Try our perfectly Pickled Silverskin Onions

silverskinonions

 

Our pickled silverskin onions come in two varieties; the white brine version, which uses a recipe passed down from my aunt and the malt vinegar version which was a recipe passed down from my husband’s British grandmother (in the UK, they are often eaten alongside fish and chips).

Our delicious pickled onions will be available at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair individually or in a pickle lovers gift pack perfect for the holidays. 

The Process

Our pickled onions use Ontario grown silverskin onions. What’s more impressive is that we hand peel around 300 pounds of these onions – equivalent to approximately 22,000 onions! These little onions then spent seven glorious days in a salt-water brine, getting rinsed daily. So, when they arrive on your plate they are the perfect combination of crunchy on the inside and tender on the outside.

seven day brine

What makes our onions so special is that we only make them once a year, in August and September, as this is when silverskin onions are in season. Once they are sold out, they’re gone until the next growing session – so make sure to grab them at the Royal Winter Fair!

Why you’ll love them

Our pickled silverskin onions taste amazing in sandwiches and wraps, on a burger or with sausages. They also make a great addition to potato salad. I would even throw them in any salad for an added crunch.

Interested in our products? Shop our selection.

Want to grow your food business? Manning Canning Kitchens can help.

Written by Farhana Choudhry, Intern

Quick and easy Quince recipe

quince

I love my quince tree in my backyard. In the spring it is covered with the most glorious blooms and in the fall I get to harvest the few quince that the squirrels have not already stolen. And every year with whatever yield I get for myself I make my husband and I a little treat known as Membrillo or Quince Paste. 

It takes a couple of hours to make, but the process is super simple and can be followed very easily no matter how many or how few quince you may have.

weighed quince

This year my yield was super small. I got 1lb of quince, but you can use this recipe for whatever amount you have.

Instructions

  • 1 lb Quince
  • Lemon peel - small sliver of lemon peel, no pith
  • Vanilla bean - half of a bean, cut and seeded
  • 1/4 tsp Lemon juice 
  • 1 cup sugar

Peel and coarsely chop up the quince. Place the lemon peel, vanilla and quince in a small pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook on simmer until quince is soft and can easily be pricked with a fork.

Strain the water and place the softened quince in a food processor and blend until smooth. Measure out how much quince you have (with 1lb of quince, I got 1 cup of puree) and then add equal part sugar (1 cup in this instance).

Place quince and sugar in a small pot over low heat and stir until sugar is fully dissolved. Leave over heat, stirring occasionally until paste is thick and changes colour to a gentle orange. Took 35 minutes with 1 lb of quince.

Then spoon quince out of the pot and place into a small pan lined with parchment paper. Place in oven on low heat (125 degrees) for 30 more minutes to dry it out.

Cut and serve - with a hard cheese from The Pantry in Toronto or from your favourite cheese shop.

Interested in our products? Shop our selection.

Want to grow your food business? Manning Canning Kitchens can help.

 

Join us at The Good Food Festival

tomato jam

Next Tuesday, September 27th we’ll be attending the Good Food Festival hosted by the Ryerson Students’ Union in the heart of downtown Toronto, this event acts as a springboard to introduce new and returning students to the Good Food Centre.

The Good Food Centre

The Good Food Centre in association with the Ryerson Students’ Union host this festival annually in late September. The Good Food Centre (GFC) essentially helps to offset the challenges of post-secondary education and has emerged as a leader in helping curb the issue of post-secondary food insecurity.

The Good Food Festival

The Good Festival is a celebration of food, sustainability, and education. The Festival brings together local artisan producers, food justice organizations, and students to generate a greater food awareness. Most importantly, the festival allows students to sample delicious local delicacies, allowing students to truly appreciate local food businesses.

Why we support the Festival

Manning Canning prides itself on the use of local, fresh and organic ingredients sourced from Ontario farms. The event organizers place an emphasis on showcasing the local food movement as well as sustainability initiatives by inviting vendors who create healthy foods from ingredients that are as kind, sustainable, and local as possible, an idea that we wholeheartedly support! We also believe the festival acts as an opportunity for students to engage in good food conversations, as throughout the day students can participate in food workshops and activities while also getting involved in food security issues within the student, and local communities.

Sept_4_FairmountMarket_resized.jpg

So students bring your friends and family come on out the Good Food Festival to sample delicious local food, get informed, and fight food insecurity! 

