2-step Habanero Vinegar

Austin harvested quite a few habaneros this weekend from our garden, and I made spicy vinegar with them — a super simple way to store them for future culinary use. 

The other method I like to use to preserve them is dehydration, but making chili powder takes more time. 

If I had any fruit, I would have opted for a habanero jam. Alas, we did not. That idea will have to wait until peaches or blackberries are in season again. 

The vinegar is best after a couple of weeks, and we just use plain white vinegar. I refill it with vinegar when the level gets low and peppers are exposed to air. I try to avoid that air exposure so that the nasty microorganisms don’t spoil the food. It is highly acidic, so no need for sterilizing the jar more than a good clean and no need to refrigerate. 

Here are some ways we use spicy vinegar in our house:

  • Serve it as a condiment for fried fish or fried veggies, eggs or tacos. 
  • Use it to make a vinegarette. 
  • Add a little fish sauce and lime juice for a delicious Thai hot sauce to use with Asian inspired dishes 

You could also probably use it to make a delicious meat marinade. I just haven’t tried that one yet. 


  The thumping life rhythm in my chest stretches arms out, limbs curling toward the sun like the tendril of a green bean recently emerged from the soil. 

A cotyledon’s tender true leaves come unhinged and two stronger leaves unfurl.  

The tendrils grow and grasp until a trellis is found — oh miraculous mound of earth that placed me so close to a chainlink ladder. I’m lucky. I’m upward bound, no eyes to look down. 

Somewhere near me human eyes blink. And during that space between observation and appreciation, my leaves crash up, ever up, toward the rainbow hiding in every blue sky. 

Soon blossoms will grace the crooks of my arms — from which I will nourish the tender pods created like all living things create beauty. Simply. Living fully. 

I am thankful for rich, dark soil. 

And sunshine. 

Outdoor showers create relaxing moments and save water


Creating your own outdoor shower is as easy as 1-2-3. Buy some parts at the hardware store. Find a place in your garden. Shower!

If you’ve ever gone camping with a shower bag, then you already know the joys of showering in the open air. Outdoor showers bring back the nostalgia of running through the lawn sprinkler as a kid, and they are a sustainable garden/home practice, especially for those of us with watering restrictions.

But I don’t want to be naked for my neighbors to see, you might say.

Have no fear! You can build one with a privacy screen (just look at Pintrest for inspiration). Or do like I do and shower in a bathing suit. Trust me, it works just fine. Just look both ways to see if anyone is overtly staring at you, and then shove your hand right down into your crotch for a good scrub.

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Canned vs. Refrigerator Pickles (scroll for my secret recipe)

 When it comes to preserving cucumbers, you have three delicious options:

1. Pickle them using the canning method

2. Make refrigerator pickles;

3. Or ferment them.

I have yet to play around with the third option, but the first two I have lots of success with.

Canning pickles is pretty straight forward. Find a recipe you want to try and follow the directions. The only tips I have for this method are to be sure that your cucumbers are extremely freshly picked. My mom tends to pick cucumbers for 3-4 days leading up to my visit, and she stores them in the refrigerator. By the time I get them home, they aren’t fresh enough for crisp canned pickles. It’s still possible to can them (since they are relatively fresh) but they work best as thin hamburger pickle slices.  Continue reading