Two and a half weeks since I’ve canned and apparently I’ve returned to newbie status of breaking jars! Breaking the bottom off of quart jar is not only inconvenient in that you risk the loss of your pickled veggies, but also because this ill-fate forces you to dump your canning water before processing the remainder of your jars. So it goes… plus, it’s a good reminder that just because I can all the time, doesn’t mean I’m a canning badass that can rush or skip steps. On the topic of not canning for several weeks, comes the struggle of trying to keep up the local and in-season integrity of this here blog. If you’re lucky enough to live in a city with a year round weekly farmers’ market, awesome for you (cough… CA, MD… and all the other places I’ve lived). Here in seacoast New Hampshire, the local farmer association switches off the bi-weekly location of the market. With the holidays, snow, etc. I really haven’t had the access to local, fresh, and in-season goods.
This past Saturday, bright eyed and bushy tailed, we made it to the Exeter, NH location of the market. After several laps around the high school lunchroom, I decided these Brookford Farm squash and parsnips (recipe later this week) were good post-break pickle ingredients. I feel that with winter root (and non-root) veggies, that pickling flavors become a bit tricky. No longer does ones have access to fresh and local herbs/seeds. Last winter I put up some ginger pickled butternut squash, being somewhat un-familiar with squash varieties, Keith suggested that I use carnival squash as it exhibits a sweeter flavor than it’s butternut cousin. People always assume that I have a well-thought-out plan when thinking up recipes. Quite the opposite really, typically the way things go is 1) wander aimlessly around the market distracted by everything and everyone, 2) pick whatever is in season, 3) get home and muse over the ingredient for a day or two, 4) open the spice drawer, and finally 5) hope that the resulting canned good is amazing, which I confess isn’t always the case. I knew I wanted to do something sweet and spicy, yet simple, with these carnival squash. Garam masala + brown sugar + hot pepper = weirdly perfect. Enjoy these masala habanero pickled squash wedges as is or serve them as a sweet side to any Indian main dish.