Of the myriad varieties of craft beer, none are more popular than IPAs. Here’s what’s so special about this trendy brew.
What is an IPA?
To put it simply, an India pale ale is a beer made with a ton of hops. The abundance of this flavoring agent provides a distinct bitterness, which is usually complemented by citrusy, fruity, floral, earthy or piney notes — or some combination of these flavors.
There are a number of IPA types, but the two most popular in North America are East Coast IPAs and West Coast IPAs.
West Coast IPAs
These beers are known for being intensely, unapologetically bitter. Washington is hops central, and West Coast brewers love to load up their brews with this state’s diverse and flavorful hop varieties.
In the Northwest, the beers have earthy and piney notes. But as you move further south, fruity, citrusy flavorings rule the day.
East Coast IPAs
These brews are more well-rounded than their West Coast cousins. They have a stronger malt component, which balances out the hops, and the bitter notes aren’t as dominant.
The quintessential East Coast IPA is the New England style IPA, which is cloudy and has a smooth, creamy mouthfeel. Typically, this beer’s flavor profile is enhanced with citrusy notes.
If you’re a newcomer to IPAs, it’s best to order an East Coast IPA for your first pint. This way you won’t be too overwhelmed by the hops. Cheers!
A brief introduction to canning
Do you have more produce on hand than you know what to do with? If so, canning is a great way to make sure your food keeps all winter long.
Preparing food for canning
Here are some ways of preparing produce before it goes bad.
• Cooking. Turn your fruit into jam, make tomato sauce or blanch your vegetables before canning them.
• Pickling. Vinegar helps produce become acidic enough to be canned in a water bath. Try cucumbers, carrots, green beans or even peaches in a brine of vinegar and water.
Methods of canning
Home canning involves using sealed glass jars to conserve your food. There are a couple of ways to do this.
• Water bath canning. This method uses boiling water to heat jars and seal them. Only foods with high acidity like berries, pickles and tomatoes can be safely canned this way.
• Pressure canning. This technique involves using high temperatures to can meat and vegetables that aren’t acidic enough to be safely water canned. You’ll need a pressure canner, which is similar to a pressure cooker.
No matter what canning method you use, make sure to sterilize your jars and always use rings that are free of rust and lids that are brand new.
Maple syrup makes this subtle twist on a fall classic an instant crowd pleaser.
Start to finish: 1 hour and 15 minutes (30 minutes active)
• 7 Cortland apples, peeled and diced
• 1/3 cup brown sugar
• 1/3 cup maple syrup
• 1tablespoon lemon juice
• 1teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 2 cups quick-cook rolled oats
• 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 1 cup softened butter
1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F and butter a 9×13-inch baking dish.
2. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients for the filling and transfer to the baking dish.
3. In another bowl, combine all the ingredients for the crumble topping.
4. Cover the apple mixture with the crumble topping, taking care to cover completely.
5. Bake for 45 minutes or until the apples are tender and the topping is golden brown. Let cool, then serve and enjoy.
For a dessert that’s ultra-decadent, serve hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
A guide to visiting microbreweries
If you’re a fan of craft beer, chances are you’d have a great time visiting a microbrewery. Most offer tours that give you the opportunity to see first-hand how they make their beer and to sample their offerings straight from the source.
Planning your visit
Many microbreweries have designated visiting hours and offer tours at specific times. Generally, you can find this information on their websites and book your visit by phone or email.
Some smaller microbreweries don’t have formal visiting hours, but often you can set up a tour by getting in touch with them.
What to expect
During the tour, you’ll learn about the brewery’s history and its particular brewing methods. Typically, the tour ends in the tasting room, where you get to sample the brewery’s beers right out of the fermentation tanks.
Want to take some of that freshly brewed beer home? Many microbreweries are happy to sell you beer by the growler (a big transportable jug that holds four pints).
Usually, the microbrewery will sell growlers on site, but you can also bring your own.
Growler beers should be opened within a week, then consumed within a day or two.