Interested in our products? Shop our selection.

Want to grow your food business? Manning Canning Kitchens can help.

Written by Farhana Choudhry, Intern

Taste our Drinking Vinegar Shrubs at the Leslieville Flea!

Drinking vinegars

This Sunday, September 18th we’re back at the Leslieville Flea Market  at the Ashbridge Estate from 10 am-5pm, and we’ll be sampling our line of Shrubs.

What the Heck are Shrubs?

Shrubs are handcrafted drinking vinegars that date back to the 17th century, and they’ve been gaining in popularity lately, especially as the people discover the health benefits of apple cider vinegar.  The taste is really arresting, and they are great in a cocktail or with sparkling water.

Shrubs for Health

Shrubs have been proven to be a great digestive aid known to reduce bloating by keeping you full longer, cancel out some of the carbs you eat and lowering your blood pressure, as well as offering a whole host of other benefits

Often Imitated, Never Duplicated

Our shrubs are made with organic, Ontario Apple Cider vinegar in small batches using locally sourced ingredients. Moreover, our shrubs are also cold-pressed, which ensures that the beneficial nutrients remain in the fruit used as no heat is used in the manufacturing process.  This summer we launched three flavors of our magical shrubs Ontario Raspberry, Ontario Pear and Ginger (it’s pear season), and Ontario Rhubarb and Vanilla. 

What better way to spend the end of summer than by experiencing a taste (pun intended) of Leslieville’s top-notch vendors, so bring your friends and family come on out the Leslieville Flea this Sunday as our refreshing “absolutely delicious” shrubs are currently ONLY AVAILABLE at Farmer’s Market’s and shows. 

About the Leslieville Flea

The Leslieville Flea is a vintage, curated market that sells vintage and up-cycled goods, ranging from clothing, furniture, antiques and most importantly edibles. The Flea serves as an excellent meeting place for residents of the Leslieville community and really helps promote small businesses like ours as well as the idea of eating and shopping locally. The Summer Flea Markets run until October, and the last summer market is on October 16th. 

Interested in knowing more about the Leslieville Flea – check out their website here.

Interested in our products? Shop our selection.

Want to grow your food business? Manning Canning Kitchens can help.

Written by Farhana Choudhry, Intern

 

Ask a Food Entrepreneur: Q&A with Tito Ron’s

Michael and Tristan, owner of Tito Rons

Michael and Tristan, owner of Tito Rons

We asked some of our previous and existing clients about the challenges they faced getting started as small food entrepreneurs and how they overcame them. Our series begins with Michael and Tristen of Tito Ron’s, a lovely duo whose passion for Filipino-Caribbean food propelled them out of our kitchen and into their own space in Kensington Market.

MCK: What were the biggest challenges you faced in starting your food business?

Tito Ron’s: The amount of regulations, red tape and rules, we’re a surprise to us. Like people don’t realize that you need a commercial kitchen, to start with. Product is step one obviously, but then you have to learn the hoops you have to jump through to follow the rules.

MCK: Did working at MCK help make growing your business easier?

Tito Ron’s: Yes, and it wasn’t just the facility itself. You guys had a great rate compared to others, but the real benefit was getting to meet and work with you guys. Your team made a big difference, helping us out when we didn’t know what we were doing!

MCK: What advice would you give to anyone just starting out in this business? 

Tito Ron’s: Stick it out through the bad days, find some kind of silver lining, find the positive. You know, you’ll have shows where you don’t make money, not everyone will like your product, things like that. Stay focussed on the positive even if it is small thing.

MCK: What is your least favourite part about being a food entrepreneur?

Tito Ron’s: The pressure you put on yourself to succeed in the beginning. It is easy to get lost in it but you have to remember that everything doesn’t have to be perfect.

MCK: What is the best part of being a small business owner?

Tito Ron’s: We love it!  We believe in what we are doing, not just selling our food and making our money on our own merits, but exposing people to a product that we are passionate about. We’re someone that people trust for good food now.

Check out Tito Ron’s for yourself at 214 Augusta Avenue, you won’t be disappointed!

