ARCHIVE

California Considers a Cottage Food Law

Since the homemade food renaissance has taken root in California, there’s been no shortage of home picklers, jammers, and bakers. But under current state laws, it’s a misdemeanor for those home artisans to sell their goodies in the open marketplace. Case in point: Last June, Department of Public Health officials shut down ForageSF’s popular Underground Market, which featured mostly home producers, because its sellers were not compliant with local and state regulations.

But due to a campaign launched by the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC), the laws might change this year. The Oakland-based SELC recently teamed up with Los Angeles Assemblymember Mike Gatto to introduce the California Homemade Food Act (AB 1616), a “cottage food” bill that would legalize the sale of certain foods produced in home kitchens. Read more

Fermented Food Fans: Meet The Folks From Cultured

Sour foods really appealed to Alex Hozven as she battled brutal pregnancy-induced nausea with her first son.

Nothing unusual there, right? Millions of women crave pickles to combat morning (or all-day) sickness. But Hozven’s obsession with fermented foods didn’t end once her baby was born.

Instead, she set out to master making naturally fermented foods (no vinegar, water, or heat) like sauerkraut, kim chee, and kombucha with a locavore sensibility and seasonal twist –  and built a thriving business that now supports a family of four. Read more

Yes, We Canned

Canning is hot and sticky (sometimes salty) work. Your fingers go pruny, you get sugar rushes (if you’re making jam) and salt dehydration (if you’re canning savory). Like everything that’s hot, sticky, exhausting, and a little risky, it’s way more fun with friends. Canning has historically been a community venture, with folks pitching in when the fruit and vegetables are abundant. But times have changed, Americans have been taught to be afraid of their own canned foods, “botulsim”, “contamination”, “microorganisms” are the words that come to mind when you mention home canning to most people instead of evoking the joyous sticky deliciousness of homemade jam. Read more

The Art of Canning: A How-To

Even though supermarkets have made canning and preserving unnecessary, there is still something wonderfully fulfilling about preserving food yourself (and the results are MUCH tastier than anything you can buy in a grocery store.)

When my husband’s grandmother, Marcia, a great cook and remarkable woman who I loved, passed away a few years ago, I inherited her preserving cookbook, Putting Food By.

I treasure this worn book, not because the recipes are anything special, but because it is speckled by years of use and it includes her notes. Marcia kept a detailed record of everything she “put by” in its blank end pages. Read more

Jam for Now

Last year we built a fortress, created to deter deer, raccoons, skunks, squirrels, and wild pigs from our own little slice of edible possibility. Today we are in the middle of planting our spring garden in this enclosure, now just a blank, dark dirt slate of bumpy rows and discarded piles of weeds. Shaping the earth is like frosting a chocolate cake, at least to this baker’s mind, and has inspired my next birthday party creation. Right now, though, it is time to focus on what plants will grow.  Read more