Friday, August 21, 2015

Intro to Fermented Veggies with Stephanie Zydenbos-Heino, Ferminista & Owner of Micro Mama's


by Jaimie Jusczyk, Marketing Specialist
At our Intro to Fermented Veggies class with Stephanie Zydenbos-Heino, Ferminista & Owner of Micro Mama's, Stephanie shared her tricks on how to make amazing, health-promoting lacto-fermented veggies that are loaded with beneficial bacteria! She showed us how to make a great kraut with nothing but cabbage and salt and gave us ideas on how to zip things up with different veggies and spices. In this hands on workshop, we all took home a mason jar to finish fermenting.
It really was a hands on class as Stephanie had everyone give their hands a good wash with hot water (apparently soap can contaminate your fermented veggies and they will pick up the taste of soap, yech!) and start prepping carrots and cabbage. We used peeled and cut carrots to weigh down the cabbage, these were picked from the organic Shaker Gardens by Co-op Organic Garden Manager Stacey.
Then we had to shred or slice the cabbage. Stephanie brought in her mandolin slicer to help speed the process along while others sliced and diced with knives.
Once the cabbage was all shredded Stephanie showed us how to "massage" the cabbage with a high quality salt from high altitudes.
Next she started to massage the cabbage and slowly add salt. When she started to massage the shredded cabbage with salt it began to get very watery and bubbly, perfect to start the fermenting process.
There really wasn't much more to it besides making sure the ratio of salt to cabbage was ok for the temperature that the jars will be stored.
So after the cabbage was well massaged it was time to start packing in into jars. Stephanie suggests using glass jars as there is less risk of anything leaking into your fermented veggies, unlike plastic jars. She did recommend using a plastic lid as the ph level of the fermented veggies can rust the metal lids affecting the taste and quality of your finished product. The reason Stephanies products in the store have metal lids is that she fermented her veggies is large ceramic or glass jars and then repacks into the smaller jars for retail. There is less time and risk that these lids will rust.
I guess this was time for the fun and messy part as we grabbed handfuls of cabbage and pushed it in tight, trying to get all the air out to avoid our jars overflowing during storage. The tighter we packed it down the cloudier the mixture looked as more and more juices started to bubble within and this is totally normal, Stephanie assured us.
So once we had packed the cabbage in tight, we pushed in carrots to help keep the cabbage under the liquid. The carrots will also ferment and be delicious when we are ready to open our jars!
It is a relatively messy process, but very rewarding when after a minimum of 7 days you could open your jar to enjoy, but Stephanie suggested waiting 30 days to let more of the good probiotics grow and give you the best bang for your buck!

If you are interested in upcoming Co-op health and wellness classes, check out our website... http://concordfoodcoop.coop/classes/

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Making Wild Blueberry Jam with Alice Mullen, MS, RD, LD, UNH Cooperative Extension Specialist

by Jaimie Jusczyk, Co-op Marketing Specialist

The Co-op is a great resource for low-cost and free wellness and food education classes. Last night the Co-op hosted a small group for a hands-on class "Home Canning & Preserving Your Harvest: The Basics of Preserving Food Safely" with Alice Mullen, MS, RD, LD, UNH Cooperative Extension Specialist.
Alice gave us a great introduction explaining the importance of following USDA tested recipes for safety and also great taste! So once we all understood the process and chemistry to creating blueberry jam we got to roll-up our sleeves, wash our hands and start cooking!
Alice had picked for us some delicious wild blueberries near Newfound Lake. So the first step was to mash them up. This was really easy, we just used a potato masher in a big pot and did it in small batches.
Then we stirred in the sugar and freshly squeezed lemon juice before placing the pot on the stove top on a medium heat. We took a few turns stirring continuously to make sure the mixture doesn't burn until it started to boil and expand.
Once it had boiled for one minute we added the pectin to speed the process along. You can make jam without pectin but you will need to boil it a lot longer. Once the mixture came back to a boil it was another minute then off the stove and start to place it in the jars we had prepared.
To prepare the jars we boiled them in the canning pot and placed the new lids in a pot of warm water to help soften the rubber gasket so they will seal completely.
Then the fun part begins, scooping our jam into the jars! Alice explained to leave a 1/4 inch head space for the best results and to also wipe clean the top of the jar before placing the lids down to create a tight seal.
To create the seal the jars go back into the canning pot with at least an inch of water covering the top, brought back to the boil and then wait five minutes. Once it has boiled for five minutes Alice suggested we wait another five minutes to let the water and the jam in the jars settle as they cool then take them out of the pot.
We carefully removed the jars and placed them on a terry towel to cool down. As we finished up we could hear the seals "popping" and we knew we had a successful class! Making jam is easy and rewarding! We all got to take a jar or two home with us to enjoy. I can't wait to get some fresh local bread and open my jar!

