Week 8: The Pickle Plate

 

I’m baaaaaaaack, y’all.

It was a fun summer and now that things are slowing down, I’m ready and energized. How was your summer? Not that I’m saying summer is over (it was 90 today, and I’m enjoying it), but I see PSL stuff and Halloween-themed decorations around.

We started back on our CSA box with Gruber Farms again (which we love). I picked it up yesterday and was excited to see okra and immediately knew it would be perfect for2018-10-03_17-19-43_253 pickling. We love pickled okra…if you haven’t had it, give it a try- it’s good. I’ve been trying to use our beautiful cookbooks more (they live on the coffee table in the family room), so I was tickled to see a really interesting fermented pickle recipe that incorporated a whole bunch of vegetables from this week’s farm box.

A Pickle Plate For Everyone (page 409)

We typically follow Chef Vivian‘s recipes to the letter (except dairy) but I had worked all day and was feeling lazy, so I used just the okra we had (it wasn’t two pounds) and substituted different peppers (we didn’t get jalapenos this week).  This is a brine2018-10-03_17-40-29_825 fermentation recipe, which means there’s no vinegar involved in the pickling process. My friend Reese (from Compost & Cava) and I used this method to make cucumber pickles last year (it was a bit of a disaster- we both love spicy things, but we had FAR too much crushed red pepper in those ones…yikes!), so I was familiar with the process. The most important aspect is ensuring that the vegetables are completely submerged in the brine- you have to weigh them down, or else they’ll spoil.

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If you’ve never pickled before, this is a really easy way to do it. You basically take your vegetables (in this case: okra, corn (on the cob), and peppers) top it with crushed garlic and peppercorns, then cover them in a brine (read: salty water). I weighed the whole thing down with an upside down plate and a mason jar. Once the food items were all submerged, I covered it with a kitchen towel and put it in the ill-used downstairs shower to ferment for four days. THAT’S IT. 2018-10-03_17-42-11_182

I’ll update y’all with another post this week with how things turned out. I posted on my Instagram story during the process if you want a peek.  I hope these delightful pickles end up on a pickle plate at a party soon.

Some things to consider when pickling/preserving:

  • Ensure all of your equipment is clean. There’s nothing worse than having a batch go moldy- it goes in the trash and you’ve wasted your time & delicious farm-fresh produce.
  • Use FRESH produce. Resist the urge to let things hang around for a week and then realize you’re not going to use it and try to preserve it. We’ve all heard it: garbage in, garbage out.
  • Check on them for a couple of days to make sure that it’s looking the way that it should. Is the food submerged? Do you see mold? Are the jars still sealed?
  • Practice good food safety. If in doubt, throw it out. You don’t want to get sick (or make anyone else sick). If you’re not sure if jars seal, refrigerate them and use the food soon.

I love preserving food. There’s nothing more exciting than opening a jar of peaches in January and reliving the summer.

What’s your favorite pickled thing?

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