Brinkley Farms got themselves a lady friend… and she’s adorable. You’ll often find me pouring over the southern hospitality and drawls of the Brinkley Farms market boys. But, this past Saturday at the Durham Farmers’ Market this vendor shot me a huge smile as I walked by. I instantly knew I wouldn’t be passing up their Creedmor grown okra. Fresh, green, and beautiful, I scooped up 4 pints to play with. Pickled okra, the perfect southern treat. Loving the flavor combination of the tarragon and vinegar, I decided to experiment here with tarragon and fresh dill. Herby goodness delivered.
Slimy pickled okra… the horror! In pickling okra there is always the fear of slimy pickled okra. Normally I don’t water bath process with the hopes of avoiding the slime. I was recently invited to participate as a judge in the upcoming Stone Brothers‘ Piedmont Pickle Pageant. Discussing the ins and outs of the contest, the pageant convener decided it was only appropriate that we do a little pickle tasting. First up, water bath canned pickled okra. I admit, I initially jumped to slimy conclusions. But, the texture wasn’t slimy at all and I figured, “hell, maybe I should try canning them again”. I present to you slime free tarragon & dill okra pickles!
It’s not every day that I pickle something as cute as mouse melons. By everyday, I actually mean ever… Second to maybe fiddlehead ferns, these fruits resemble superminiaturized watermelons, the perfect scale for a mouse-sized picnic, and were an absolute delight to not only come across but to also pickle. Native to Mexico and Central America, the mouse melon, also known as the Mexican Sour Gherkin is about the size of a grape. Honestly expecting them to taste somewhat sweet like a melon, I was quite surprised when I bit in and tasted cucumber. “Nope, I’m not a huge fan of these raw. Guess I’ll pickle them”. I had no clue what to expect when I picked up the last pint of these from Ever Laughter Farm last Saturday. As I’ve been going crazy trying to keep up with my garden bounty of daily cucumbers, I decided to extend my quick fridge pickle cucumber recipe to these little guys. I am looking forward to sharing them in a couple weeks and even more excited to grab a couple more pints at the market this weekend. Enjoy.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned it times before, but I LOVE pick-your-own. The act of picking, searching, and being silent amongst the bugs, birds, and dirt is like meditation for me. A few weeks ago, I ventured out of downtown Durham, NC and headed towards Falls Lake State Recreational Area. GPS turned off, I cruised the back roads with the windows down and bluegrass music blasting. I came upon a perfect picnic spot, a good trail run, and some decent sunbathing. Falls Lake was amazing, but coming across a hand drawn pick-your-own (PYO) sign at the cross road of two country roads, catapulted my adventure over the edge. A familiar farmers’ market stand, I was surprised to find Lyons Farm in such an idyllic setting and so close to town. I thought, “12 minutes from home, why am I not out here every chance I can get!?”. I didn’t have much cash on me, so I went for some free crop info. and a strawberry cider. They ensured my return by mentioning their upcoming crops: peaches, blueberries, and raspberries!
Happy June! Welcome to the latest version of “Friends Putting up with Erin”. This past Friday, a fellow yogini graciously suggested that we pickle at her house. Little did I know, her house meant a little, old farmhouse! Clearly a sucker for old, tiny, somewhat impractical things, Morgan’s abode presented a magical pickling experience for me. Working with bellies full of wine, pouring rain, lots of laughter, and limited surface space, we crafted these sweet and spicy zucchini pickles. Morgan was not only prepared for a vinegar filled night of fun, but also for habanero slicing. Unlike myself… idiot, Morgan didn’t even think to NOT wear gloves while slicing hot peppers. Her medical grade bright blue gloves really added a cute touch.
Mojitos… what do mojitos make you think of? Summer, bathing suits, rum? For me, it’s a standard mojito that I once ordered at an overpriced Cuban’eqsue bar in Baltimore. A spot where I recall years back hanging with my good friend John sipping minting sugary drinks from a pitcher. Located in a more “bro-dude” part of town, I remember my tom-boy ways, always comparing myself to all the tanned, tiny, sorority type of girls adorned in pastel dresses and beige high heals. Running my fingers through my short pixie hair and looking down at my cutoffs and chucks, I say to John, “compared to all of these pretty girls, guys like “that” would never go for a girl like me.” “Erin (!!), you’d never go for guys like that.” Bam, I knew he was absolutely correct, but my self doubt and body consciousness was still at question. Things have changed, I now realize that I too am and always have been a “pretty” girl. I highlight this quick memory for Body Positivity Week. OK, onto this super sexy jelly…
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