Newsletters: 25 Aug 2010

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 25 Aug 2010. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

Cooking, and reading about cooking
When cucumbers start showing up at the market, it always makes me think of pickles. I’ve never had much success with them, but my mother made jars and jars of them every year. This is one of the recipes she used, perfect for the home gardener with room for just one or two cucumber vines. You can make them fresh as the cucumbers become ready, and we all know how important freshness is for good pickles.

I think Gerry Wilbert was one of my mother’s friends in Davenport (Wash.) in the 1960s.

Gerry Wilbert’s dill pickles
Wash the cucumbers and pack into quart jars with a sprig of dill and 1-2 cloves of garlic at the bottom, middle, and top of each jar. Pour in 1/3 to 1/2 cup white vinegar and 2 rounded tbsp. canning (pickling) salt; top off with cold water. Boil lids 10 minutes and seal the jars; place upside-down for 24 hours. Let cure for several weeks before using. Any jars that don’t seal should be kept refrigerated until used or the pickles will be soft.

Cantonese pickled vegetables
200 g Chinese turnips, peeled
2 carrots, peeled
1 cucumber
1/2 teaspoon salt
100 g sugar
100 ml clear rice vinegar
5 thin slices ginger, smashed with the flat side of a cleaver
Cut the turnip in half lengthways, then cut lengthways into thirds and diagonally cut into 2 cm pieces. Diagonally cut the carrots into 2 cm pieces. Cut the cucumber in half lengthways, remove any seeds and cut lengthways into thirds. Diagonally cut into 2 cm pieces. Place the vegetables in a non-reactive bowl, add the salt, toss lightly, and leave for 1 hour. Dry thoroughly. Combine the sugar and vinegar and stir until the sugar has dissolved Add to the vegetables with the ginger and toss lightly to coat. Leave in the fridge for at least 6 hours, or overnight.

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Asian-style pickled turnips

approx. 500 g. total (just over a pound) salad turnips and carrots (and a cucumber if desired); turnips should predominate
1/2 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. sugar
7 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. ground ginger, to taste
1-2 whole dried red peppers, optional

Peel (if desired) and chop turnips and carrots into pieces less than 1/2 inch thick, peel and cut cucumber into 6ths lengthwise, remove seeds, and cut into 1-1 1/2-inch pieces. Mix vegetables with salt and let sit 1 hr.; dry thoroughly. Dissolve sugar in vinegar and add ginger; pour over vegetables and peppers, and toss to coat. Chill at least 6 hours.

By Dana Huffman.

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Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish.
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.

Medieval mixed pickles

In recreationist circles, this dish is often called by its amusing medieval name, Compost.

2 lb. total parsley roots, carrots, radishes, and turnips, peeled and thinly sliced
1 lb. white cabbage, cored and shredded
1 lb. hard pears, peeled, cored, and cut up
6 Tbsp. salt
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. saffron
2 cups white wine vinegar (divided)
2 oz. currants
2 1/2 cups fruity white wine
6 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. French mustard
1/8 tsp. each ground cinnamon and ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. each anise and fennel seeds
2 oz. sugar

Bring root vegetables and cabbage to a boil, add pears, and cook until they start to soften. Drain and spread vegetables in a 2-inch layer in a shallow non-metallic dish. Sprinkle with salt, ginger, saffron, and 4 Tbsp. of the vinegar, cover, and let sit 12 hours.

Rinse well and add the currants, then pack into sterilized canning jars, leaving at least 1 inch headspace. Bring wine and honey to a simmer, skim, and add the rest of the vinegar, mustard, cinnamon, pepper, anise, fennel seeds, and sugar. Bring to a boil and pour over vegetables, covering them with 1/2 inch of liquid. Close with vinegar-proof seals and store.

From: Black, Maggie, The Medieval Cookbook. British Museum Press, 1992. ISBN: 0714105562

Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish.
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.