The recipe we used:
  • 4-1/2 cups mashed berries (buy or pick about 6 cups blueberries)
Bring to full rolling boil on high heat; cook 1 min., stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Immediately stir in liquid pectin. Stir and skim foam for 5 min. to prevent fruit from floating to surface.
Pour immediately into warm sterilized jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of rims. Cover with lids. Let stand at room temperature 24 hours or until set.

To read more about classes at Concord Food Co-op or to register, click here!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Canterbury Shaker Village Auction Dinner

by Jaimie Jusczyk, marketing Specialist

Last Wednesday night the Co-op had the pleasure of catering the Canterbury Shaker Village Dinner and Auction, one of the Villages biggest fundraisers of the year. The Village has a huge and urgent goal of raising over $96,000 to pay for a fire suppression system to protect the Village. While the Village received grants to cover a huge chunk of this amount they still need the support of private citizens, so the organizing of a charity auction. Their team rallied and there were some amazing and unique auction items including a commissioned piece by Bob Larsen, vacation rentals, Red Sox tickets, and so much more.

As the caterers for the event, Co-op Bakery Manager and Pastry Chef Lori built an amazing contribution for the evening to be given to the highest donator, a cake in the shape of the Dwelling House at Shaker Village. This cake was weeks in the making with all the planning and sculpting of the modeling chocolate.

And then, on top of all that she also created twenty edible table centerpieces that looked like exotic flower pots with the help of Co-op Pastry Chef Amanda, who also taught the Baking with Strawberries class earlier this month. Every cake was amazingly detailed and topped with a different flower. The cakes must have been delicious because there was barely a crumb left by the end of the evening.

But let's not forget Co-op Executive Chef Rob and his team in the Celery Stick Café for their amazing buffet with two prime rib carving stations. Chef Rob also made his own mozzarella for a caprese salad as an appetizer that was divine. Guests also dined on fish, chicken and a vegetarian ragatoui.
It was a fun event to cater and we hope you achieved your fundraising goals!
For more information about catering with the Co-op, visit... http://concordfoodcoop.coop/catering/

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Spring Into Healthy Living 2015

Did you make your way to South Main St on Saturday, May 16, 2015 to join the Co-op for their eighth annual Spring Into Healthy Living street fair? Check out the video below and see if you made a cameo!


And check out the photos below...

Friday, May 1, 2015

Spring Down to the Main Street May 16 for Our Spring into Healthy Living® Fair!

Letter from our General Manager, Paula Harris

There’s just something special about spring! And after this year’s long, snow-filled winter, we’re all ready to stretch our legs and enjoy the warm sun. We’re getting ready to celebrate spring Co-op-style with our eight annual Spring into Healthy Living® Fair on Saturday, May 16, 10 am - 2 pm in Concord. We hope you’ll join us for the family-friendly party!

http://concordfoodcoop.coop/sihl/

This fair is our biggest event of the year, drawing more than 5,000 people each year to enjoy free food samples from local farmers and vendors, children’s events, live music, and more! This event is SO big, we have to close down a portion of Main Street to accommodate our block party!

We’ve brought back all your favorites that have made this event so special. Of course, the highlight of the event is the free food and drink! Approximately 100 vendors will be on hand to let you try the products we sell and answer your questions.

