What’s Pickling?

This is our 3-year anniversary of owning our home!  And 2-year anniversary of hosting an awesome wedding – congrats again Megan and Brandon!  And coming up fast on our very own first wedding anniversary.  What an exciting, busy time it has been.  I wish I had written a daily journal of all the adventures and projects, but I never sit down to do it regularly enough.  No time like the present, though!

One of our favorite things about growing vegetables is having the chance to grow less common foods and then learn how to prepare them.  It’s educational and we have fun updating each other with ideas for the next crazy thing we should try.  Sometimes we hit a winner, but even when something is a flop, it makes for a good story and another check in the ‘remember when we tried that’ book.  In that spirit, I have 2 pickling experiments going right now:

Okra pickles are hardly a new idea to the South, but neither of us have ever had one and are not quite sure what to expect.  I’ve just picked my first couple pints of okra (new crop this year) and they are sitting in the refrigerator in dilly vinegar.  The flavor is nice so far, but they drip mucilage when you pull them out of the jar.  Hard to imagine that being a hit with guests.  I am, however, hopeful that the snot will somehow break down in a couple weeks and they will be just crunchy.  Open to comment if anyone has tried this at home.

The other new one this season is pickled walnuts, which once again neither of us have eaten before.  They get great reviews online though and are an English delicacy to pair with strong cheese, so I am going to like them.  Family pride will surely tip the scales if I have any doubt.  Here’s an early stage picture…. the finished product in the jar is basically invisible because all you can see is solid black.  It will be about 5 more weeks before they are ready for the taste testing.green walnuts

I learned about this product over a year ago, but was too late picking them last year.  You have to pick the walnuts before they form a shell and I was just slightly too late.  So it’s been on my to-do calendar all year and I think I hit the timing just right this year.  There are recipes online that go into the details, but the basic process is to brine them in a couple changes of salt water, sun dry them until they turn fully black, then pickle them in a strong, spicy, sweet vinegar bath (messing with flavors there will be the next bit of experimentation).  Then they sit on the shelf waiting for dinner parties and cheese pairings.  Fascinating, right!?  I can hardly wait to eat them.

More culinary favorites and new foods to come….. hope you are all enjoying the bounty of summer!

 

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