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canning

Pickled Okra

TIME: 20 MINUTES (not including canning time); SERVES: 4 PINTS
Adapted from Linda Ziedrich’s, The Joy of Pickling

Okra is one of my favorite veggies that we grow (it is our logo, after all). I love okra in all different forms: grilled, roasted, raw, and of course, pickled!

These are fun to pull out at a dinner party in the middle of winter, or give as gifts throughout the season. Most people know okra for its mucilaginous qualities—careful not to cut past the stem and into the pod (where the goo lives), or else the brine will thicken and become very unappetizing. It’s also important to use fresh, smaller okra. Large okra can be tough and fibrous—another unpleasant surprise when chomping on a pickle. It’s best to buy okra at a farmers market, or grow your own! Okra doesn’t keep for more than a few days, so stray away from okra with black or brown spots and soft stems. You want green, crisp pods for the best pickles.

INGREDIENTS

4 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
4 small dried or fresh hot peppers (red and yellow varieties are pretty)
4 lemon slices
4 tsp. pickling spice, or a mix of: dill seed, mustard seed, bay leaves (crushed), coriander seed, black peppercorns, allspice, cloves
1 quart water
1 quart apple cider vinegar (5% acidity)
1/4 cup kosher salt (non-iodized)

METHOD

  1. Divide the garlic, lemon, peppers, and spices evenly between 4 sterilized pint jars.

  2. Trim the stems from the okra, but do not cut into the pod itself. Stuff the okra into the jars.

  3. Mix the water, vinegar, and salt together in a saucepan and bring to a boil.

  4. Ladle the hot brine into the jars, leaving about 1/4 inch headspace. If you are not canning them, let the jars cool, then transfer to the fridge. Wait 2 - 3 weeks before eating.

  5. If you are canning, process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes. Store for at least 3 weeks before eating.

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Pickled Garlic Scapes

TIME: 20 MINUTES (not including optional canning); SERVES: 1 PINT (multiply by 8 to can a full hot water bath)

Garlic scapes are among the most highly anticipated Spring offerings. Like peas and strawberries, they are fleeting—moreso because there is just one harvest from each garlic plant. The flavor is milder and sweeter than garlic cloves, with a tender crunch. They can be used fresh or lightly sautéed in any dish you would otherwise use cloves, but they truly shine when bathed in brine.

*A little growing knowledge: For storage garlic, cloves are planted in the Fall and left to overwinter. In the Spring, the clove shoots up a green stalk and continues to flesh out its bulb. Before the bulb is fully formed, the plant will reveal its flower—or garlic “scape”—this must be harvested off each plant before fully open to prevent the bulb from shattering, rendering it useless.

Because of the need to promptly harvest every scape, growers usually have a one-time bounty. I try to can at least a dozen or so jars to give as gifts throughout the season. If you don’t grow garlic, and just want to make a single batch, this recipe can be adapted as a refrigerator pickle (no need to bust out the hot water bath). Just allow the flavors to meld for a few weeks before serving. Pickled scapes are an amazing addition to an hors d’oeuvres platter, alongside sharp cheese and cured meat.

INGREDIENTS

About 2 - 3 bunches garlic scapes (1/2 pound)
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. black peppercorns
1/4 tsp. coriander seeds
1 bay leaf
1 whole dried chili, or 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 whole dill head, or 1 tsp. dill seed
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar (5% acidity)
3/4 cup water
1 tbls. kosher salt (non-iodized)

METHOD

  1. Wash the scapes. Trim off tough ends and blossoms (you can save these bits for stock).

  2. Place all the spices into a sterilized mason jar, minus the salt. Stuff the garlic scapes into the jar, either by trimming to size, or wrapping them around in a circular pattern, and then filling in the center.

  3. Heat the vinegar, water, and salt in a saucepan until boiling. Pour into the jar.

  4. From here you can continue with processing in a hot water bath for 10 minutes to make shelf-stable pickles, or simply put a tight fitting lid on the jar and set in the fridge for a couple weeks before tasting.

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Spiced Tomato Chutney

TIME: 1.5 HOURS (not including canning); SERVES: ~3 PINTS
Adapted from David Tanis

I sometimes double this recipe during Summer when tomatoes are abundant, and I find make time to can a big batch for holiday presents. This chutney has become a necessary condiment for any coconut-milk based curry, or dish that needs a little 'flare'.

INGREDIENTS

3 pounds ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup ginger, peeled, slivered
1/4 cup garlic, slivered
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
4 - 6 small, dried hot chili peppers
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (opt., depending on your heat tolerance)
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
12 - 15 black peppercorns
1 tsp. black mustard seeds
1 tsp. cumin seed
1 tsp. fennel seed
1 tsp. nigella seeds (opt.)
1 tsp. kosher salt

METHOD

  1. In a small pan, toast the seeds over medium-low heat until fragrant, stirring often to avoid burning. Remove from heat and transfer to a plate.   

  2. Put everything together in a heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring until the mixture has thickened to a jam consistently, about 1 hour.

  3. If you are canning, ladle into sterilized jars and continue the canning process, processing for 20 minutes in a hot water bath. If you are refrigerating or freezing, let cool and transfer into containers.

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