Where were you in 1986? Maybe you remember the song by Swedish rock band Europe?
Anyway, a few gray cloudy days this last week have given us all a break from watering the garden! I am sure most of us were trying to “water” ourselves too during the recent Seattle heat wave (read 80+ degrees for 7 days) probably got most of us looking for someplace to cool off.
The gardens are producing at a good clip now, sometimes overwhelming us with extra produce that our families are sick of eating and our friends don’t want either! What to do!
Basic Pickle Brine - Yes, you can “pickle that!”
2 parts vinegar (rice wine, apple cider, white wine, red wine)
1 part sugar
1 part water
1-2 teaspspoons of salt
Make the brine by bringing the above ingredients to a boil over a high heat to help the sugar and salt dissolve.
Turn off the heat and add your vegetables to the hot liquid. You can stick to the basics like cucumbers or carrots or try something different like radishes, turnips, or beets!
Toss in whatever other spices or aromatics you might prefer. Consider black peppercorns, dill, coriander, or mustard seeds or take a stretch and toss in some spicy peppers, star anise or fresh ginger.
Let the mixture cool to room temperature and the store them sumerged in the brine in your refridgerator for up to 4 weeks.
Or put them in smaller jars and share with your friends and family.
Here is a link with more information about pickling!
Basic Vegetable Fermentation: Beyond sauerkraut!
Many vegetables can be preserved with just water and salt through a process called lacto-fermentation. This method of food preservation produces enzymes beneficial for digestion.
Any vegetable can be fermented - try one vegetable alone, or create a mix of many kinds of things you like and again, add herbs and spices to your taste.
Prepare vegetables by grating, slicing, or shredding. Make a brine from 1 quart of water and 1-3 tablespoons of salt, (depending on your taste). Pack the veggies into a mason jar and pour the brine over them. To create an anaerobic enviroment you need to weigh the vegetables down under the brine while they ferment. I once used a ziploc bag partially filled with water on the opening of the jar-hold it in place with a rubber band - it forms a seal on the surface that allows the fermentation to occur. ]\
These great lids are even easier to use! Leave the jar out on the counter for 7-10 days, checking the taste every few days until it gets to the perfect “zing” that you find appealing. To keep that level of ferment, put the lid on the jar and store in the fridge for up to 3 months. Or you can try this method of storage as well. The Easy Fermenter!
Try this any other fun things to preserve the bounty of produce you have right now! Let me know if you have any questions! Hope you are Good to Grow!