It’s summer, let’s preserve some produce!  »

You guys know how I’m all enamored of DIY and bartering with your neighbors and making your neighborhood your actual community? I know, I’m so on trend right now! The latest cookbook to cater to our 21st century homesteading obsessions is Marisa McClellan’s Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round, and I want it SO BAD.

Bay Area Bites has an interview with McClellan that features her recipes for apricot jam and pickled okra, as well as dates when she’ll be signing books and holding canning classes in the Bay Area. She sounds appealingly pragmatic, and I really wish I could attend one of these events. Maybe you can? I’m totally making refrigerator pickles this weekend. They don’t sound any more complicated that cold-brewed coffee, which I drink constantly now that it’s warm in the suburbs. And with all the extra storage room (closets! garages! attics!) there’s no reason not to put up a bunch of delicious summer produce for savoring during the leaner months. Not that it’s ever lean in California, but we do have growing seasons.

What do you think? Are you creating your own Little Apartment on the Prairie? Or is all this for us deluded, un(der)employed suckers? Who even has the time to make jam out of everything except people who don’t have jobs? I have some time for it, but that’s because the only other thing I do is work, and I don’t have kids or fun to take up my time. Just a new kitchen project every weekend. And canning seems practical! Think of all the homespun sack-garments I’ll be able to trade for my strawberry jam and spicy bread-and-butter pickles!

[photo by Jessica via Flickr]


Anna’s Brooklyn Supermarket Adventures: Sheepshead Bay, Q Train  »

Ladies and germs! Jelly-jars and pickled calves’ brains! Lucid fellows and damselflies! Hello, one and all. I invite you, implore you, invoke you to follow me on my MAGICAL ADVENTURES!!

This is the first of a series of posts chronicling Awesome Supermarkets in Brooklyn (and maybe other places). Vast places, rich with eggplant and pineapple and odd varieties of jam! Strange places, with languages that you cannot read! Sometimes even grisly places with strange squiggly meat-parts! But mostly… CHEAP PLACES.

Stay close, bold vegans, under my Whisking Cloak, as I transport you first to Sheepshead Bay. It’s one of the last stops on the Q train, and the population seems to be mostly Russian and Chinese. Lots of little old ladies in fur coats. But don’t get mad at them, they’re little and old and Russian.

(The lady pictured is neither little, old, nor me. I don’t know if she’s Russian or not.)

When you get off the train, a plum of a supermarket is hiding next to the CVS, at 1414 Sheepsheadbay Rd. It is camouflaged, like a secret beehive. Draw closer, dear vegan, and enter the Outer Chamber of Mostly Overpriced Produce. There are baskets hanging from the ceiling, and fake vines! Press onward!

The actual store, Global Wholesale Market, is open seven days a week, fromĀ  9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

CHEAP/AWESOME: tea, bread, beer, chocolate, pickled things in jars

Russian supermarkets are good for the winter, or bunkers, or hunkering down. They’re good wartime food. They’re rations, like chocolate and nuts and pickles and jam. The produce isn’t always great, but dollars to doughnuts the bread/tea/chocolate selection is ace.

This Russian supermarket, like some others, induces glee solely through the cheeriness of its displays. A wall of Finn crispbread! A sale on Borscht! Chocolate boxes as big as your torso!
If you poke around a bit, you will find not just huge candy-boxes, but an aisle full of chocolate bars. And many are vegan! And hella cheap! (There are often English translations on the back.)

This chocolate bar is as long as my forearm. Its title is “airated rum chocolate”. Yes, it is flavored like rum. It is vegan, and about $2.
Most tea is under three dollars, and comes in surprising incarnations.

That’s nearly it for pictures, except this weird beer! Just ignore the freeze-dried fish in baskets near the floor.

Oh man, I wish I could show you all the rows upon rows of bread! Squishy whole-wheat with seeds, round nutty loaves, so many kinds of pumpernickel, gigantic round bagels, baguettes, bread so dark and dense it was positively dangerous.

But they cottoned on to my camera and asked me to stop taking photos! And rather than sneaking around, I felt bad, and obeyed. Which is too bad, because the bread and the Things in Jars were completely awesome to behold.

More supermarkets, photos, and neighborhoods to come

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