Here’s just a sampling of this year’s offerings:

  • Highland Cow rides with Miles Smith Farm
  • Traveling Barnyard petting zoo
  • P&R Reptiles
  • The Club Soda Band
  • The Creation Station
  • The Vegetable Ranch seeding pots for kids
  • Jake’s Old Fashioned ice cream
  • Celery Stick Cafe cooking demonstrations
  • Co-op Bakery desserts
Enjoy food and drink samples from a wide range of local and regional vendors including Champlain Orchards apple products and hard cider, Micro Mama’s kimchi, Michele’s Gourmet Popcorn, and much, much more! See our website for more details.

Whether you’re a carnivore or vegan, gluten-free or localvore, health nut or gourmand, you’ll find plenty of delicious treats at the event.

If you try and like it, you’ll want to drop into the store to buy it! You’ll get 10% off groceries in the store during the fair (usual exceptions).

This event will be held Rain or Shine. No matter what, we’ll be cozy under the big top tent. Can’t wait to see you there!

Click here for up-to-date details on the event!

Friday, April 24, 2015

YMCA 11th Annual Spring Social in Good Spirits

By Jaimie Jusczyk, Marketing Specialist

Executive Chef Rob Cone from the Co-op's Celery Stick Café put up quite the culinary fight for last Wednesday's YMCA Spring Social Top Chef competition. Four chefs from four local restaurants went head-to-head to feed the hungry guests who placed their votes for the best appetizer of the evening. All proceeds were to benefit the YMCA's Annual Campaign, making quality childcare and wellness programs accessible to everyone in our community, regardless of their economic status.
Imagine biting into pepper crusted beef carpacio on a grilled crostini with spring pea, pea tendril salad and sun-dried tomato oil balsamic reduction and shaved Parmesan reggiano, all presented on a beautiful plate with swirls of dressing and a bright pink edible orchid! Chef Rob's spring inspired dish was so popular, with the help of Chef Lori, they could barely keep up with the made to order appetizer as guests came back for third and fourth servings but they served all the guests with enough left over to share with the other chefs.
Though he did not win the glory of Top Chef this year, (Congratulations go to the Barley House) Chef Rob certainly made a mark on the taste buds of all that evening. If you are looking for an elite catering service for your next event, large or small, Executive Chef Rob from the Co-op is your chef, call the Co-op kitchen at 603-225-6840.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Supporting The Concord Coalition to End Homelessness

Last September, our members voted to support the Concord Coalition to End Homelessness in our annual elections. Over the years, our Community Partner program has shifted, and this year we’re pleased to support our Community Partners with free tickets to an exclusive high-end dinner to treat their biggest donors. We’re also supporting our six 2015 nonprofit Community Partners on a one-on-one level for various events.

On March 28, the Co-op’s award-winning Celery Stick Café provided our handmade soups for CCEH’s SouperFest! The event was a huge success and included activities for all ages, live music, celebrity chefs, and, of course, lots of soup!

“CCEH is honored to have been chosen by the Concord Food Co-op as a community partner. It will take the entire community of Concord, working together, to create permanent solutions for our neighbors struggling with homelessness, and we appreciate the Co-op partnering with us in these efforts!” said CCEH’s Director Ellen Groh.

The Concord Coalition to End Homelessness works to eliminate the causes of homelessness for the citizens and residents of Concord through a coordinated, committed, and active effort of our many stakeholders. The organization envisions a Concord community where everyone has a safe, decent, stable and affordable place to live.

The nonprofit group began in 2008, born from a collaboration of service providers and faith-based organizations who wanted to help end homelessness in Concord. CCEH runs the Concord Homeless Resource Center at 6B South State Street. The organization has also coordinated financial support for dental care for homeless people, sponsored the Project Homeless Connect, and coordinated cold-weather shelter for families with children.

More recently, CCEH has led community efforts to oppose an ordinance that would’ve banned panhandling and helped lift the voices of homeless men and women who were being thrown out of their campsites on public land and who had no other place to go.

We urge you to learn more about CCEH and support the organization at concordhomeless.org. You can help in many different ways, including donating goods, volunteering, giving money, and lending your voice to advocacy efforts.