Apple Honey Tea


6 apple peels
3-4 C water
1/2 tsp. cinnamon (or 1 cinnamon stick)
1 T honey
1 T lemon juice

Place apple peels in a sauce pan. Cover with water and lemon juice and cinnamon.

Bring to a boil for 10-15 minutes, until liquid is colorful and appley.

Strain out the apple peels using a colander positioned over a large bowl.

Then, add in the honey. Taste… add additional honey or cinnamon to taste.
If you are serving right away, you may choose to add a cinnamon stick in place of ground cinnamon.  Then, to keep the tea warm, transfer to a crockpot set to “low” or “warm”.

To make ahead for a frugal holiday party beverage, just boil the apple peels and then freeze the liquid.

Add to your crockpot about 3 hours before serving, and heat through adding lemon, honey and cinnamon sticks to taste. Serve warm from the crockpot.


Sweet Pickled Beets



  • 1/2c beets, thinly sliced
  • 1/4c kolrhabi, thinly sliced
  • 1/2c Swiss chard stems, chopped
  • 2T green garlic, chopped (you can substitute cloves of garlic if you can’t find green)
  • 1T onion, chopped
  • 1c apple cider vinegar
  • 1c water
  • 1/2c brown sugar
  • 1t each dill, green peppercorns, mustard seed, Kosher salt


  1. Toss the beets, kolrhabi, chard stems, garlic, and onion together in a large bowl, then separate between two pint-sized mason jars (or one quart-sized jar).
  2. Bring the remaining ingredients to a rolling boil, then pour over the veggies in the jars. If you’re short on liquid, you can top off the jars with a bit of extra apple cider vinegar.
  3. Chill in the fridge for at least two days before serving. These will keep for about a week in the fridge, though I’ve pushed it to two and lived to tell the tale.

As you can see in the photo, we got two different sorts of beets, so I used one of each: the solid colored beets you’d expect and some gorgeous watermelon beets. Watermelon beets don’t taste very different from other beets, but they’ve got those pretty red and white stripes! I think the combination of veggies made for some really delicious, colorful sweet pickled beets!


Candied Orange Peel



3 large oranges
4 cups water
4 cups sugar + 1 cup sugar for coating the peel

Yields about 3/4 – 1 lb. candy, depending on how big your oranges are


Grab your oranges. Give them a rinse under cold water, then wipe them dry.
Whack about a quarter-of-an-inch off each end.
With a sharp paring knife, cut through the peel and into the white pith. Slice through the peel from the top of the orange to the bottom. Don’t cut all the way through the pith and into the fruit.
Make the same cut a few inches over.
Cut a shallow semi-circle into the top of the orange at the edge of the peel to connect the two cuts you just made.
Wiggle your finger under one edge of the peel. Work your finger down under the peel to separate it from the fruit.
Keep going until you’ve removed the whole piece of peel.
Repeat this process until you’ve removed all the peel in nice, whole pieces and do the same with the other oranges.

Slice each piece of peel into thin strips.
Put a few inches of water in a medium-sized pot and set it on the stove over high heat to boil. (Sidebar: Look for a post soon on how to make an easy homemade polish for your embarrassingly tarnished copper pots.)
When it’s boiling, drop in all the sliced orange peel.
Give the pot a stir to soak them all.
Boil for about 20 minutes.
Drain the peel in a colander. Run under cold water until the peels are cool to the touch (this will take a minute or two). I should note that many recipes have you blanch the peel a few times.
At this point, your peels will be floppy and kind of sad looking. That’s just fine. Leave ‘em in the colander while you whip up the sugar syrup.

Put the water and sugar in a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pot over high heat. Whisk to combine. Bring the syrup up to a boil, whisking occasionally until all the sugar melts.
When the sugar syrup is boiling, carefully add the blanched peel to the pot. (Be careful! Boiling sugar is like napalm.)
Give the peel a stir. Lower the heat a little. You want to maintain a rolling (but not furious and bubbling over) boil.
Boil the peel for about 45 minutes like this. (Keep a good eye on the pot after 30 minutes. Your peel may take more or less time, depending on how thick it is.) Your kitchen will start to smell amazing after a few minutes.
The peel is done when it’s translucent. It should look jellied and clear, like candy.

Grab a baking sheet. Line it with a few paper towels. Set a rack on top of the towels.
A few at a time, fish the peel out of the syrup with a fork.
Set the peel on your prepared rack to drain. Repeat until all the peel is on the rack.
Let the peel drip dry for about 15 minutes.

Remove the sticky rack with the orange peel from the sheet pan and set it aside on the counter. Put a clean rack in its place on the pan. (You don’t want to use the same, sticky one for the finished candy.)

After about 15 minutes, put 1 cup of sugar in a medium-sized bowl. Drop a few pieces of the peel into the sugar.
Roll the peel around to coat on all sides.
You want each piece to be completely coated, like this. Give the peel a tap against the side of the bowl to knock off the extra sugar.
Set the sugar-coated peel on the clean rack.
Repeat with the rest of the peel until it’s all coated in sugar. Space them out so they’re not touching. Leave them out just like this, uncovered, to dry out overnight.


Lemon peels: how to make a lemon brandy

Lemon brandy is a fabulous way to use up the lemon peels after making lemonade. It is a tasty drink and can also be used for a variety of baked goods and cooking flavoring purposes. It also makes a great gift. This version is an original 1880s recipe.



Lemon peels (save them after making lemonade), unsprayed and clean

Brandy, good quality


Cut the lemon peel into small pieces. Only use the thin yellow outer peel; the thick part is bitter and should not be used.

Pour the brandy into a suitable bottle or leave it in its original bottle.

Add the lemon pieces to the brandy.

Allow to stand for 3 – 4 weeks to steep.

Use as wished.


Broccoli stems: baked broccoli chips



Broccoli stems sliced into thin coins (as many as you like)

1 cup panko bread crumbs

a shallow bowl of egg wash (1 egg plus a splash of milk whisked together)

A good dash of salt, onion powder, and cayenne pepper (mix this in with the panko crumbs)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice the broccoli stems into thin coins.

Prep your egg wash and panko mix (panko crumbs + spices).

Dip the coins into a bath of egg wash and then coat them in the panko mix. Next, place them on a cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes until coins are tender and fragrant.

You could fry these up just as easily. I tried both and honestly, preferred the taste and crunch of the baked version. Plus, the baked are leaner.

Pull the chips out of the oven when they look like the picture.

Serve them up hot and pop them like chips. They are crunchy and tender and have great flavor from the panko and spices. They are perfect to munch on when you’re prepping dinner.