I call this my “happy 4th of July jam”. I get that today isn’t the 4th of July, but I made this Jam on the 4th, so that counts for something, right? If you recall from last summer, I’m pretty pumped about pick your own (PYO). My experience thus far in picking my own fruits and veggies is limited to apples, blueberries, raspberries, kale, herbs, and cauliflower. Picking your own veggies is so much cheaper and so much more fun. With the narrow picking window for strawberries, I had to get on it, as I’ve never picked strawberries nor made a strawberry jam before. Also, blueberry picking season just started!!
So what is it about picking my own? For me, it has to do with many things: saving money, keeping it local, helping out the smaller farms, etc. The one thing that I love the most though is the meditative aspect of it. Bare feet and a short skort I was looking for only the best berries at Applecrest Farm Orchards last week. The greatest feeling ever… Too small, too tart, too yellow… not for my jam.
Ever since hearing about a trip to SE Asia last week, I have been craving ethnic foods like no-bodies business. “Erin, what do you want for dinner tonight?” “Asian, Thai, Chinese, sushi, Indian!” With an Asian flare in mind, I decided to play around a bit with curry brines for this here pickled kohlrabi recipe. I liked the idea of adding a coconut flavor, but nixed that idea as I wasn’t sure a) how the coconut flavor would come across, and b) because I wasn’t convinced of the safety of canning coconut or coconut sweeten milk. Instead (with the input from several foodie friends), I opted for this sweetish curry maple kohlrabi recipe. The amount of maple syrup that you add is completely up to you. I initially added only 3tbsp for 3 pints of pickles, but after tasting my brine decided to double the amount for a stronger maple punch. Eat these pickles straight from the jar, as an appetizer to any Asian meal, or sliced atop your favorite Chinese chicken salad. Kohlrabi courtesy of Heron Pond Farm located in South Hampton, NH.
Did I ever mention that I co-authored a text book chapter on fermentation and the use of starter cultures? While it was quite a laughable learning experience, I do feel a bit more educated in something that before a year ago I knew little about. As many young “hipsters” these days do, I’ve had my share of fermentation fun: kombucha, kimchi, sauer kraut, and now kefir. About a month ago, I was offered a kefir starter culture for some pickles at the Seacoast Food Swap. I had tried store bought kefir before, but never really bought into the phenomenon because I honestly just thought it was another drinkable yogurt product. My first batch went horribly wrong as for some reason I thought fermenting milk at room temperature for 7days was OK (duh). But, now that I’ve got the hang of it, I’m kefir wild! It’s soooo much better and cheaper than the pasteurized kefir products you find at the grocer. I’ve actually started skipping my morning routine of yogurt and fruit for a cup of this slightly tart ferment mixed with local maple syrup. Plus, with the summer temperatures arise, I’m forced to take a break from my other fermentation hobby (kombucha) due to defeat by god damn fruit flies…
You may be wondering, “what’s all the hub-bub about with this kefir stuff?” I am still learning about the history, health benefits, etc. of kefir, but I thought as I’m super excited about this new found glory, that I’d share some interesting stuff I’ve learned over the past couple weeks with you. Because it’s late and I’m feeling weird, I’ve opted to share the odd things about this here fermented product.
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.
© 2015 Erin A. Urquhart All Rights Reserved.