CSA Newsletter: Session 3, Week 3

Last week I talked to a member who was checking her box to make sure there was no more kohlrabi in it. She still had a bunch at home and didn’t know what to do with it. My only suggestion was stir fry. When I got home I realized I also had quite a collection of kohlrabi. A few days ago I tried out this Kohlrabi Curry that was really good. There isn’t anymore kohlrabi in this box, but I thought I would pass on the recipe incase anyone else had some sitting in their fridge.

What’s in the box:

    • Garlic
    • Potatoes
    • Cucumbers
    • Peppers
    • Melons
    • Rutabaga
    • Bulb Onions
    • Green Onions
    • Basil
    • Okra OR Beans
    • Tomatoes
The Waiting is the Hardest Part Half Sour Dill Pickles:
This recipe works equally well for green tomatoes…go ahead, pickle my day…

Assemble the following:

Equipment

Glass Quart canning Jars w/ lids and bands_ 4-8 whole cucumbers per jar

Primary Ingredients

Fresh Cucumbers_ preferably picked within the last 48 hrs.

Salt_ kosher, sea, pickling; NO Iodized, this will interfere w/ the process
Water_ well or distilled; chlorine in municipal water will interfere w/ the process as well
Dill Seed Heads
_ 1-2 per jar, the whole seed head w/ seed still attached to flower
Optional Ingredients
Garlic_ optional_several peeled cloves per jar, to your taste
Onions_ optional_several small, halved, peeled, to your taste
Hot Dried Peppers_optional_ as many as you like
Peppercorns_ 6 per jar, crushed if you like
What we’re doing here is a ‘lactic fermentation’ of the cucumbers.  Airborne lactic acid-producing bacteria colonizes the water & foods in your jars & works on your foods to turn them into delicious pickled treats.  The bacteria raises the acidity of the preserving liquid, making it safe and healthful for us to eat.  As long as the foods you’re preserving are completely covered with liquid during fermentation, this process excludes all the atmospheric undesireables that will spoil the foods.  This is an anaerobic process, meaning oxygen is not needed nor desired for the process; the brine used acts as a barrier between the food & the air.This is the same process used when making sauerkraut & can be used to preserve all kinds of vegetables for later use.  Try whole small radishes or salad turnips, coarsely grated kohlrabi or rutabaga or turnips, sliced cabbage, whole green beans, peeled garlic cloves, and the list goes on.  Once you start experimenting, you may find yourself trying to pickle everything!!

DirectionsMix brine.  For every quart of water, add & dissolve 3 Tbs. salt.  Yes.  3 Tbs.  Cucumbers have so much water in them, the brine must be extra salty so it doesn’t dilute the flavor of the final product.  For other vegetables (mentioned above), use 2 Tbs. per qt. water.

Wash cucumbers.  Trim 1/8″ off stem & blossom end of cucs_ blossom-end holds enzymes that can soften pickles; maybe Grandma didn’t mention that one…
Prepare your ‘optional’ items.
Pack your jars.  Add the onions, garlic, hot peppers & peppercorns to the bottom of the jar.  Pack cucumbers into jar tightly.  Leave a minimum of 1 1/2″ head space at the top of the jar.  This is important.  You need at least 1″ of brine to cover the cucumbers for fermentation.  Top jars with 1-2 heads whole dill seed heads.  These will also help hold the food down in the brine.
Fill jars with prepared brine.  Fill to within 1/2″ top of jar.  Cover the jar w/ the lid & put the ban on loosely.  Place jar(s) on a plate or tray on the kitchen counter, out of direct sunlight, for 3-7 days.  This is where the magic happens.  In a day or 2, you’ll notice lots of bubbles in the jar & perhaps even some spilling over of liquid from the jar out the top (hence the plate/tray).  This is the active part of the fermenting process; it takes several days up to 2 weeks for some of the above mentioned brassica crops.  Your pickles should be ready to eat within 3-5 days & taste best after a week.  After 5-7 days, they’ll keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.  Sometimes, you may get a film of mold on the surface of the brine; this is normal & ok.  Just skim off the film, add a little more water if needed to recover the food.  You may want to save the brine & add green beans to it after you finish the pickles; after 3 days in the fridge, those beans will change your life.  True story.Try these chopped into prepared salads like potato, egg, tuna, ham or with Rubens, or just straight out-the-jar!

If you try it, let us know how you like to enjoy them 🙂

potato harvest

Potato Harvest

swtpotflower

Sweet Potato Flower

swallowtail

Swallowtail Butterfly

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