Seasonal Eating – March

Posted on March 1, 2011 at 8:27 am

Continuing my ongoing series on eating and canning seasonally, what’s new for March?
As the weather is still treacherous, only robust stuff is coming into season. Thankfully there’s more to choose from this month:

* New this month
Green Cabbage
Fingerling carrots
Scallions / green / spring onions
Greens – turnip and mustard
*Bok Choi
*Swiss Chard

Arugula / Rocket

Going out of season after this month:
Collard Greens

From a canning perspective, a lot of these are not really worth canning (over cooked spinach anyone?), but you can pickle turnips, make onion relish, and freeze others to carry you through to next winter.

Recipe from Ashael Raveh

1.5 kg / 3.3lbs fresh medium turnips
1 small beet
2 stalks of celery
1-2 green chili peppers
0.7l / 3 cups of water
3 teaspoons salt
3 spoons vinegar
Half a teaspoon citric salt (Sodium citrate)
1-2 dry bay leaves
A few whole allspice cloves
Pickle jar with a tight lid – sterilized

Mix all the ingredients but the turnips, celery, chili peppers and the beet in a pickle jar. Peel the turnips and the beet, quarter and cut into slices, about half a centimeter / 0.2in thick. Chop the celery stalks into 5 cm / 2in pieces. Cut the chili peppers in half and remove the seeds. Add the vegetables to the jar. If the liquids do not cover the vegetables, add more water with one teaspoon of salt and one spoon of vinegar per glass. Close the jar tightly and leave in the shade for 4 days [Turn the jar upside-down every day or so – just to mix well – while it pickles] before moving to the fridge.

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Bread and Butter pickles

Posted on June 13, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Supposedly so tasty all you need to have with them with is bread and butter, these are the perfect accompaniment to burgers, cold cuts, cheese, and so on. The pickles should be sweet, tangy, and crisp.

Bread and Butter pickles

  • 10 cups sliced trimmed stuff*
  • 4 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup pickling or canning salt
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1tsp celery seeds
  • 1tsp turmeric

In a non-reactive (stainless steel, glass, or plastic) bowl combine [stuff], onions, and salt. Let stand at room temperature for 2 hours then transfer to a colander, rinse thoroughly with cool running water and drain.

Sterilise jars and prepare lids and rings.

In a large non-reactive (stainless steel) saucepan combine vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, celery seeds, and turmeric. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Stir in [stuff] and return to a boil.

Pack room temperature (or chilled) vegetables into hot jars within a generous ½ inch of the top of the jar. Ladle hot pickling liquid into the jar to cover vegetables leaving ½ inch headspace.

Put into hot water bath canner, process in boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid, wait for 5 minutes, remove jars, cool, and store.

* Above I say “stuff”. What do I mean by “stuff”? Well… cucumber, zucchini (courgette), yellow squash… let your imagination, tastebuds, and seasonal produce be your guide! You can also tweak and customise the spices to match your personal tastes – I like to add 1/2 teaspoon of fennel seed to the pickling mix, and throw a dehydrated chilli pepper into the jar – this tweak will not affect the preservation, but will allow you to make something completely to your own tastes. Go on, have some fun!

Why do I say to use room temperature or chilled veggies, when that will reduce the lifespan of the pickles? If you are like me and really enjoy crunchy pickles, cold-packed cucumbers retain a lot of crunch. And if you like them like I do, you won’t notice the reduced shelf life as they will all have been eaten anyway!

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