My name is Brook Hurst Stephens.
I have 3 sons and 2 step-daughters, 1 Pug* and a husband.
ShuMai inspecting a trug full of Montmorency Cherries.
I live in Seattle, on North Capitol Hill, on the edge of a gorgeous greenbelt. The kids are all grown up and on their own, and so I find myself with more time (and less laundry) on my hands.
In the Pacific Northwest, we take advantage of our precious sunny days, but I think having our fair share of dark & rainy days helped to foster my love of preserving. Even when it has rained for 20 days in a row, it's still feels sunny in my kitchen.
Watermelon Rind Pickles - one of my favorite examples of "Reduce-Reuse-Recycle"
After many years selling wine wholesale, I decided to start teaching people to preserve. I have wanted to share my passion for preserving for a long time, and teaching seems like a good way to do it. Not only do I enjoy teaching, but I can't help smiling when I see the look of pride on someone's face, the first time they hold that beautiful jar of their own creation in their hands. Some people seem awestruck, and for good reason! Preserving feels a little bit like magic to me.
Give me a couple hours, and I'm pretty sure you'll never look at Farmers' Markets, roadside stands or your grocery store's produce department the same way ever again. I can show you how incredibly rewarding it is to transform a pound of fresh raspberries into sparkling jars of mouth-watering jam. Or a couple pounds of unwanted zucchini into the finest relish you have ever tasted.
It's quicker and easier, and maybe even less messy than you think!
Montmorency (Sour) Cherry Preserves
*2015 update: ShuMai, my sweet little Pug, passed away a year ago, but I love this picture so much I kept it here in her honor. She loved to watch me prep fruits and veggies, and I still feel her here with me when I am peeling peaches, pitting cherries or chopping tomatoes - three of her favorite foods. Gone, but never forgotten.
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