Appalachian Food

I’m Teaching Mountain Flavors this Week

Red pepper jelly

I’ll be teaching my Mountain Flavors class at John C. Campbell Folk School this week.

You know I have to show the students how to make my favorite of jellys: Blackberry! The berries are just now beginning to ripen in our area so I’m hoping we can pick at least a few if not the entire amount needed for jelly.

Seems only fitting that we make a run of Folk School Red Pepper Jelly so we’ll be doing that too.

Fresh peaches from farther south are beginning to show up at produce stands around this area so we’ll make a run of peach preserves and I may show the students how to make jelly from peach peelings. Remember when Granny told me not to do that and I did it anyway? If you missed me proving Granny wrong, which is a very rare thing, you can go here to read about it.

During the class we’ll discuss pickling with vinegar as well as fermenting.

We’re all familiar with cucumber pickles and things like green tomato pickles and pickled okra. Folks also pickle things like peaches and watermelon rinds. Pap told me his mother made a pickle out of wild grapes. He said he never did like them and was glad when things got better and he didn’t have to eat them.

The most common item to ferment is kraut or pickled beans and corn, but other things can be fermented as well. I have a wonderful old recipe that uses a combination of garden veggies to make the best tasting fermented chow chow from a long time Blind Pig reader (thank you PinnacleCreek!).

Papaw Tony came from a very large family. He said his mother would ferment things in the crock and can what she could during the summer months, then she’d leave the very last run of Summer fermenting in the crock and they’d eat that first. Papaw’s mother added cabbage cores to her kraut. He said if he got hungry when he was out playing, he’d sneak into the cellar and reach his dirty little hand down in the brine, feeling around until he found a core to eat.

This week we’ll make the following pickles:

I can’t possible teach about mountain food with out showing off some of our best desserts. In the class we’ll be making:

If the weather cooperates I hope to take my students on a field trip to see Tim Stalcup’s garden.

Tim lives just down the road from me. He, and his family, are among the neighbors I can’t remember not knowing.

He grows a fine a garden as you ever saw every year. He sells the produce in a little roadside stand that used to be his Grandfather Clarence’s store. I barely remember being in the store when it was still going.

Tim is a walking encyclopedia when it comes to gardening. I could listen to him talk about it all day long.

He uses the seed that’s been handed down through his family for generations.

Here’s a list of videos I like to share with the class—I especially enjoy Women of these Hills.

On the last day of the class we’ll make bread!


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  • Reply
    Aubria Farris Shaw
    July 6, 2021 at 11:49 am

    Hey Tipper, I’m going to try to make your Arsh potato cake. I’ve been wanting a recipe for a good black walnut cake. Mama was a. Appalachian woman born in Alabama
    She never knew anything about a recipe though.. Do you have that recipe ? I did watch the tutorial for the Arsh potato cake, and want to make it as soon as I get able. Mama spoke Appalachian, so of course I do too. All those words that you reference are precious to me because it sounds like my mama talking❤️

  • Reply
    Nita Standke
    July 5, 2021 at 7:58 pm

    I got home and made Arsh Tater Cake with GF flour! It’s great!

  • Reply
    Rebecca Freeman
    June 29, 2021 at 9:23 pm

    I’ll bet that class will be wonderful! Wish I could be there – maybe another time!

  • Reply
    Denise R
    June 28, 2021 at 7:48 pm

    The classes sound like a lot of fun! I use zucchini in place of cucumbers when I make spicy dill pickles and they are the best! Everyone here loves them on their sandwiches when we have burgers on the grill. Have fun teaching!

  • Reply
    Buz Salmon
    June 28, 2021 at 6:58 pm

    This sounds great Tipper! I know everyone will learn a lot and have a good time!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 28, 2021 at 5:43 pm

    You piqued my interest when I read Squash Pickles but my hopes were dashed when it turned out to be pickled beets. I love pickled beets, don’t get me wrong, but I was looking forward to something excitingly new and different. Oh well!

  • Reply
    Dennis M Morgan
    June 28, 2021 at 5:02 pm

    I agree with all the other comments. Everything sounds wonderful. I wish I could be there to eat some of everything!

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    June 28, 2021 at 4:52 pm

    Haven’t seen so many blackberries since way back in the ’50’s!!!

