Posts Tagged Pickles

Pickled Nasturtium Seeds (poor mans capers)

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This has to be the ultimate free food find! If you have ever grown nasturtiums you will know how rampant they are. Well they produce a lot of seeds as well and those seeds can be put to good use by pickling them! They are very similar to capers. I used to be very suspicious of capers, they resemble little critters but are actually the flower buds of the caper plant. I will admit I didn’t use capers very often until recently when I developed a taste for them scattered over salads, they add little bites of pickled crunch that I just love. With last years farm challenge, particularly the foraging, still fresh in my mind I decided to try my hand at pickling the many seeds from a friends nasturtium plants.

Once acquiring my nasturtium seeds I turned to the internet, typically it appears everyone but me had tried this! I got the inspiration for my pickled nasturtium seeds from a blog I love called Hitchhiking To Heaven, Shae even calls them “California Capers” I just love that!

I didn’t make very many, I figured small batches were probably better for my needs. I will of course be eating these alone as there is no way I am ever going to get my green food fearing husband to try these! I was happy with the result, they are a little more crunchy than capers. Salty and tangy with a peppery flavour they have been a welcome addition to my salads this summer.

ingredients (to make one small jar) recipe barely adapted from here

  • nasturtium seeds (a good handful)
  • 15 grams salt
  • 200 mls water
  • 75 mls cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 bay leaf

method

  1. Rinse the nasturtium seeds and put into a jar.
  2. Make a brine by dissolving the salt in the water and pour this over the nasturtium seeds. Leave covered at room temperature for 2 days.
  3. After the 2 day soak drain and rinse the seed pods. Place into a sterile jar.
  4. Bring the vinegar and sugar to a boil and pour the hot vinegar into the jar, covering the nasturtium seeds. Add the bay leaf and put the lid on the jar.
  5. Cool and store in the refrigerator.

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Courgette Pickles

Its summer, although apart from a few nice days one would think that Summer passed us right by this year! But Summer it is and the courgettes don’t seem to mind the weather, they still keep coming! I’ve mentioned before that my Mother in law has an allotment and passes her produce onto me. Courgettes seem to be the most prolific crop, pounds and pounds of them come my way. This year trying to keep the courgette situation under control I suggested that we try yellow courgettes, just yellow ones and only 2 plants. When we got back from our recent holiday it was to find bags of home-grown vegetables waiting for us, in the bags I found a couple of yellow courgettes and surprisingly even more green ones! I’m not sure when the green ones were planted or why they produce more than the intended yellow plants but once again I found myself up to my elbows in courgettes!

These pickles are one of the courgette/zucchini recipes I had bookmarked for the glut!  I really wanted to make dill pickles with cucumbers this year but the cucumbers really did object to the Autumnal summer we’ve had, dying off after producing one mini cucumber each. When I came across this timely recipe I thought it would be a new way to use up some of my bounty, while perhaps satisfying my dill pickle craving. I really liked them, they are really easy to make and as they are refrigerator pickles they are really quick too. They have the right amount of sweet verses tart and I couldn’t help but add my own heat with some chilli flakes.

Courgette Pickles (adapted from Martha Stewart’s Judy’s Zucchini Pickles)

  • 225 grams (7.5 0z) of zucchini/courgettes sliced very thinly
  • 1 small onion sliced very thinly
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 250 ml (1 cup) cider vinegar
  • 125 gram (5 oz) sugar
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric

My quantities make one large jar of pickles, to see how to make them see here on Martha Stewart’s website

This recipe links up nicely with the August challenge of the Sustainable Eats Urban Farm Challenge that Im taking part in. The challenge this month is food preservation.

 

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Pickled Beetroot

My Mother in law has half of an allotment plot and although very green fingered she does not eat vegetables (seriously!) She just loves the outdoors and the hard work, she is happiest weeding and pottering!  Without knowing anything about growing vegetables she plants, waters and hopes and is mostly incredibly successful. Lucky for me she passes most of what she grows on to me. While this is a blessing I truly enjoy, sometimes its a little overwhelming, as I said my Mother in law is very green fingered so most of what she grows is abundant and of huge proportions! One of the vegetables she grows very successfully is beetroot. Last year I simply roasted them, which was delicious but this year we are on our 3rd crop of beetroot, too many to roast so I tried pickled beets for the first time, they were a triumph! I thought I loved store-bought pickled beetroot until I tried these! They are sweet and spicy but not hot. The recipe was inspired by the Ball Blue book of Preserving. This made 4  jars (500 ml size)

Pickled Beetroot (Adapted from the Spicy Pickled Beets in Ball Blue Book of Preserving)

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds fresh beetroot, washed, larger ones cut in half
  • 2 cups onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 small chillies (1/2 a chile pepper for each jar of beetroot)

1 lb = 450 g

1 cup = 250 ml

  1. Put beetroot in a large pan, cover with water and cook until tender (15-20 mins depending on beetroot size)
  2. Drain the beetroot and peel, I scrape the softened skin away with a teaspoon. (wearing rubber gloves to avoid stained fingers)
  3. Cut the beetroot to desired size if, like mine, they are rather large.
  4. Add the onions, sugar, vinegar, water, spices and salt to a pan and  bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove the cinnamon stick.
  6. Add the beetroot to the liquid and cook until heated through.
  7. Put the hot beetroot into sterilised, hot jars.
  8. Using a ladle pour the liquid into the jars, leaving about a 1/4 inch space at the top of the jar.
  9. Add half a chili to each jar.
  10. Making sure there are no air bubbles in the jars, put lids on.
  11. Process for 30 minutes in a water bath or follow your usual canning procedure.

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