Nothing like an abundance of veggies from the Farm Box to get one thinking of preserving. This week we had an abundance of green beans and carrots. The carrots we actually had 5 shares worth! See, someone didn’t pick up their box, so we inherited their carrots in addition to ours. Then there were three people, count ‘em three(!), who decided they didn’t like carrots and put them in the trade box. Wow, these folks don’t know what they’re missing.
I’ve pickled a fair bit in the past, but was a bit rusty, so I pick up my copy of the Joy of Pickling, which I picked up at Omnivore Books. A pretty good book, in a category with a large number of books, none of which I really like. A couple tips though from me to you dear reader. One, ignore anything the USDA says about preserving. Sure, it’ll be safe enough to survive the armageddon, but it’ll taste like crap! And two, when preserving fruit, ignore the sugar add recommendations from the package of pectin you buy – they assume you’re buying tasteless commercially grown nasty fruit. The fruit from the Farm Box (or upicks, or bulk orders) are full of natural sugar. I seriously cut the sugar adds to about a 1/5th of what they say. So if the package says add ten cups, I add two.
So back to my surplus of carrots and beans. First I peeled, then cut either in half or in quarters lengthwise depending on original size.
And then tipped and tailed the beans.
The carrots were getting a fridge pickle treatment, meaning they were not going to be “processed” in boiling water in their jars with the lids on. So they needed to get cooked a little bit to soften up, then plunged in an ice water bath.
Then they got stuffed in freshly cleaned jars. The eagle eye will see that some of the carrot jars are different – in three of them I put in some fennel fronds from the fennel from the farm box, and also some sliced garlic. The other three jars were plain. In the beans I added some garlic, some mustard seed, and some hot chili flakes. I wanted the beans to be more reminiscent of the beans they put in bloody marys in New Orleans! Yumm!
The vinegar was basically the same. Half white wine vinegar (I ran out during this so I substituted in some rice wine vinegar, and when that ran out I used red wine vinegar!), half water, with some salt and pepper. The beans were processed in boiling water for what was supposed to be 5 minutes, but I forgot about them so they boiled for around 8 or 9. Hope they aren’t too soggy.
The carrots are happily ensconced in the fridge and the beans are in a cool place. Now I just have to wait a while for the vinegar to do it’s magic! I’ll report back.