Happy summer!! I’ve been on quite a fridge pickle kick as of late. This is a bit unlike me. I’m not sure if it’s due to not wanting to pull out my canner during these warm summer days, or if it’s because this forces me to consume everything before my travels south. It’s likely the crunch and crisp taste of early summer pickled produce. Last Sunday on my way home I stopped by Applecrest Farm Orchards in Hampton Falls, NH and scooped (literally) up a pound of these shell peas plus a couple bunches of fresh herbs. They just opened up their PYO strawberry fields, so if anyone wants to join me early next week for some pickin’ let me know. That reminds me, blueberry season in the NE is almost here!
At the too young and inappropriate age of 11 I started practicing tying a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue. Why? Because “you know what they say about being able to tie a cherry stem with your tongue… that you’re a good kisser.” ha ha ha… I’d be lying if I said that after putting up 18lbs of fresh bing cherries from the Washington State Fruit Commission and Sweet Preservation that “I didn’t attempt to twist a couple stems”.
These Chinese 5 spice pickled cherries plus my classically canned cherries and black pepper & cabernet cherry jam concludes cherry’paloza! I had originally planned on getting creative and making up my own herbed pickled cherry recipe, but after much web consultation and honestly because Leena’s looked soooo good, I opted to re-make and post Leena Eats’ Chinese five spice pickled cherries recipe. If you don’t have it or can’t find it, Chinese 5 Spice is made up of cinnamon, star anise, cloves, Sichuan pepper, and fennel seed. Try them out, and please let me know if you have any other tasty pickled fruit recipes of your own.
Cherries wild!! Do you remember the days of everything cherry? When every bra, tablecloth, bathing suit, and rockabilly chick was a canvas for the iconic image of a cherry? I actually never went through the phase, and I think I’m more than OK with it. I instead went through the “put a Roxy sticker on it” phase. Cool kid status, huh?
As part of what I am deeming “cherry’palooza” this is the second recipe in a cherry series of three that employees cherries that I received as part of the Washington State Fruit Commission and Sweet Preservation Can’bassador program. This black pepper and cabernet cherry jam was adapted from The Joy of Keeping a Root Cellar by Jennifer Megyesi as well as from Home & Farm Sense. A sweet and savory cherry jam recipe that pairs nicely with a mild cheese and cracker snack. To save your fingers, kitchen, and definitely a lot of time, I would highly recommend picking up a cherry stoner like the Westmark pictured below.
Last Tuesday morning I was abruptly jolted from my sweet sweet slumber by a loud knock at the door. My first thought, “who the hell is knocking at my door at 9am?” followed by, “oh yay! a visitor”, followed by, “oh god, please don’t be my landlord”. Making sure I wasn’t about to answer the door in my skimpy floral pjs, I threw on my robe, and then peered through the peak-hole. The intruder? A nice UPS man with a HUGE package (bend… and snap!). I wasn’t expecting a shipment/ had forgotten that I was expecting a shipment. I saw the Washington State Fruit Commission return address and faintly remembered agreeing to be a canbassador months ago. Excitement ensued quickly followed by insane anxiety as I was leaving for CA, which gave me a mere 2 days (!!!) to come up with and process 18lbs of bing cherries. Yikes!
Canbassador program? Heck yes, I want to be a canbassador! Wait, what’s a canbassador? Early last month I joined the canning ranks and was invited by the Washington State Fruit Commission and Sweet Preservation to participate in their Can’bassador program. I had to clarify with them, but the gist of the partnership is: I say, “yes”, and they send me a box of delicious Washington-grown cherries. Sweet! Literally. With 18lbs of cherries (probably 2lbs straight into my belly) I have several recipes coming your way over the next week.
Pickled chard stems… pickled chard stems! Say that five times fast and you’ll be saying, “pickled chard chems”. OK, it’s early, I’m en route to Logan Airport (off to CA), and I haven’t had any coffee yet. Did you know that chard is from the beet family, or that not all chard is swiss chard (only the green stemmed), OR that one serving of these leafy greens provides you with more than 300% of your daily vitamin K needs? Me neither!
It’s that funny time of year in the Northeast when as a “pickler” I can hardly contain my excitement for the local and in season market bounty anticipated for canning… but, if you haven’t noticed it at your local market, there isn’t much popping off yet aside from greens, green steamed things, green herbed things, and more greens things.. This past weekend while perusing the Portsouth market, I found myself at a loss for ingredients and decided to just grab… cough… greens, specifically this beautiful bunch of red chard from Conrad at Marcotte Farm for dinner. Spring forward to several hours and glasses of Pinot later and I start getting all crafty like and decide to pickle me some red chard stems. Fancy, huh? Check out this quick, simple, fridge pickled chard stem recipe below. Enjoy!
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