Make Your Own Pickles and More

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We were talking to  gardeners and school educators yesterday and the subject led to what to do with all the wonderful summer veggies coming along now. Here’s a great way your summer bounty is transformed into a tangy, crunchy, flavorful snack or side dish, complete with all kinds of health benefits.

Instead of the more common vinegar preservation, lacto-fermenting produces lactic acid, which not only gives dilly veggies their tang, but also preserves them without canning so that they will keep in cold storage for months with all their enzymes and vitamins intact. Here’s a natural way to get the fantastic benefits of a probiotic into your diet – with great taste and crunch.

2 quarts water
4-6 T good sea salt
1-2# veggies of your choice- young green beans (trimmed), carrots, okra, radishes, turnips, kohlrabi, fennel (use firmer veggies if doing a mix) OR all cucumbers (whole, wedges or thickly sliced)
1-2 t red pepper flakes, or to taste
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 T black peppercorns
2 handfuls of dill (flowering heads preferred, but leaves work well too)

Instructions:

  1. Dissolve sea salt in water to make a brine. Set aside.
  2. Divide the red pepper flakes, garlic cloves, peppercorns, and dill between 2 wide mouth quart-size glass jars.
  3. Place the veggies/cucumbers on top of the seasonings, straight up if they are long and thin or sideways if thicker and cut into chunks.
  4. Cover with brine solution, leaving 1 inch headspace at the top of jar. If necessary, weigh the veggies down with a small jar filled with water, just enough to allow the veggies to be submerged in the brine.
  5. Cover the jar with a tight lid, airlock lid, or coffee filter secured with a rubber band.
  6. Culture at room temperature (60-70°F is preferred) until desired flavor and texture are achieved. If using a tight lid, burp daily to release excess pressure. Taste after 3 days to decide if you like the flavor more fermented, but I find 3-6 days is plenty.
  7. Once the veggies are finished, put a tight lid on the jar and move to the refrigerator.

Makes 2 quarts.


Radish and Herb Salad with Strawberries and Sungold Tomatoes

strawberry herb salad

 

 

The combination of strawberries and tomatoes is irresistible.  This salad does that and more, adding peppery radishes, plenty of herbs and a creamy yogurt dressing flavored with maple syrup to enhance the sweetness of the strawberries.  Make it even more  kid-friendly by omitting the radishes, but for grown-ups, don’t change a thing.  Danielle demoed this recipe at Brookside and at USBG in May 2014.  Adapted from Food52. Read More


Salad of Spring Vegetables and Lemon Vinaigrette

salad

 

This elegant salad is made even prettier with the addition of spring blooms — violets, pansies, violas, redbud, chive blossom.  It goes wonderfully with seafood or meat, such as lamb, and is an ideal Easter side dish.  This was another recipe we demoed on “Recipes from the Chef’s Kitchen,” a cooking show hosted by Lindsey Gustin early April 2014.  We made it at the US Botanic Garden April 17, 2014. The recipe was adapted from Fine Cooking. Read More