The very first thing I thought when I first read about Food Swaps, is: I have to make this happen.
The burgeoning movement of swapping homemade foods with local folks for their homemade foods, is growing, my friends, and that is because it is very awesome.
Luckily for me, before I had to do it all myself, I found a food swap that was just starting up! Sadly, I missed the first one due to travel, so I vowed I would not miss the next. I even recruited a friend to come along and trade, too.
In the weeks beforehand, I spent a while trying to figure out what would be fun to make for the swap. Something that would be delicious, that people would want to trade for, that would stand out.
I knew I wanted to bring some of the very delicious Tahitian Vanilla syrup that I had made before for a different canning swap. I feel like the vanilla syrup is such an easy recipe that to make it still be a nice trade, I put it in a lovely bottle from Cost Plus World Market. Its tall and has a pouring spout with a cap.
Next I experimented with two flavors of mustard. I got a great book for Christmas by Karen Solomon that had some recipes for mustard. The first one I tried, I used mustard powder, blueberry jam, and port. You have to mix it up and then let it sit (covered) on the shelf for a few weeks to mellow out. The second one, I got an idea from an Alton Brown recipe I saw online that uses the juice from sweet pickles as its liquid. Now, I had made quite a lot of sweet pickles using golden beets and onions, and there happened to be a jar still in my fridge. So I wondered what would happend if I minced up the beet pickles and added them as well as the juice to the mustard powder. So I mixed up a batch of that as well and set it out to cure.
A couple weeks later, I tried them both and thought I had something pretty interesting on my hands. I kept them in the fridge until the trade. I had two 8oz jars of each, plus some for tasting and at the swap I set out some pretzel sticks so that people could sample the wares. Id like to try the blueberry port mustard in a viniagrette.
The last thing I made was a batch of chocolate banana jam. This recipe was straight from another book I got for Christmas, called Mes Confitures. The reason I picked this jam to make was because I had a very large bunch of extremely ripe bananas on my counter, and I didnt feel like making banana bread. I grabbed Mes Confitures and looked thru it to see if she had a banana recipe, and yes, she had several! I also liked the recipe because it could be dairy free, by using bittersweet chocolate without dairy, and it was also pretty simple. The chocolate was expensive, so I jarred it in the 8 oz jars, rather than a pint or jelly jar that was 12 oz. I couldnt help giving a couple jars away to friends before the swap, so I only had 5 to take to trade.
Well, I managed to trade everything that I brought! And there are still things I wished I could have gotten, so next time I may bring more items. There were about 22 people registered for the swap, but I think there were about 15-17 people there, which meant that there was really quite alot to choose from. Many people brought more than one thing, too. And there were plenty of samples, which was great.
I ended up taking home: spicy habanero jelly (to give to a friend who is really into that sort of thing), a bottle of limoncello, a jar of sour cherry syrup, a loaf of sourdough bread, a loaf of cheddar scallion bread, two giant cupcakes, a jar of strawberry-rhubarb-orange jam or was it jelly, a jar of lemon curd, some gluten free chocolate brownie, chocolate nib granola, a plate of “halfway” cookies, truffles and english toffee. A LOT of a lot!
I didnt take my nice camera, so I failed to get much decent pictures, but hopefully people will post them here
The organizers are hoping to do one every other month, and may move the location around, but I hope to be a part of it again! And if you are my friend, I may try to drag you into it also! So start thinking about what you want to make!