Sometimes my schedule gets the best of me and I need to recharge at home for a day or two. Last weekend was a whirlwind of Good Food Awards Road Show events, a Texas Game and Green Corn Project. All of these were really fun, but I was wiped out come Monday morning, and began to plan a slow weekend at home, before the holidays rush sets in and things get hectic again.
The two, near freezing cold fronts reminded me that once winter moves in, the harvests available from my garden and local farms, will start to move toward greens, winter squashes, and foods that we don’t necessarily pickle or can. And, with the gift giving season almost here, I wanted to get a lot of things in the larder for gifts for my mother to give to her neighbors, and some for me to give, as well.
I had been perusing relish recipes for a couple of weeks, and finally found one that agreed with me, with some adjustments. I had seen green tomatoes at a couple of farmer’s markets, and really wanted to utilize those. So, I set out to make the following recipe from Southern Food, by Diana Rattray. I wanted a recipe that wasn’t predominately any one thing, and I didn’t want it to be sweet.
8 bell peppers
4 cups green tomatoes
4 cups cucumbers
3 cups onions
3/12 cups cider vinegar
2 cups sugar (I reduced this to about 1/8 cup)
2 Tbls pickling salt
2 Tbls mustard seeds
1 teas celery seeds (I substituted coriander seeds from Springfield Farm)
2 Tbls pickling spices in cheesecloth bag
Chop all vegetables in food processor, then cook over medium-high heat in 1 3/4 cups cider vinegar for 30 minutes. Strain liquid off vegetables, return to pot with remaining 1 3/4 cups vinegar, salt, spices, and bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Fill sterilized jars and process in a water bath for 10 minutes.
The vegetables for this relish came from Johnson’s Backyard Garden and Milagro Farms. I am always ecstatic when all of the lids, in this case 10 of them, pinged in evidence that they had properly sealed.
With the kitchen all a mess, and a huge pot of water near boiling, I decided to sterilize more jars and pickle some peppers I picked up at the Wednesday Farmer’s Market. Why not?
I use the same recipe I use for okra for peppers lately. 4 cups cider vinegar, 4 cups water, 2 Tbls pickling salt. I put garlic, peppercorns and coriander seeds in each jar, not many, pack, fill and process in waterbath for 10 minutes.
My friend Jim was helping me and as he helps with Austin Urban Garden installations, was interested in seeing my garden. So, we took out something to put picked green beans in, and commenced picking. I had already cleaned up the kitchen for the most part, or I might have pickled some of these beans, which are so tender they really don’t need much cooking at all.
And I still might.
I’m really happy that I took some time to be at home, in my garden and kitchen, where I am most peaceful and relaxed. And, even better, all lids are down! Next up, something with Love Creek Apples from the Barton Creek Farmer’s Market today. They smell delicious.