Warming up to Summer Preserving

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We haven’t yet gotten into canning this year. Our cherry plums all ripened on one of the hottest weekends so far, so we gathered them and put them into gallon sized ziplocks to wait for a cooler time to can. But we have been playing around with pickling. We got our first successful cauliflower harvest this year! We’ve tried in the past and either they went straight to bloom or were covered in bugs – yuck! But this year for some reason, Lady Luck was with us in the cauliflower department.

We tend to like everything pickled so we thought we’d give pickled cauliflower a try. We had a few ripe zucchinis too so we threw those in for good measure. It worked out incredibly and now our two boys declare cauliflower their favorite! Any method of preparing veggies that makes them the favorite of a 3 & 5 year old set of boys is welcome in my book. Here is how we did it.

Pickled Cauliflower

For the brine:
4 c. white vinegar
2 c. water
3 T. salt

Into each jar: a heaping Tablespoon of pickling spices (we get ours from Penzeys) & 3 garlic cloves sliced
Blanch the cauliflower by blanching in hot water briefly, lift it out and place it into ice water. Zucchini only needs a 30 second blanch. Place cooled veggies into jars and cover with brine. Refrigerate and enjoy!

The other recipe we tried was for zucchini from a new book called La Cucinathat has become Scott’s new bible. The book is an exhaustive collection of recipes gathered by the Accademia Italiana della Cucina. They traveled all over Italy talking to every nona they could and gathered over 2,000 recipes to create this archive. It is a huge book! Anyway, this recipe for zucchini asks you to slice them and lay them in the sun until dry. We didn’t know exactly how long or how dry they meant so we just left them out until the outside skins were dry – a few hours. Saute them in olive oil. And layer them with chopped mint, raw garlic and a healthy sprinkle of vinegar (they suggest white wine vinegar, we used just plain white vinegar). The immediate results are fairly unimpressive. We had it right afterwards for dinner and weren’t that excited about it. However, the next couple of days I pulled them out of the fridge and had them for lunch and they were incredible. This recipes really does need to sit at least for 24 hours. I look forward to making this again.

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Have you done any summer preserving yet?

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6 Comments

Filed under preserving, recipes

6 responses to “Warming up to Summer Preserving

  1. I’ve only frozen strawberries so far and dried garlic & onions. I’m just waiting for the salsa garden to ripen then there will be massive canning.

  2. I’ve done several batches of boysenberry jam and other various flower jellies and one batch of pickled beets which I put too much clove in so they taste off to me.

    I’m hoping my tomato plants hold out and produce some abundance for me, home canned tomatoes are high on our list of often used food all year.

    Thanks for the recipe (and book rec, I’m a sucker for books… esp cook books!) I’ll try it! OH and we didn’t get a cauliflower harvest this year but only because our chickens got to the seedlings and I never started a new batch. Grrrr.

  3. OHHHHHH those both sound delicious! I haven’t done any canning yet – not sure if I will – I’m always gunshy. I have a few rogue cuckes that will most likely all be ready at once so I might do some pickles (I LOVE bread and butter pickles and have always wanted to try) and the kids can’t get enough of dill pickles so that will probably be our first canning for the season. I need to come over and can with you guys one day so I can get some pointers :)

  4. VT Garderner

    Pickling season hasn’t started yet here but soon! I did make strawberry freezer jam and I have some basil drying. Thanks for the recipes- I will have six heads of cauliflower ripen all at once so pickling a head or two sounds great:)

  5. I haven’t been able to preserve anything from our own garden yet, but I got 15lbs of pitted tart cherries Thursday and spent yesterday canning them into jam and just in a simple light syrup. Ok, reality is that I got 5 jars of jam and 6 jars of plain cherries… and I now have 18 cups of cherries in the freezer.

  6. Pingback: Four Years of Julys | A Sonoma Garden

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