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I can’t remember the first time I made green tomato pickles, or why.  It might have been 10-15 years ago, but I make them in some form or another almost every autumn.  I usually make green tomato mincemeat (my great-grandmother’s recipe) every fall, too.

They can be sweet or not, and they are simple & good, either way.  This year I made them a little sweet.

Use 2 or 3 medium green tomatoes and slice them into medium wedges.  In a cooking pan combine 2-1/2 cups of water, a cup of white vinegar and 2 tbsp of salt. Boil altogether with a tbsp of pickling spice, 1/4 cup of sugar and some skinned & sliced fresh ginger, not quite as big as your thumb.  Or probably more accurately, my thumb.

Now place the green tomatoes, 1/2  a thinly sliced, small purple onion and the pickling liquid in a non-reactive container (that means non-aluminum).  Use stainless steel, pyrex/glass or ceramic.  Allow it all to come to room temperature & then refrigerate, submerged under a small plate & covered with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate & forget about it for a few days, and then you will have a tart-sweet traditional pickle that will make all your meals special.  This pickle will remain sound & good for 2 weeks in your refrigerator without heat-canning.  Good luck, if you and yours can make it last for that long.

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The Native American students involved with the Dream of Wild Health Network recently held their last sale of the summer at Little Earth-  There was a wild summer storm that afternoon in Minneapolis, and we stood protected from the warm tempest… and admired the harvest.

Of course I made a few things right away – cold Borscht, coleslaw and icebox (cucumber) pickles.  When I was growing up in the prairie provinces in Canada, I had Russian and Ukrainian friends.  Borscht was and the famous pysanky, or Ukrainian Easter Eggs were very popular.

I gradually learned how to make borscht over a period of years, particularly after I spent some time in our hippie vegetarian collective with one of our head cooks, who was Ukrainian American.  She could make borscht; and she has a fund of family heirloom recipes with poppyseed.   Actually everything she cooked was quite amazing.  I keep my borscht simple – veggies sauteed lightly, seasoned with salt, pepper, bay leaf, caraway seed and a little dried dill- and lots of good fresh cabbage and shredded beets.  Caraway is very good for digestion and it tastes good.   I simmered everything in chicken stock and let it cool before taking an immersion blender to the whole soup pot (always remember to take the bay leaves out).  Chilled, in the summer, with a little yogurt or sour cream.  Some people have been known to put a suggestion of orange zest in borscht- and it’s tasty.

Cole slaw originates in Dutch language- the word for salad I believe.  I like my cole slaw simple, but I also added pineapple from a little can, as a tribute to country-church basement dinners.

The other two dishes that came out of this trip to the Native garden stand were cucumber ice-box pickles, and some skillet cooked summer squash.  The cuke pickles have maybe 6 ingredients in total: cukes, shavings of red onion, a bruised clove of garlic, vinegar, salt and a bit of sugar.  Mix a light pickle and keep the thinly sliced cukes in your fridge.  It’s very refreshing in the heat of summer.