot pits, then mash the apricots.
    Making apricot freezer jam: mashing the apricots
  2. Add sugar, lemon juice, and the Freezer Jam fruit pectin, according to the package directions.
    Making apricot freezer jam: adding sugar and lemon juice
    Making apricot freezer jam: adding pectin
  3. Stir, then ladle the apricot jam into freezer jam jars.
    Making apricot freezer jam: ladling into freezer jars
  4. This apricot freezer jam will keep in the fridge up to 3 weeks, or in the freezer up to a year!
    Maggie & Hannah making dehydrated apricots & freezer jamTheir grandmother has a secret about adding crushed pineapple to the recipe. Try it out and see what you like!

Your Turn!

What's happening in your kitchen? We love to see pictures of what you're making! Leave a comment, tag us on Facebook or Instagram, or send us an email.

How to Freeze Beets

How to Freeze Beets

- posted by Rose Marion

Beets are a yummy vegetable packed with nutrients like manganese, potassium, copper, magnesium, vitamin C, iron, and vitamin B6. They're a delicious Utah summer crop, and you can freeze beets to enjoy them year-round.

Our produce experts Vickie Maughan, our Housewares manager, and Jean from Pettingill's Fruit Farm, teamed up to freeze beets last week and here's how they did it.

You'll need:

  • Disposable gloves
  • Kitchen knife
  • Pot of water
  • Ziploc freezer bags

How to Freeze Beets

  1. Put on your gloves!
  2. Wash the fresh beets and cut of the beet greens, leaving 1" of beet green stems. Don't remove the tails or beet green stems, because if you cut them off, the beets will bleed out and lose their color.
  3. Boil the beets in a pot of water until tender. Then, set aside and let them cool off.

    Boiling the beets with their stems & tails on will keep the rich purple-red color from bleeding out!

    Boiling the beets with their stems & tails on will keep the rich purple-red color from bleeding out!

  4. Peel the beets. You don't need a tool: you can massage the beet skin, tail, & beet green stems and they'll fall off the beet in your fingers.
    Rinsing and peeling the beets
    Whole peeled beets, ready to slice and freeze
  5. Slice, dice, cube, quarter, or halve the beets any way you'd like. We love mandolines for slicing vegetables!
    Slicing peeled beets
    Chopped beets ready to freeze
  6. Put in a freezer Ziploc baggie with as many servings as you'll want.
    Putting fresh cooked beets in freezer bags
    You can freeze them individually like cherries (click here), or if your family loves beets, you can freeze them all together.
    Beets ready to freeze
    Tip: Flatten the bag when you put it in the freezer so they stack nicely and will thaw evenly.

This winter, you can take the bag out to enjoy garden-fresh beets at the peak of their flavor. Microwave or lightly simmer them in a covered pan with butter, when your family's ready to eat!

If you liked this, you will LOVE our other frozen food storage tips! Make sure you check out How to Freeze Cherries and How to Freeze Corn.

How to freeze cherries

How to Freeze Cherries

- posted by Rose Marion

Here in northern Utah we're lucky to get large yields of cherries in late June & early July! While there's no end to what you can do with fresh cherries - cobbler being my favorite! - freezing cherries is a wonderful use for these short-seasoned juicy treats!

Freezing cherries will let you taste that sweetness even in January. Plus, you can use these for your shakes & smoothies.

Vickie, our Housewares manager, and Jean from Pettingill's Fruit Farm, got together to show me how to freeze my own cherries. Take a look!

You'll need:

How to Freeze Cherries

  1. Wash the cherries and remove their stems. Tip: use a colander!
    Washing cherries and removing the stems
  2. Pit the cherries. Jean & Vickie like using the OXO cherry pitter, and collecting the pits in an extra jar or measuring cup.
    Pitting cherries with a cherry pitter - and GLOVES!
    Cherry pits go in an extra jar!
  3. Place the pitted cherries on the cookie sheet.
    Cherries on the cookie sheet, ready to freeze
  4. Secret Tip: Double decker your cherries! Place short drink cups or tupperware on the cookie sheet and place it in the freezer. Then, fill another cookie sheet with cherries and place it on top of the cups to freeze twice as many cherries!
    getting-ready-to-freeze-cherries freezing-cherries-in-layers
  5. Let the cherries freeze overnight.

    Freezing cherries in a chest freezer

    A chest freezer is GREAT for freezing cherries...

  6. The next day, take a spatula and release the bottoms of the cherries from the cookie sheet.
  7. Gather the cherries and place them in freezer Ziploc bags. Quart, gallon - your choice!
    Frozen & bagged cherries

Questions we get asked about Freezing Cherries

Q: Is it messy?

