Cherry’melon Shrub
Cherry'melon Shrub- Putting Up with ErinCherry'melon Shrub- Putting Up with Erin

CherryPalooza! Today’s feature? Cherry’melon shrub with fresh lemon verbena. Taking a break to say “hi” as I work my way through the 18lbs of fresh cherries from the lovelies over at North West Cherry Growers and the Washington State Fruit Commission. Check out last week’s homemade maraschino cherries and stay tuned for a couple more CherryPalooza recipes. I’ve never been quite much of a fan of melons, but the American holiday July 4th just screams watermelon. Watermelon is the only melon I can actually tolerate.

Shrubs have became my new favorite way answer to both preserves fruit and livening up a simple cocktail. For a delicious and bright flavored summer shrub using the cold shrub method, I tossed together a couple pounds of cherries, watermelon, and some fresh lemon verbena picked from my garden. For a tasty refreshing cocktail, try a summer take on a classic Americano, recipe below. Cheers!!

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Pickled Watermelon RindPickled Watermelon Rind- Putting Up with ErinPickled Watermelon Rind- Putting Up with Erin

Maybe I’m not alone here, but as a canner/pickler I often get the question, “Erin, why don’t you try pickling this!?” The majority of the time I’m fully up for the challenge. Sometimes I tend to put it off, because either it sounds weird, or I’m just not interested in having 6 pints of something I’m not so into on my shelf. Case and point, preserved lemons, a friend suggested it, I put it off, I finally got around to it, they were weird, I tossed them after 3mos, end of story. Years ago while going through the kitchy colonial Williamsburg, VA, I tasted pickled watermelon rind. Upon 1st taste, the sweet, candy like watermelon rind pickle repelled me. Not surprisingly, literally 1 week a later, again a friend propositioned me, “Hey have you ever made pickled watermelon rind?” Nope! Six years later here we are. Last weekend as I was shopping for the 4th of July I grabbed a large watermelon. We didn’t get around to eating it on the day, so I figured it was time.

I got a bit caught up during my research as I wanted to cut down on the sugar while at the same time make them safe to can. Most recipes that I found were for quick fridge pickles with varying amounts of sugar. Other watermelon rind pickle recipes meant for canning had higher sugar content. I went with a  slight modification/addition on Paula Dean’s recipe by adding 2 jalapeño peppers (seeds in). I found that it took quite a while for the rinds to turn translucent. The result: a sweet, salty, spicy watermelon pickle with a slight gummy candy consistency. Enjoy!

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Maraschino Cocktail CherriesMaraschino Cocktail Cherries-Putting Up with ErinMaraschino Cocktail Cherries-Putting Up with Erin

Every June I receive the best FedEx shipment ever: 18lbs of fresh cherries. For the past three years I have participated as a canbassador for the Washington State Fruit Commission. Free fresh fruit… multiple blog posts… duh!? I deem the next few cherry posts CherryPalooza!

Up first: boozie cherries! Specifically, Luxardo Maraschino liquor soaked cherries. You’ve probably seen canned Luxardo “original” Maraschino Cherries in your local liquor store before. Like the store bought cocktail cherries, these are cherries are sweet, booze soaked, and oh so good. Unlike store bought maraschino cherries, these cherries only contain cherries, booze, sugar, lemon, and a few spices. No citric acid, no glucose, no other flavors! I slightly modified a recipe I found over at the Will Cook for Friends blog.  I plan on using these cocktail cherries plus their liquid in homemade cocktails.

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Spicy Garlic Scape Relish

Spicy Garlic Scape Relish-Putting Up with ErinSpicy Garlic Scape Relish-Putting Up with Erin

“Wait, you have a canning blog?” David and I have become regular friends at the Durham Farmers’ market. “We’ve been chatting for over a year, how did I not know you have a food blog!?” David is usually my source of homegrown shitake mushrooms, so when I spotted this beautiful bounty of garlic scapes at last week’s market, I was delighted to finally feature Heeks Farm. As I wasn’t too keen on the texture of plain pickled garlic scapes that I made a couple years past, and having heard about garlic scape pesto, I knew I was looking to make something I could spoon onto meat or bread. Garlic scape relish, Yahtzee! A quick modification of the garlic relish recipe I found over at Fresh from the Farm, I spiced things up by adding fresh minced jalapeño and some cilantro leaves. Mustardy, sweet, and with a great crunch, I suggest letting this relish sit for sometime to let the whole mustard seeds mellow out. Producing 8 quarter pints of lustful green relish, what   perfect item to trade at tomorrow’s Bull City Food Swap. 🙂

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Fermented Cauliflower Pickles

Fermented Cauliflower Pickles-Putting Up with ErinFermented Cauliflower Pickles-Putting Up with Erin

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you know that fermented veggies are not my forte. To be honest, the whole process terrifies me. Bacteria, breaking jars, botulism, did I mention bacteria!? I ferment almost as often as I use my pressure caner, which is never? Whenever people ask if I make fermented pickles, I tend to bullshit my way out of the question. Alas, it’s time to overcome my fear. What better to experiment with than none other than my 3rd favorite thing to pickle: cauliflower. Last Wednesday, I snagged a huge head of organic cauliflower from the lovely Lydie at Maple Spring Gardens. I find it pretty amazing that for any head over 2lbs they charge a flat rate. I sat on the cauliflower head for a day until I came across a recipe that didn’t completely intimidate me: Tammy’s fermented cauliflower recipe at One tomato, two tomato.

I decided to modify Tammy’s recipe a little bit by substituting dried peppers for hot habanero peppers, and mustard and coriander seed for several teaspoons of my trusty Happy Girl Kitchen Co. pickling spice. I have absolutely no clue how these are going to turn out. They have to sit for 8 weeks before I can taste them. So fingers crossed. I’ll be back in July with an update and review. 🙂

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