Archive for category Pickles

Courgette (Zucchini) Relish

Courgette/Zucchiini Relish madebyjayne.com

It’s that time of the year again, the sun is shining and the courgettes/zucchini just keep on coming! This relish has become one of my yearly summer recipes to get rid of use up a few of the many courgettes that come my way! I’ve tried various recipes over the last few summers and this is a combination of those.

It makes a sweet relish that goes well in any sandwich containing meat or cheese, it would be perfect with hotdogs if you eat them.  These days I don’t eat hotdogs but loved them growing up in America and even more so I loved the (bright green!) relish that we had with them. I believe we used to have Heinz sweet relish, something I’ve only found once in the UK.  My label reading habit would now have me leaving it on the shelf if I did find it again and anyhow this version of relish is just as sweet but a whole lot more natural!  When the last jar gets finished, usually at the beginning of Spring I find myself feeling a little sad and believe it or not I momentarily begin to look forward to the courgette glut again just to make more of this relish!

Courgette/Zucchini Relish

ingredients

  • 3 lb grated courgettes
  • 1.5 lbs peeled and finely chopped onion
  • 3 oz salt
  • 2 red peppers (or 1 red, 1 green)
  • 590 mls white vinegar
  • 2.5 lbs sugar (I use unrefined)
  • 1.5 tsp celery seed
  • 1 tsp mustard seed
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp black pepper

method

  1. Grate the courgettes and finely chop the onions ( I use a food processor for this, much easier if you have one). Put both the courgettes and the onions in a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt, mix the salt evenly throughout, its easiest to just use your hands here! Cover and leave for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight in the fridge although beware of leaving it in the fridge as the onions smell very strongly.
  2. Drain the courgettes and onion in a colander, rinse well with cold water then squeeze out the excess water, again hands are best for this!
  3. Put the chopped peppers, vinegar,sugar and spices into a large pan, stir well.
  4. Add the drained courgettes and onion. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Carefully fill your sterilised jars with the relish. Screw on the lids and process for 10 minutes in a water bath. If unsure of canning procedures see here

Tip

You will get 5-7 jars of relish depending on your jar size.

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My Year of the Urban Farm Challenge

Urban Fram Challenge 2012

This time last year I stumbled upon a challenge that really appealed to me. It was called the Urban Farm Challenge, a monthly blog challenge encouraging a simpler lifestyle relying more on local, organic (if possible) foods and making and growing your own food, even for city dwellers. It was to be a year of learning useful house-holding skills.  I have always lived in cities but love the idea of country life and over the years have dabbled in growing my own vegetables and canning my own jams and chutneys, often from that home-grown produce! This challenge was just a step further, there was cheese making, foraging, making herbal teas and tinctures. I just loved the idea and got the book for my birthday, I love this book! Its co written by Anette Cottrell and Joshua McNichols, two of the most inspiring people!  Both have families and are trying to live without supermarkets and the book is full of tips for gardening, composting, growing, preserving, city farming. There is advice on sourcing your own food suppliers, grinding your own grains. I loved this challenge and took part in most of the challenges although I must admit I was a bit of a fair weather partaker and did less of the winter challenges. Here is my round-up of my Urban Farm Challenge over the last year.

February: The challenge was soil improvement. I was late to the challenge but quickly ordered a composting bin with hope of making my own compost. Unfortunately the bin that arrived was huge, to big for my city garden so I donated it to a friend with an allotment and looked to the next challenge!

March: The challenge was home dairy, this was the challenge that I was most looking forward to! The idea of making my own cheese was completely new to me but I dove in and made lemon cheese, ricotta and mozzarella. I have made my own cheese several more times throughout the year and am inspired to try more, I’ve found this to be an area that I really want to explore!

Mozzarella madebyjayne

April: The challenge was gardening and sowing your own seeds. Easy for me as I grow some type of vegetable each year. My Mother in law has an allotment and takes care of the plants for me, it’s an unbelievably lucky outcome for me and I’m so grateful to her for this! Among the regular vegetables I grow I also tried some different things as part of one of the challenges. I managed to seek out collard greens, not successful at all in the cool, wet summer we had,the snails got to the only tiny plant that survived! I also planted endive (chicory) another fail! The black futsu and Naples long pumpkins were much more successful as were the yellow courgettes (zucchini).

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May: The challenge for May was foraging, not as easy as I thought! I’m too scared to try to find mushrooms on my own but I did make a dandelion salad foraged from my garden, I will admit that dandelion leaves are not the best thing I ever tasted but I am glad I tried!

Foraged salad madebyjayne.com

June: This month the challenge was botanicals and all about making your own tinctures, balms and herbal infusions. I made chive blossom vinegar which I look forward to making again. I really wanted to try to make my own lotions but am a little ashamed to admit that I still have not tried this, maybe that will be one of this years “to try’s”.

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July: Seed saving and looking forward to winter was the challenge this month, I did not take part as nothing was in flower yet. Due to the awful weather we had last summer everything was behind.