YES! Wear surgical gloves so it doesn't stain your hands, and wear a work shirt.

Cherry pitting stains & gloves

Pitting cherries is messy business! Wear gloves.

Q: Why not freeze them in bags from the get-go?

By freezing them individually first, they don't get stuck to each other. Then after you put them in the bag, they break apart easily.

Q: What can you do with frozen cherries?

Vickie LOVES to make smoothies with frozen cherries. YUM!

Eat these fresh-picked as a treat when the snow's flying in January, just like you were eating it fresh in July!!

Do you have more questions for us? Leave a comment & let us know!

 

If you liked this, you will LOVE our other frozen food storage tips! Make sure you check out How to Freeze Beets and How to Freeze Corn.

Looking for more food preserving, dehydrating, or canning supplies? Click here to see canning supplies on our online store!

About Cox Honeyland found at Smith and Edwards

Why We LOVE Honey: Cox Honeyland!

- posted by Jerica Parker

The Cox family has been in the honey business for over 100 years.Henderson and Marion Cox started in the bee industry in St. George, Utah. Since then, the family has carried the tradition of bee keeping and honey production, and in 1989, Cox Honeyland opened for business. Now, the fourth generation of family is running the business in Logan, Utah, with more things than just honey, including lotions and other food items.

Here at Smith & Edwards, we have proudly carried Cox Honeyland for the past 20 years.

Honey has so many benefits!

Besides being all natural, healthy, yummy and sweet, it makes a great food storage item!

On top of that, there are other cosmetic uses that not many know about.

What's even better? Finding honey that is harvested locally!

Cox Honeyland 12-ounce Honey Bear

Why is local honey better?

We love the local Cache County honey from Cox Honeyland.

Have you ever had honey that tastes or looks a little different than other jars? Honey bees fly as much as 55,000 miles within a 5 mile radius, all the while collecting nectar from flowers. The nectar gathered from a specific region will give the honey produced a slightly different taste and color. Cox Honeyland honey has three different honey varieties: Clover-alfalfa (lighter color and mild taste), Cache Valley (darker with more flavor), and Mountain Snowberry (mountain wildflower flavor).

So wherever you get your honey from, it will be slightly different than honey from another place.

Fight those allergies!

A benefit of getting local honey is that it is said to help boost immunity for seasonal allergies. Naturally made, honey is healthy for you.

Tip: Have a sore throat? Mix honey with a spoonful of lemon juice in a mug filled with steaming hot water to soothe your throat and relieve congestion.

Pure and Healthy

You can tell honey is pure when it crystalizes. That means that there are no preservatives added to the honey. The great thing is that honey never expires! (Which makes it great as a food storage item!) When it does crystalize, simply place the jar in a pan of warmed water and it will soften back to its smooth texture.

What else?

Honey is great for various different uses, some can be surprising! As a natural sweetener, honey makes a great substitute in recipes for sugar. Using this replacement in some recipes reduces up to half of the sugar a recipHoney massage bars made by Cox Honeyville e calls for.

Cox Honeyland has recipes using honey - Click here to see them!

Honey also has cosmetic benefits. "My dad would have us wash our faces with crystalized honey as kids. When honey crystalizes, it makes a great natural exfoliator", Maleesa with Cox Honeyland told me. You can also use the beeswax to make your own lip balms, lotions, massage bars, and more.

Now that you know why we love honey so much, it's time to get your own! Whether it's for your food storage, cosmetic benefits, or just to enjoy now, local honey is the best!

Click here to shop Local Honey

Six Steps to Home-Canned Applesauce!

How to Can Applesauce in 6 Easy Steps!

- posted by Jerica Parker

Fall is here! The leaves are falling, the wind is cooler, and it’s time to get ready for winter. One of my favorite ways is by storing all the delicious food we have enjoyed in the summer, so we can have it in the winter as well.

Vickie Maughan, our canning and housewares department manager, shared with us her great recipe for making canned applesauce at home. And we want to share it with you!

The perk of this recipe, is you can eat it right away, storing leftovers in the fridge - and you can also can the applesauce to enjoy in the winter. Her tips and tricks are right here in 6 easy steps:

How to Can Applesauce

  1. Start by washing your apples. Peel them, and then slice them. Vickie used a peeler machine to take off the peel and slice them. Get your own peeler here!IMG_2032
  2. Cook the apples in 3/4 cup of water on medium heat. When they reach a boil, lower the heat and steam them until the apples are tender.IMG_2036IMG_2039
  3. Then, using an immersion blender, blend up the apples until it reaches your desired consistency of applesauce.IMG_2042

If you want to enjoy it right away, finish up by sweetening and seasoning however you like it. If you would like to continue to can and store for food storage, continue with the next steps.