  • Reply
    June 28, 2021 at 3:08 pm

    Reading about all these good things is making me hungry! I really like a blackberry cobbler. Not many wild blackberries in the suburbs.

  • Reply
    June 28, 2021 at 12:49 pm

    I have to add my “Wish I could be there” to the comments. . . . on of these days I hope to make it there.

  • Reply
    June 28, 2021 at 12:45 pm

    You had the red pepper jelly recipe on a few yearss back and I copied it. Unfortunately, I can never wait until my peppers turn color, so I made green pepper jelly. It was delicious, and it was a big hit with my sis and Mom’s sitter. The sitter mentioned that jelly the last time I spoke on the phone with her. Having been foundered on jelly growing up, I loved the pepper jelly because it had a totally different taste with the vinegar. Years ago when I worked at a hospital we would occasionaly get snowed in with a blizzard, and we had a supervisor who would bring a platter of Ritz crackers with green pepper jelly over cream cheese, I can guarantee there was not a crumb left. The red pepper jelly actually looks more tasty, and when I am gifted or catch on sale some red peppers, I think I will just try that. The green and red would make cute Christmas treats. Maybe even the yellow would be tasty. Thanks Tipper for this reminder of how flavorful this is.

  • Reply
    Gina Smith
    June 28, 2021 at 12:35 pm

    Ditto Sue’s post but I live on the other side of the country!

  • Reply
    Melissa P. (Misplaced Southerner)
    June 28, 2021 at 11:15 am

    Oh, how I wish I could be there! I like making jams, jellies, and preserves. Seems like my work schedule has gotten in the way the last few years. One of my favorites is Hot Pepper Jelly. Spread a little cream cheese on a cracker and top with some of that hot pepper jelly! Makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    June 28, 2021 at 11:05 am

    I know everyone will enjoy this and learn a lot!
    We have not had any blackberries for many years and none of us like the tame ones much. We tried planting some wild ones along a fence but they never produced & had to be cut down.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    June 28, 2021 at 10:11 am

    Sounds like a delicious week.

  • Reply
    Sharon Cole
    June 28, 2021 at 10:03 am

    I would love to be a student in these classes. If I lived closer – I would. Experience is the best way to learn new things!! God bless!

  • Reply
    June 28, 2021 at 8:57 am

    My wild blackberries usually get ripe around the 4th of July. I have never made blackberry jelly, but plan to this year. Your recipe will come in handy as I make my first batch. All the other jelly recipes I copied from your blog turned out perfect and I’m sure the blackberry jelly will too. Finding canning jar lids has been a bigger problem than finding fruit to put in the jars.

  • Reply
    Margie G
    June 28, 2021 at 8:10 am

    I hope the students will really pay attention and learn from a master instructor. I know I’ve learned quite a few things from you, Tipper, and I thank you for that. The best thing I’ve picked up from you is how to make a cornbread pan any woman would be proud to set on the table!!! The jellies, jams, gravies, breads, fermentation, and trip to a garden paradise sound fun to me!!!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    June 28, 2021 at 8:00 am

    As Beatrice Foods says, “It’s a world of good things!” Hope you all have a great week.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 28, 2021 at 7:54 am

    Oh my goodness, this is making me so hungry. There is nothing like home made jams and jellies as well as pickles and stack cakes and every thing you will be making.
    Have fun Tipper! I know what a good teacher you and you love Appalachian cooking of all kinds!

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    June 28, 2021 at 7:18 am

    Sounds like an interesting week! Our blackberries aren’t ripe yet but they are starting to turn red. For some reason, I prefer blackberry jam over jelly. I think it tastes better. You know I love the Applesauce Stack Cake! I think Grandma made the best applesauce stack cake I ever tasted and I try to make mine to taste just like hers (we’ve never found her recipe). I wonder if Tony’s mom ever found out what he did? My son has a drone and he recently took a picture of our garden, it’s not that large, but the birds-eye view of it looks so neat! Have fun!

  • Reply
    Sue W.
    June 28, 2021 at 5:27 am

    Dang! I wish I’da known about this class! I would love to have taken it and gotten a chance to meet you.

    • Reply
      June 28, 2021 at 7:14 am

      Sue-I teach the class most every year. They’ve not scheduled 2022 yet, but when I get a date I’ll let you know 🙂

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