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!
“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. 🙂
Surprising news (!!), Putting Up with Erin has been selected as a finalist in the Indy Week Best of the Triangle 2017 for the best local-interest blog. If you love my recipes, my involvement in the local Durham food scene, or perhaps my pickle reviews around town, will you please take a minute to vote for me? Surprising (mostly because I’ve never really considered myself a local blog), taking photos of local farmers that I buy my fresh veggies from just always seems to make sense. Either way, the competition is stiff, but I’m optimistic and super honored to make it to the final round. 🙂
Quick pickles! Let’s talk about quick pickles and how I don’t typically make them… Due to the shear lack of fridge space, quick pickling has always posed a challenge for me. I’d say that less than 10% of everything I pickle bypasses my trusty water bath canner. That being said, there are a few things that even I deem fridge/quick pickle worthy: cucumber, okra, and the occasional asparagus pickles. You can’t really beat the fresh crispness achieved by the quick pickling method. I mentioned the word challenge, right? Enter left stage… this month’s Food in Jars Mastery Challenge: quick pickles.
It always makes me laugh when I see that my most popular blog post of all time is pickled eggs. Guess I caught that Sriracha fad at the perfect moment. Have you ever ordered a pickled egg (I’m not talking the marinated tea eggs you get at Asian restaurants) and found it to be bland, lacking the punch of vinegar and pickle goodness that you were hoping for? Me too! Pretty much every time. In my experience, when ordering a pickled egg from your typical fancy food establishment, it downright sucks! Sucks because they didn’t let it pickle long enough, or sucks because their vinegar to water ratio was too low. Fast forward to last night when the gent pleaded, “I understand that we live in a tiny house with a stupid tiny fridge, but why don’t you make some pickled eggs? Pickled spicy eggs? Oh, I’ll make them, can I make the pickled eggs?!” Once I reigned in his excitement, I suggested we pair fresh dill with multicolored jalapeño peppers and some garlic. To ensure that spiciness, we infused the brine with red pepper flakes first. Regarding time needed to properly pickle an egg, I have found that a healthy balance of patience and eagerness is needed. The first time I made pickled eggs, I ate them all within 2 weeks. I remember kicking myself thinking, “I should have let those pickle for like 3 more months.” With this batch I’ll try to keep my hands out of the pickle coop for at least 1 month. We’ll see…
It isn’t often that I find a bigger fan of my pickles than myself. It feels silly to say it, but I think I’m my own biggest fan… obviously after my mom. Until recently I definitely thought this was the case, but my friend Abby has recently got me beat. This morning, with plenty of trepidation, we sampled my second batch of sauerkraut. After my last sauerkraut experiment and my dire cry for help (thanks to all of you for providing suggestions), I’ve figured it out and fermentation seems to be successfully underway. It’s been 12 days since I started this batch, and we both agreed that it needs more time. I plan on doing another taste test in a week. Following the general sauerkraut guidelines from the book Wild Fermentation, I’m hoping that much won’t go too wrong this time. To make the perfect mock fermentation crock, I used a 1/2 gallon Ball jar and a 1/2 pint jar to weigh down the contents. While this apparatus will do just fine as I’m still a novice fermentor, as things get more serious I would like to purchase a legit. old fashion crock. 🙂
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