After the tour
A number of microbreweries have their own brewpub on site. You’ll be able to grab a bite and enjoy a freshly brewed pint or two. Bottoms up!
Maple garlic kefta kebab
Looking for something a bit different for your next barbecue? Try kefta, a type of Middle Eastern street food.
Start to finish: 20 minutes
• 1 pound ground pork
• 1 pound ground veal
• 2 green onions, finely chopped
• 1 egg
• 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
• 3 tablespoons maple syrup
• 1 teaspoon garlic salt
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Wood skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
1. In a bowl, thoroughly mix all ingredients.
2. Divide the mixture into 8 portions. Shape each portion into a tube around one of the skewers.
3. Preheat the barbecue to medium heat.
4. Grill the kefta for about 2 minutes on each side, until browned.
5. Transfer to top grill to finish cooking. Serve either wrapped in pita bread with a yogurt dressing or on top of a salad.
If you don’t have wooden skewers on hand, you can form the mixture into burger patties instead!
5 ways to make the most out of your wine tour
Wine tours are becoming increasingly popular in wine producing areas. If you’re planning to visit one or more vineyards, here’s how you can make the most out of the experience.
1. Book in advance. Wineries aren’t always equipped to handle unexpected visitors. Scheduling your tour in advance will ensure your party can be accommodated.
2. Visit early in the day. If you go on your tour before lunchtime, the wineries you visit are likely to be less crowded. This means that the staff will have more time to discuss the wines with you.
3. Remember to eat. If you’re visiting more than one winery, plan to go to a vineyard with a restaurant. Alternatively, stop in at an eatery en route or pack a picnic lunch.
4. Try something new. Wine tours provide the perfect opportunity to sample different varietals and blends. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and experience new flavors.
5. Ask questions. Learn more about wine and the art of winemaking by asking questions. Most vintners are passionate about what they do and enjoy sharing their knowledge with others.
One final suggestion for your wine tour: book a car service or bring along a designated driver. With the wine flowing and so many exciting new flavors to try, you’re likely to drink more than you intend.
Wine tour etiquette
• Drink in moderation. Avoid becoming so intoxicated that you make the visit unpleasant. Don’t be shy to spit some of your wine into the buckets provided.
• Don’t wear perfume or aftershave. This will mask the aromas of the wine, making it difficult for you and the people around you to fully appreciate what you’re sampling.
• Buy only what you love. There’s no rule that states that you must buy wine from every winery you visit. But if you taste something you love, by all means bring some home.
Lettuces and greens: types and how to use them
Lettuces and greens are a summertime staple and there are countless varieties available for making salads. Follow these handy preservation and preparation tips to get the most out of them.
In addition to being the primary ingredient in Caesar salads, romaine lettuce has a number of uses. The larger leaves can be used in place of a tortilla when making wraps, and they’re delicious when charred on the grill. Washed, drained and wrapped in a paper towel, romaine leaves will keep for up to five days in the refrigerator.
The curly endive also known as frisée has a slight hazelnut flavor that makes it perfect for salads. It pairs beautifully with most nuts, fruits and seeds. It’ll keep for two to five days in the refrigerator, so eat it fast.
This deliciously bitter and spicy green is a close relative of cabbage and kale. Perfect in salads or as a garnish on pizza, it can also be made into pesto. It’s not very hardy, however, and lasts only two or three days in the refrigerator.
Originating from the Provence region of France, this mix of small leafy greens can include arugula, endives, lettuce, mustard greens, dandelion leaves and a host of other ingredients. Ideal with fruits and sweet dressings, this popular mix needs to be eaten fast, as some of its components wilt quickly.
This summer, experiment with a variety of leafy greens. Find them at your local farmers’ market and on shelves at your nearest grocery store.
Revive your lettuce
Has your lettuce wilted? If so, trim off any brown bits and revive it by soaking it in cold water for about 20 to 60 minutes. Use it as soon as possible for best results.