Spicy Pickled Asparagus

ontario asparagus

I started my day yesterday at 5am so that I could head down to the Ontario Food Terminal and pick up some Ontario Asparagus for my preserving class at The Depanneur. If you have never been to the Food Terminal it is one of my favourite places in the city. In the early hours before the sun comes up when the streets and highways of the city are quiet, the Terminal is a hive of activity. With trucks coming in and out filled with flowers, plants and produce, with buyers walking from supplier to supplier filling their carts and rolling racks full of the items they need and with mini forklifts being driven around coming at you from all directions. It makes procuring local produce and adventure.

Asparagus is generally in season in Ontario in May and June, so now is the perfect time for you to get your hands on some and for you to make Pickled Asparagus. 

spicy pickled asparagus

I have a few favourite Pickled Asparagus recipes. Some are great cut up in salads (potato salad being my favourite) or put out with an assortment of cheeses and meats on a charcuterie plate. And while the recipe that I share below is wonderful in all of those locations, my favourite place for this Pickled Asparagus is in a tall glass filled with a Caesar. And with tomorrow being National Caesar Day here in Canada, it seemed like the perfect day to share it with you.

Spicy Pickled Asparagus

Brine Ingredients

5 cups vinegar

5 cups water (distilled is perfect if you want a nice crunchy pickle)

1/2 cup pickling salt

Ingredients per jar

1/2 - 1 pound of Asparagus

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp mustard seed

1/2 tsp dill seed

1 garlic clove

Yields approximately 8 - 500ml jars

Rinse and dry asparagus. Prepare according to your jar size*. Drop 1 tsp red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp mustard seed, 1/2 tsp dill seed and 1 garlic clove into each of your jars. snugly pack the asparagus spears into jars.

Don't overfill your jars. 

Don't overfill your jars. 

Prepare the brine by combining the vinegar, water and salt in a medium non reactive sauce pan. Stir over high heat until the salt dissolves and you reach a boil or high simmer.

Ladle the brine into the jars, leaving 1/2" headspace. Ensure all of your asparagus is completely covered by the brine. Be sure to burp your jars and then re-measure your headspace and top up with brine to the 1/2" mark.

Wipe the rims of the jars and apply lid and thread. Remember to just hand tighten the thread.

Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

*TIP - As a lot of canning jars out there are not tall enough for some of the longer asparagus to ensure you don't have to spend a lot of time measuring and cutting your asparagus, place them tips down in your jar. This way you can simply trim any tall asparagus with your scissors before pouring in the brine

trimmingasparagus

These pickles will come to full flavour within 2-3 weeks. Plenty of time for you to make them and still enjoy them in that Caesar I mentioned earlier before the end of the summer.

 

 

 

Grandma Betty's Recipe Book

Grandma Betty's recipe book

Grandma Betty's recipe book

My husband and I just returned from 10 days in North Devon. We went with his mom to see her 98 year old mother and of course, my husband's grandmother. A word about Betty before we get to her cookbook. She is as I mentioned 98 years old and she still lives on her own. She has fantastic neighbours who drop in on her daily. They pick up groceries she may need, make her a quiche now and again and visit with her on a regular occasion. But - Gran still makes most of her meals, she knits afghans, for as she puts it "old people in the home" and she does the crossword every day. She is still extremely sharp if somewhat forgetful. 

One day on our trip, we were sitting in Gran's conservatory enjoying the sunshine and the gorgeous view of the Moors from the back of her house when my husband brought out a book that looked like it had seen some action. The spine was cracked as if the book had been opened and closed more times than it could count. He had a curious smile on his face as he was looking at me and I immediately knew that what was inside, would be of immense interest to me.

It was Gran's recipe book and the first recipes inside of it were dated from November, 1938. I sat on my hands and waited patiently as James flipped through the pages on the other side of the room. He read things out like "Cheese Scones, Sweet Orange Marmalade, Red Tomato Chutney and Dried Apricot Jam". I could barely take it.

Finally, he handed it over to me. The book felt so well loved and so fragile in my hands. There were pages that were completely loose from the binding. As I flipped through the pages, I could tell the recipes that were the most popular from the splatters on the pages.

As I was exclaiming about some of the recipes, Gran said these magical words "Why don't you take it home with you?". WHAT??? I couldn't believe it. I got rather choked up at the thought. I wanted it more than I could express, but would never have asked for it.

I continued to flip through the pages and there at the very back was a record from 1941 - 1997 of how many pounds of Seville Oranges Gran had turned into marmalade each year.

