As story goes, fennel is good for healthy vision and sight. I remember days past when hiking through the Central Coast California foothills, smelling the aroma of wild anise. Personally, until I tasted German black licorice, I always detested the smell, flavor, and sight of black licorice, commonly confused with the the flavors of anise. Turns out that the very wild anise that I was dismissing may in fact have been wild fennel. Wild fennel is apparently an invasive species in much of North and South America, South Africa, and parts of Oceania and the British Isles. Check out the USDA Plants Database to see if it’s found near you, cool!
Above the lower plants it towers,
The Fennel with its yellow flowers;
And in an earlier age than ours,
Was gifted with the wondrous powers,
Lost vision to restore.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1892)
Hello from a really really hard floor at Chicago Midway airport. The hard floor next to an electrical outlet… oh the pains I endure to bring you pickle goodness. What better time than a three hour layover to write about pickles and catch up on blogging? What’s new with all of you? Falling into autumn? I’d love to hear what everyone is putting up these days. The Durham Farmers’ Market is phasing out its peppers and beans and moving on to squash, squash, and more squash. I get that I live in the southern growing belt now and that produce is bound to show up earlier than I was accustomed to in New England… but butternut squash in August!? It’s like seeing Halloween candy in September, which consequently means that the beautiful days of summer are coming to an end.
Speaking of squash, can we talk about the curious green markings of these locally sourced squash… from Meadow Lane Farm, these Zephyr squash appear to be a hybrid of summer and zucchini squash. “Delicious nutty taste and firm texture. Straight-neck fruit is as attractive as it is delicious… High yields and plenty of blossoms so you can enjoy both fresh fruit & fried squash blossoms!” This time last year I put up a batch of pattypan and pepper squash pickles. Here I decided to mix these squash coins, a couple hot citrus peppers (Four Leaf Farm), some fresh cilantro, coriander seeds, and garlic slivers. OK. We are boarding… Till next time.
Do you have a unique license plate that elicits you the occasional thumbs up or “What does the license plate mean? Oh, that’s funny, cool!”? The other day while driving on 95 south to MA and simultaneously trying to figure out the pronunciation of the various MA town names, I noticed some A-hole tailing me on the freeway. My initial response was something tame along the lines of, “Come on dude, I have an old car that doesn’t drive fast, get off my ass!”, but when I realized the iPhone in the rearview mirror, I realized this couple was simply trying to get a closer shot of my “Pickle” plate. I mean it’s hard to get made at someone for tailing you because they are trying to get a plate shot. I ended up waving at them, and slowing down enough so they could get the proper photo. I should really get a #pickleproblems bumper sticker as I’d be lying if I said this was the first time this has happened to me…
Beets! I’m at ’em again. On a somewhat regular basis people ask me what my favorite thing to pickle is. If you’ve been following Putting Up with Erin for sometime now, you know that the answer is probably beets. Sure my screen name for various social media sites has to do with dilly beans, but when it comes down to it, pickled beets are where it’s really at for me. Typically I either roast beets whole or peel and then boil them, but to cut down on preparation time, I decided to peel and slice them raw before roasting them. Success, in that the desired crunch was still present in the end pickle product, and also the sweet roasted flavor came right through. I snagged a couple pounds of these beautiful local beets from the Heron Pond Farm stand, and the fresh cilantro and red onions from Golden Harvest Produce Market in Kittery, ME. To guarantee the strong cilantro flavor, I added whole coriander to the vinegar brine before boiling. This beauties were traded at last night’s Seacoast Food Swap. Enjoy!