  1. When you have reached desired consistency, sweeten and season to how you like.
  2. Next, fill the jars. Using a funnel is so helpful for easy cleanup! Wipe clean to avoid problems with sealing the lids.IMG_0436.JPG
  3. Tighten lids and place jars in pot with water just above the level of the jars. Bring to a boil for 20 minutes. Careful! When you take out the jars, they will be very hot. Use a good jar lifter to protect your hands.IMG_0440.JPGIMG_0444.JPG

And voilà! Delicious applesauce to enjoy and share with your family and friends.

But you better hurry! You have just under 2 weeks left in apple season to get your apples for delicious applesauce. Stop at Pettingill’s and get your apples soon! They are closing for the season on Halloween, October 31.

Make sure to like Pettingill’s Fruit Farm on Facebook, and then take a peek at when we stopped in to Pettingill’s in August.

Explore Canning & Dehydrating supplies at Smith & Edwards!

How to Freeze Corn

How to Freeze Corn - Plus Easy Corn-Cutting Method!

- posted by Jerica Parker

What do you do with all that left-over corn you made for dinner? Throw it out? Stick it in the fridge, forget about it, and then throw it out? Not anymore!

With this easy video & guide, you don't need to let the words "canning" or "food storage" intimidate you. Melissa in our Housewares department will walk you through the steps.

Easy Frozen Corn Storage: Watch How!

Now, this is something I have done with my family since I was a little girl. We have our own garden and we love corn. So when it is corn season, we all get together to freeze our own corn for storage. It's so simple and the corn comes out with that same fresh-from-the-garden taste.

How To Freeze Corn in 6 Steps

Here are some quick and easy steps for freezing your corn:

    1. First, shuck the corn.
      Shucking means to take off the husk and the silk hairs. As Melissa shows in the video, one easy method is to hold the corn between your knees and pull the husk toward your body.
      Shucked corn
    2. Wash the ears of corn and remove any remaining silk.

Washing corn before boiling

    1. Blanch (or boil) the corn in boiling water for about 6 minutes.
      The reason behind blanching the corn, is to stop the enzymes that can make the corn taste bad later. Cooking it first helps preserve the flavor when you want to eat it later on.
    2. After blanching, take a pair of tongs and place the corn in ice water to slightly cool them off, just until they're cool enough to handle.

Resting the corn in an ice bath

    1. Cut the corn off the cob. Now, this part is optional. If you like, you can freeze them whole, on-the-cob. After step 4, you would wrap them in plastic wrap and then put those in freezer bags to freeze.
      But if you like, you can take a knife and cut the kernels off the cob to freeze. In my family, we have always cut the corn off. It's your choice!

TIP: To cut the corn off the cob, you can put them in the center of a Bundt pan. This will hold them as you cut off the corn and it will fall right into the pan.

Also, simply a board with nails pounded through (about 5" apart) can hold the cob while you cut.

To make a nailboard, simply take an extra shelf or spare board. Paint it, then hammer a 4" nail through it. Then you can simply set each ear of corn on the nail, and safely cut the corn.

To make a nailboard, simply take an extra shelf or spare board. Paint it, then hammer a 4" nail through it. Then you can simply set each ear of corn on the nail, and safely cut the corn.

  1. Now, simply scoop the kernels you just cut off into freezer bags.
    You can put 1 1/2 to 2 cups in a bag, depending on how big you want your portion sizes to be when you eat them. When the bags are flattened to about 1/2 - 1 inch thick, you can stack them nicely in your freezer to make the best use of freezer space.

More Tips on the Freezing Process

  • 11 1/2 dozen large ears of corn should give you about 58 cups of corn to freeze.
  • Vickie, Kitchen Dept. Manager at Smith and Edwards, says to lay the bag with corn flat as you zip it up. When you have about an inch left to zip, squeeze the air out. "If it has air in it in the freezer, it is more likely to get freezer burn," she says.
  • Melissa has another idea on how to get the air out. She says when you have the full bag, you can slowly lower it into a lot of water, just until it reaches the zipper line. The water on the outside of the bag helps push the water out and you can seal it while still partly in the water.
  • Don't put too many bags in the freezer at once! If you put a lot of warm things in the freezer, it may begin to thaw out your other frozen foods. But if you put in just a few at a time until they're frozen, they will freeze faster and won't thaw any of your other food.