August: It was preserving this month, something I do each summer anyway. Small batch canning, cold storage, fermentation were all available to try using summers bounty. I always make jams, jellies and chutneys and last year was no different. Here is a selection of what I made  pickled courgettespeach pie preserves (so good!) and I tried fermentation with cucumber kimchi.

Zucchini Pickles madebyjayne

September: It was all about bartering this month, and swapping ones goods for those of another. One of the possible challenges was to hold a food swap, I love the idea of this and maybe one day I will try to arrange one, I just need to find enough fellow canners and growers! I don’t mean to go on about the awful summer we had last year but due to this I found I didn’t have an abundance of anything!  I did manage one swap with a friend that had a bucket of plums for which I swapped some very large squash.

October: Protein was the theme this month, and we were free to choose our own challenges from hunting to growing your own beans. Time escaped me this month and I didn’t get around to taking part.

November: The challenge this month was about grains, using whole grains and even brewing with grain mash! This was a crazy month and despite my best intentions once again I missed this one, although using whole grains is something I try to do anyway.

December: This month handcrafted holidays was our task. With the recession this is something I have been seeing more and more of and I love the idea of this. I made my own vanilla and lemon salt to give as gifts. One of the gifts I had most fun with was to make up a basket and fill it with jam, chutney, lemon salt and vanilla I had made. This was a very successful, my friend loved her gift!

Homemade vanilla extract madebyjayne

January: This was the wrap up month, but it was extended to February which is why I’m doing it now.

I had a great time with this challenge, I loved reading the book and trying new things. One day I hope to have a house with a little land where I can fulfill my Little House on The Prairie lifestyle dream! For now I will carry on enjoying some of the skills this challenge has taught me and hopefully pick up some more. Many thanks to Annette for organizing this and all the hard work she put into it, I had a blast!

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Quick Cucumber Kimchi (from Healthy Green Kitchen)

I have mentioned before that I’m taking part in the Sustainable Eats year-long Urban farming challenge. It is true that I am a city girl, also true that I don’t much like getting dirty! Having said that there is a part of me that loves the idea of living in the open and growing my own food. Maybe a future life change but for now I make do with what I can grow in my tiny city garden and with the very generous crops that come from my Mother in law’s allotment. The challenge for August is food preservation. I’ve preserved lots,  I made Peach Pie conserve also courgette relish, dill pickles, fig jam and more. There were further challenges within food preserving such as fermentation. Lacto-fermentation is meant to have many health benefits so this is something that interests me but I have no experience of it.  Last year I made Winnie’s Pickled Cukes using lacto-fermentation and they were great so I knew where to head when I decided I would like to give Kimchi a try. Winnie’s blog Healthy Green Kitchen is one of my favourite blogs, full of healthy, delicious recipes and the photography is stunning! I chose to make the cucumber kimchi as I had a bunch of cucumbers freshly picked that morning. It’s really easy to make and no cooking is involved. I found the Cucumber kimchi to be incredibly flavourful, its tangy, sweet and a little sharp. I’ve been using it as a vegetable side dish and have really enjoyed it, I can not deny that I have also eaten forkfuls of t right from the jar!

Quick Cucumber Kimchi (using this recipe from Healthy Green Kitchen)

  • I didn’t have tamari or liquid aminos so used 3/4 tbsp of soy sauce instead.
  • I used 1 tbsp of garlic rather than 2.

 

 

Technorati code CMRMC9YZ7TMA

 

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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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Chive Blossom Vinegar

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about foraging and mentioned that for the first time I had used chive flowers.  I’ve grown chives for years so I’m not sure why I haven’t used the flowers before. I am in fact guilty of not remembering to use the chives very much either.  As well as the chives I am currently growing oregano, thyme and sorrel, I forget to use them all! Getting around to remembering and using my herbs is something I’m trying to be better at.  Around the same time as the foraging post I saw this post about making chive blossom vinegar by Marisa on her blog Food in Jars. With my chive flowers in bloom at the time I made it immediately and its been brewing in the cupboard since. There may still be enough chive flowers left for you to have a try, it’s really quick and easy. I will be using the vinegar I made on summer salads.

Coincidentally this project is perfect for the Urban farming challenge I’ve been taking part in this year, the challenge for June is all about botanicals, a new subject for me, I did mean to be more adventurous with the botanical theme and try to make my own lotion or balm, watch this space!

When making the Chive Blossom Vinegar as Marisa says it’s so easy you don’t need a recipe. Not knowing how I would like it I only made a small jar, using white wine vinegar. The result is surprisingly pretty, the purple hue from the blossoms colour the vinegar a lovely shade of pink and leave a surprisingly strong onion flavour, for those in the UK the taste is reminiscent of pickled onion vinegar although milder than that.  Heres what I did.

Chive Blossom Vinegar (inspired from Food in Jars)

  • I half filled a 1 lb jam jar with freshly picked blossoms.
  • Rinse the blossoms and dry, in a salad spinner if you have one.
  • Put the blossoms back in the jar and fill with vinegar, I used white wine vinegar.
  • Seal jar and store in a dark place for up to 2 weeks, after this time strain the vinegar and store in your chosen jar/bottle.

The finished vinegar, isn’t it pretty?

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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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