|Zukes and Cukes Oh My!|
Purple Majesty Potatoes, Rossa Lunga di Firenze Torpedo Onions, Garlic of Kazakhstan, Paris Market Carrots, Beets, Zukes - the pale one is Romanesco and the 2 tone one is Jade Numbat, the curly one is Trombone, Portuguese Leaf Stuffing Cabbage, Marche de Genevieve Green Beans, basil, NZ Spinach. If you have a box, you got eggs. IF you have something that looks like a fuzzy cuke in your box, it's a rare Italian cucumber.
This week's special gift: assorted jams -
Remember to cut 1/4 off the ends of the cukes to keep from eating the "bitter end". The bitter compound is likely to be more concentrated in the stem end than in the blossom end of the cucumber. It is also more prevalent in the peel and in the light green area just beneath the peel – and less likely to be found in the deeper interior of the fruit. Remember to rinse your knife after peeling. Over the years we have trialed cukes to try and never plant any of the really bitter ones. And oh my heck have we tried some bitter ones. The white cukes this week are White Wonders. Burpee introduced this now classic cucumber in 1893, after receiving it from a customer in western New York State. I picked a huge amount of these this week, and will get to pickles, shortly. We have a real shortage of dill this year, the gophers decided that they would harvest 90% of the dill. So, looks like bread and butter pickles, here we come. The fuzzy Italian cuke is a Carosella. Really cute no? There's also some Kaiser Alexander cukes out there and of course there's some Delikatesse, one of my favorites (white and green).
Refrigerator pickles are really fun to make. If you start to get too many cukes in your bag or box, here's how to tame them.
Garlic Dill Refrigerator PicklesMakes 3 pints 2 or 3 big cucumbers
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons pickling salt
6 garlic cloves, peeled (2 per jar)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper per jar (3/4 teaspoons total)
1 teaspoon dill seed per jar (3 teaspoons total)
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns per jar (1 1/2 teaspoons total)
Wash and slice the cucumbers.
In a large saucepot, combine vinegar, water and salt. Bring to a simmer.
Arrange jars on counter and dole out the spices to each. Pack the cucumber slices firmly into the jars. You don't want to damage the cukes, but you do want them packed tight. Pour the brine into the jar, leaving approximately ½ inch head space. Stick a knife in the jar on the edge to dislodge bubbles.
Apply lids and let jars cool. When they've returned to room temperature, place jars in refrigerator. Let them sit for at least 48 hours before eating.
How fun is that.
Oi Muchim (Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad)Serves 2 to 4 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoos pepper flakes
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2-3 T. of chopped red onion
2 cucumbers, sliced 1/8-inch thick
Combine all ingredients except cucumbers in a bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings, if desired.
Add cucumber slices and toss to coat (wear gloves and use your hands, or use tongs).
Serve room temperature or chilled.
No, I haven't made it yet. I started my tutorial on home fermenting with Sauerkraut. There is just so much healthful pro-biotics in fermented veges that now we are hooked. Today one of our fabulous members brought me a Korean onggi. This is like the German vessel for making kraut, except very cool in a beautiful aesthetic Asian sense. (The German vessel is gorgeous too, but it's BIG and expensive.) Where as the beautiful onggi I received is just right for my counter top! I can't wait to get started. Oh, but wait, I have to finish making BBQ sauce and canning peaches. Well, I'm not doing anything between midnight and six, so Kimchi here I come.
Kimchi is made by lacto-fermentation, the same process that creates sauerkraut and traditional dill pickles. In the first stage, the cabbage is soaked in a salty brine that kills off harmful bacteria.
In the second stage, the remaining Lactobacillus bacteria (the good guys!) convert sugars into lactic acid, which preserves the vegetables and gives them that wonderful, tangy flavor. (If you want to learn more about fermentation, I highly recommend The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz.) Otherwise, if you want to try some, drop me a note and I'll give you a wee jar in your box/bag.