Now you have corn to eat for the next few months! It's a great and easy way to start up your own food storage without the complicated recipes or big pressure cookers.

Get a FREE Printable: How to Freeze Peaches

Get a free step-by-step on freezing peaches - plus a printable version of the freeze-corn instructions! Just enter your email address and you'll get the printable instantly.

    • Your Name
    • Your Email Address


We would love to hear back from you! If this worked for you, or if you have any other tips or secrets to help others in starting their canning & food preserving, please leave a comment below.

Check out Canning and Cooking supplies online!

How to freeze corn in 6 easy steps!

If you liked this, you will LOVE our other frozen food storage tips! Make sure you check out How to Freeze Beets and How to Freeze Cherries.

How to use a Pickling Crock

How to use a Pickling Crock: the Art & Science

- posted by Rose Marion
Teresa with USU Extension service

Teresa with USU Extension service helped answer some common fermenting & pickling questions for us!

When people think of pickles, large quart jars of olive-colored pickles come to mind. But there's another way to make pickles that takes a lot less heat, a lot more time, and some say, yields a lot tastier results:

Fermenting Pickles and Vegetables

When you make pickles in a traditional pickling crock, in some ways it's much less work: simply prepare your pickles, load them in the crock according to the recipe, and give them a few weeks.

This yields crisp, crunchy, delicious pickles!

And you can make sauerkraut and more fermented dishes the same way.

Our favorite brand of stoneware pickling crocks are the Ohio Stoneware line (click to shop), which is make in the USA in Zanesville, Ohio. And when you order yours from Smith & Edwards, we guarantee they arrive in perfect condition!

We carry lids, weights and pickling crocks in a huge range of sizes, as well as the very-popular 3-gallon fermentation set.

What size Pickling Crock do I need?

The US Department of Agriculture recommends a 1 gallon container for each 5 pounds of fresh vegetables. So a 5-gallon stone crock is an ideal size for fermenting about 25 pounds of fresh cabbage or cucumbers, according to the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning.

Cucumbers and cabbage must be kept 1-2 inches under brine while fermenting, so weights can be instrumental.

Make sure to wash your crock, weights, and lid with hot soapy water, and rinse them well with very hot water, before adding your vegetables.

Ohio Stoneware crocks at Smith & Edwards

You can get a pickling crock for any size project - from one to five gallons - and the weights & lids to match.

Why & How to use a Pickling Crock

We were lucky to have Teresa Hunsaker from the USU Extension Service here at Smith & Edwards this summer to check pressure canner lids, as well as give tips on the fermenting process. Fermenting is only growing in popularity as people return to the traditional method, as well as gain interest in probiotics and the health benefits of fermented foods for the digestive system.

Read on for common fermenting mistakes, how to process your vegetables after fermenting them, and a fermented Dill Pickle Recipe!

Pickling Crock Common Mistakes

One of the common problems Teresa sees has to do with salt: especially people not using enough salt.

Salt is hugely important with shredded vegetables and pickles: otherwise, the brine goes scummy and your lovely batch of pickles or sauerkraut is lost. It's so important to use the right salt ratio!

Use your standard pickling salt: you can use both iodized and noniodized table salt. Noncaking materials added to table salts may make your brine cloudy. USDA advises against flake salt because it varies in density. Reduced-sodium salts may be used in quick pickle recipes; this may give your pickles a slightly different taste than expected. But, reduced-sodium salt is not recommended for fermented pickles.

Layer your vegetables, then salt, then vegetables, then salt: this is especially important with cabbage.

Another mistake Teresa sees is not having your crock at the right temperature. Some people will store their pickles in the basement as they ferment, or in a room that gets too hot.

The temperature should be between 68-74 degrees. That's because if it's too hot, it will process too fast and produce scummy brine. Too cold, and the process will take too long.

The traditional way to make kimchi is actually to bury the fermentation pot in the ground, to keep the temperature constant!

Fermenting is both an art and a science!

How Long does Fermenting Take?

The length of time needed for your batch of pickles or sauerkraut depends on your recipe. It takes about 3 weeks for sauerkraut, and there's a good recipe out there for 21-day pickles.

Follow your recipe exactly, including changing out the brine: with the 21-day pickles, you need to change the brine every few days.

OK, they're done... Now what?

You can can your sauerkraut or pickles after they're done: just process them. For sweet pickles, it just takes 15 minutes; for whole dills, about 25 minutes does the trick at this altitude.
Or, you can waterbath them - check your local recommendations and keep them under 185°.

