The calendar says its Spring, but the weather in Florida says Summer is really close. The intense heat can destroy the vegetable garden really fast. With the Summer rain every day, the vegetables begin to rot on the vine. So like many other Florida gardeners, I started planting seeds in February. While waiting for the bounty to come in I thought I would do some research of preserving the bounty this year. Last year I had thousands of tomatoes. Little Italian tomatoes and I didn't have any idea how to can them. I didn't own a dehydrator and I didn't want to just make gallons of sauce, so I gave away most of them. This year I am preparing for the harvest.
I picked up a book written by Linda Zidrich called The Joy of Pickling - 250 Flavor-Packed Recipes for Vegetables and More from Garden or Market. She wrote one on Jams and Jellies before this one. I will probably be adding that cookbook to my wish list soon.
Last night I tried my first recipe. I made Italian Pickled Raw Eggplant. I was nipping on it last night and its suppose to sit for seven days. This will not last seven days in my refrigerator because its so darn good. I pulled it out today, less than 24 hours and started munching away. I thought the eggplant would be hot because of the hot pepper that goes in the marinade, but its just there to enhance, not cause fire in the throat. I suppose you can make it that hot by adding more peppers.
Being that I am trying to cut back on my carbs, I try to eat a bread less sandwich. I love sandwiches and bread so much.
Today I placed one slice of deli ham on the plate and topped it with the eggplant, a small piece of Swiss cheese and a piece of al dente asparagus. I rolled it up like a tortilla and ate it and then made another one. The marinade made it all taste so delish. I tell you, my friends are going to begging me to bring this eggplant dish with me to parties.
Today I made Zydeco Beans. Pickled green beans are laced with a hot pepper, mustard seeds, peppercorns and fresh dill and garlic. I only made one jar to try it out. Its suppose to sit for seven days. Ha, wonder if I can wait that long. If you can beans without vinegar you have to use a pressure cooker, but with vinegar you only have to use a hot water bath for processing.
I have fennel that grows like a weed in my backyard. Linda included a recipe for pickled fennel which she states goes great with an antipasti dish. Diabetics and Antipasti work great together. I have two birthday parties coming up and I am excited to possible share my goodies with a few of my friends.
Some other recipes I am going to be trying in the weeks to come are Marinated Mushrooms, Pickled Cauliflower, Pink Pickled Cauliflower, Pickled Tomatillos, Pickled Bell Peppers, Pickled Fennel with Oranges, Russian Pickled Sweet Cherries and Pickled Apples and Onions. Of course the regular Dill Pickles are always on the shelf in the refrigerator.
If you don't have time for any of this but love your favorite pickle, save the pickle juice in the jar and add sliced pickling cucumbers (the small ones) and let them soak overnight in the liquid in the refrigerator. You should have enough salt and vinegar for a good tasting refrigerator pickle that is very crunchy. If not, you can add a teaspoon of salt and a few tablespoons of vinegar. You can add fresh garlic, onions or hot peppers too. Overnight refrigerator pickles are easy with a starter of pickle juice from a store bought jar.
My next big adventure is cheese making. This is Girl Schmuck signing off