I think I’m falling in lovewith Philadelphia. Here are a few reasons why:
- The tree lined rowhomes are so quaint. Especially in Spring when the sidewalks are full of cherry blossoms
- The Schuylkill river path is my my go to for morning runs
- I love the public murals and walking art attractions
- Reading Terminal market serves great food and the Italian market has the best produce
- Cheesesteaks…..need I say more?
I recently added another bullet point to that list:
- The Hacktory
If you’ve never heard of the Hacktory, boy do I have news for you! It is an all in one workshop for everything cool and fun. They have Github and Arduino classes for the techy types and woodworking and laser cutting classes for the hands on types. I recently attended a class I couldn’t pass on called In a Pickle. I had a basic understanding that pickling, canning, and fermenting were all related but I wasn’t quite sure how, so I was eager to attend and learn more!
The class was led by Allison Frick, the Hacktory’s own pickling and canning expert. She started off with a brief intro which quickly turned into a DIY pickling session.
This was a pickle with a partner workshop. Lucky for me, Greg came (voluntarily!) and played the role of sous chef. Each station had a cooking plate, pot, cutting board, knife, and bunches of radishes, carrots, ginger, and jalapeno peppers. Greg was busy slicing radishes and ginger while I was boiling the brine (brine is composed of vinegar, water, sugar, and a touch of salt).
After combining the vegetables and brine we poured everything into a small mason jar and let it cool. The pickling liquid turned a pretty pink, the color of pink coral.
We then moved onto canning carrots and jalapeno peppers. Although the brine was similar, the process was totally different! We stood around a big pot full of boiling water and mason jars. I learned that canning can only sustain shelf stability by undergoing heat sterilization. This kills off all microorganisms, in particular Clostridium botulinum. There was no way any bacteria survived this water warfare! After hours of boiling we canned our peppers in sterile jars and re-processed them in the boiling bath for a tight seal.
The time our mason jars spent rolling in boiling water was not wasted one bit! Allison, being the canning connoisseur she is, brought a party tray of her homemade goods and infused liquors. We got to taste pickled okra, peach mostarda, and a slew of other canned treats all while sipping on her cherry infused bourbon and rhubarb vodka. Sounds amazing, right?! You can find her recipes here on Squareknot. I already went out in search of granny smith apples for her apple pie bourbon! Yum!
Needless to say, we left the Hacktory with warm bourbon bellies and a few pickled party favors. Thanks Allison and Hacktory team for a fun and informative night!