But you don't HAVE to can them at all. Your crock pickles can hold in the fridge for weeks!

Ohio Stoneware Fermentation Crock

This 3-gallon fermentation crock features a channel for the lid to rest in, and comes with matching weights.

What's the difference between pickling crocks and fermentation crocks?

Either style works well.

The fermentation style is designed for keeping the vegetables down better, and it features vents. You do want some air circulation to temper the temperature.

Dill Pickles Recipe for Pickling Crocks

Use the following quantities for each gallon capacity of your container.

  • 4 lbs of 4-inch pickling cucumbers
  • 2 tbsp dill seed or 4 to 5 heads fresh or dry dill weed
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (5%)
  • 8 cups water and one of more of the following ingredients:
    • 2 cloves garlic (optional)
    • 2 dried red peppers (optional)
    • 2 tsp whole mixed pickling spices (optional)

Procedure: Wash cucumbers. Cut 1/16 inch slice off blossom end and discard. Leave 1/4-inch of stem attached. Place half of dill and spices on bottom of a clean, suitable container. Add cucumbers, remaining dill, and spices. Dissolve salt in vinegar and water and pour over cucumbers. Add suitable cover and weight. Store where temperature is between 70° and 75° F for about 3 to 4 weeks while fermenting. Temperatures of 55° to 65° F are acceptable, but the fermentation will take 5 to 6 weeks. Avoid temperatures above 80° F, or pickles will become too soft during fermentation. Fermenting pickles cure slowly. Check the container several times a week and promptly remove surface scum or mold. Caution: If the pickles become soft, slimy, or develop a disagreeable odor, discard them. Fully fermented pickles may be stored in the original container for about 4 to 6 months, provided they are refrigerated and surface scum and molds are removed regularly. Canning fully fermented pickles is a better way to store them. To can them, pour the brine into a pan, heat slowly to a boil, and simmer 5 minutes. Filter brine through paper coffee filters to reduce cloudiness, if desired. Fill hot jar with pickles and hot brine, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel. Adjust lids and process as below, or use the low temperature pasteurization treatment.

- recipe from USDA's Complete Guide to Home Canning, Guide 6: Fermented Foods and Pickled Vegetables

Want to learn how to make sauerkraut in a fermentation crock? Enter your email address to get access to a free printable Fermented Sauerkraut recipe!

Explore Pickling Crocks...

Smith & Edwards Pickling Crocks

Mason Jar Herb Shakers are a great way to use your dried herbs year-round!

Have Herbs? Dry & Preserve in Mason Jar Herb Shakers!

- posted by Rebecca Adams

The best part of having your own garden is harvesting your own vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Drying herbs is simple, and with your own herb garden you can have the comfort of fresh and organic herbs and spices at your fingertips.

When to get ready

The early summer months of May and June is the best time to head over to your local nursery, and you can find an abundant supply of different herbs and spices to choose from. Some popular choices that do really well in the ground as well as in raised beds, are cilantro, thyme, basil, and chives.
Thyme growing

How to Pick and Dry Herbs

The process is easy: harvest the herbs before they flower and the best time is early morning before the sun hits them.  Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to finish the process, because it's best if you start to prep your herbs for drying when you first pick them.

Make sure you wash gently and drain excess water, then tie a rubber band around the bottom with the herbs leaves facing down. Then hang in a moisture free area. It's that simple!
Bundle of thyme drying

If you prefer, place the herbs on a mesh screen in a food dehydrator and let it run. This is a great method for parsley and chives: Cut the herbs with kitchen scissors, then let dry on a screen tray.

Kitchen Scissors - Ball Herb 5 Blade Scissors
My favorite part is crushing the herbs with a mortar and pestle!
Thyme in mortar & pestle

Store your Herbs in Mason Jar Shakers

Ball brand Mason Jar herb shaker caps

I love these Ball Mason jar herb shaker caps - so useful and super-affordable!

I love these shaker lids for regular Mason jars that you can personalize and put your homegrown spices and herbs in! They work great for pretty jam & jelly jars as well as the pint & a half size Mason jars. You can even work on your biggest regular-mouth Mason jars.

They have nice big holes so you can shake out sprinkles and sugar spots as well as your favorite herbs and spices. Even mini chocolate chips! Mmm!

Add a label and you're set!

See more Mason Jar lids & drinking mugs here. Click here to see Canning jars, too.

Thyme in a Mason Jar herb shaker

Put a label on your herb shaker and you're set!

Help Us Grow! Share this tip on Pinterest!

Check out how to turn your summer herbs into cute shakers!