With all the beautiful produce at the market this season I am finding it hard to resist any of it. Cucumbers, pole beans, tomatoes, nectarines all seem to call my name when I walk through the market and consequently I often find myself at home with more than I know what to do with. My husband, being a true aficionado of all things pickled, has begun to help me with my overbuying problem by putting up some of these goodies to save for later in the season when their fresh counterparts will no longer be available.
Following his lead I have started to do a little pickling and preserving of my own. My experimenting so far has been confined to the world of quick refrigerator pickles and jams, mostly because I have little to no patience when it comes to all the steps involved with canning.
My first project started with a bowl of Shiro plums I had picked up from Thomas Farms. There were too many to eat and it would have killed me to waste them so I combined them in a saucepan with some organic sugar, cracked black pepper, water and a splash of champagne vinegar. When it had cooked down to a consistency of my liking I had the perfect topping for my morning yogurt. Since then I have moved on to quick pickling haricot verts, Sunburst summer squash, okra, gherkins and a variety of cucumbers called “Salt and Pepper” that the folks at County Line Harvest just started to grow this year.
Because I can’t resist a good tomato—or five—I have also begun the process of putting some of those away for later in the fall. Using a simple technique –slow roast quartered tomatoes with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, cool, puree slightly in the food processor–I simply portion the mixture out for freezing in small batches and will use them for soups and sauces. When I have too much Elephant garlic lying around as I did this past week I might roast that too and add to the tomatoes just before pureeing.
Other great things at the market this month to pickle and jam:
Peppers, especially the gypsy variety from Everything Under the Sun
Torpedo onions from Heirloom Organic
Romanesco from Dirty Girl Produce
Hiromi red plums from Tory Farms
Purslane from Four Sisters Farm
Want some tips from a real expert on preserving at home? Join us this Saturday, August 6th as Sherri Brooks Vinton, author of Put ‘em Up!: A Comprehensive Home Preserving Guide for the Creative Cook, from Drying and Freezing to Canning and Pickling joins us for a free demo in the CUESA Dacor teaching kitchen of her recipe for heirloom tomato salsa.