Over this summer, I am going to ask friends to join me in making some of the recipes from the book and will post our successes and failures with the recipes here. I already have my first friend chosen and can't wait to choose which recipe we will attempt together!

WIN Free time in our kitchens

In November of 2014 when we opened the doors at Manning Canning Kitchens, we honestly had no idea what to expect. In the past 16 months we have seen some truly inspiring food entrepreneurs pass through our doors. From prepped meal companies such as Chowdy, who started in our kitchen making 200 meals a week who have grown so much they are graduating at the end of April into their very own facility. To our friends at Bombay Street Food who started with a stall at East York Farmer's market and in April are opening their very own restaurant on Bay Street.

When I started my preserves business, I quickly discovered that the biggest barrier to my growth was going to be access to commercial kitchen space. I was very fortunate to find East Scarborough Storefront and get access to 4 free hours a week in their wonderful commercial kitchen and when I graduated from there, I went to the kitchen of my local butcher shop, who gave me access to their steam kettles at a ridiculously fair rate. Without both of these wonderful finds, I am not sure my business would be today.

So we decided we wanted to give back to the wonderful food community that supported us when we were just getting started by giving away free time in our kitchen.

The contest will be judged by an all star cast of food entrepreneurs, including Matt Basile (Fidel Gastro Street Food Co.), Erin Maynes (Foodiepages.ca), Cheryl Appleton (Canadian Women in Food), Kim Antonius (Pitchfork Company/Fairmount Park Farmers Market) and Peter Neal (Neal Brothers Food Inc.)

To enter click here

Heritage Pickled Eggs

Back in February I was out in Alberta visiting my mom who is currently going through a bit of a rough patch, so while she was resting I decided I was going to make her some chicken stock. While going through her recipe holder I stumbled across a recipe I had never locked eyes on before.

It was typed on an index card, so I could already guess that it wasn't a 'new' recipe so to speak. When I asked her about it she said she used to make them all the time. Now reaching back into the deep recesses of my mind I can remember my mom's home made raspberry and peach jams, I can remember all of her fabulous cookies and I can remember her super crunchy dill pickles. But I know I have never seen nor heard of her pickled eggs.

We determined that she had to have been making them 'before my time'.

It's a simple enough recipe, but the fact that it is older than me tells me that it might not necessarily be safe. What makes me think that? Well first off, the acetic acid in vinegar used to be much higher than it is today. So the balance of water, salt and vinegar in my mom's pickled egg recipe might not necessarily make it safe for water bath canning today. So what does one do next?

The recipe sounded SO good that I had to try it to find out.

I started with a small batch...just enough to follow the recipe exactly as it was laid out. I am letting it age for the typical 4 weeks that a pickle recipe needs in order for the item being pickled to fully absorb the brine. And the final step will be to pH test it this week.

 

Each time I try a recipe that is newly created or newly uncovered from old family archives, I pH test the final product to ensure that the pH is within the acceptable limits for water bath canning. What is the best way to pH test a product? I use a digital pH tester that goes to 3 decimal points. If you don't want to invest in a pH tester you can also get strips that are much less expensive but also less accurate.

In this instance, I will take a portion of the egg, the brine and the spices and blend them together until they are all liquified. After calibrating my pH tester I will then test this liquified pickle to get an accurate reading of it's pH. It is important not to just test the pH of the brine but get the fruit or vegetable being pickled in the reading as well.

If the final reading shows me we have a product that is not safe for water bath canning - it will be back to the drawing board. Because no matter how great they may have tasted when my mom used to make them - ingredients change and we have to keep that in mind when using old family recipes.

 

The New Family

I was asked by #1000families to take part in their 1000 blog posts about family. I had to sit with the idea for a while to see where my thoughts on family would take me. Ultimately it took me back in time to losing my father in a plane crash at the age of 3, and the strength that my mother has showed over the years raising 5 girls on her own after his passing.

Excerpt from the post is below....

I was born and raised in Drayton Valley, a small town in Alberta. At the time, the population hovered around 5,000 people and my family; mom, dad, four elder sisters and I made up a small part of that population. We were a traditional family living their life in a small town.

When I was just 3 years old, our lives were turned upside down when my father died in a plane crash at the age of 38. Little did I know that this event would change my interpretation of the word ‘family’ before I even understood it’s true meaning and that throughout my life the size and shape of my family would change more than just the once. This entity that I had taken for granted would never be the same again.

To read the full post, click here.