Return of the Zombie Hyssop

Two years ago I had a blast when the herb anise hyssop showed up in our shares and mine turned out to be unkillable. “When you bring your bundle home, trim the last half-inch of stem off, and keep in a jar of water in a cool spot in your kitchen,” Moriah suggested. “It will last a week that way in hot weather, and it may even put down roots.”

week? After a month, I named mine Victoria and proclaimed it some kind of vampire. The hyssop almost made it till Labor Day before succumbing to the ravages of me disappearing on vacation.

But! Thanks to last week’s herb selection, I have a new hyssop! If this one lasts another week it will also need a name …

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A Bad Case of the Apples

Thanks to the bounty of the fruit share, I (like the rest of you) have more apples than I can in a month. This is a great opportunity to preserve them via freezing and canning, so I don’t have to waste anything. I like to make a big batch of applesauce, save some, and turn the rest into apple butter. First up, an easy recipe for bright pink applesauce.  – Moriah Simmons Continue reading

Apple Butter

apple butterNow that we’ve got a batch of applesauce, let’s go a little further and turn it into apple butter. Have you had apple butter? It contains no actual butter (vegans rejoice!), just apples, spices, and sugar. This is a silky, spicy spread that can be slathered on toast for a quick breakfast or spooned into prebaked tart shells for an elegant dessert. -Moriah Simmons Continue reading

Spiced Pickled Pears

Pears pickled with spices

I can hardly believe the CSA season is drawing to a close–especially since I still have remnants of previous weeks’ fruits and vegetables lurking in the fridge!  I’m preserving what I can, including the pears from last week’s fruit share. This is an adaptation of a recipe in Lianna Krissoff’s book Canning for a New Generation, which is a lovely seasonally-organized guide to home preserving. These sweet-and-sour pears will join the summer’s radishes and cucumbers as part of a pickle plate before Thanksgiving dinner, and I’ll make some into a relish to serve with roast pork this winter. Read on for the recipe. –Moriah Simmons Continue reading

Pickling Day – Part 1

I’m drowning in cucumbers. I should have known better when I planted, but I never do.

When the seeds are going in the ground, it’s all hope and joy and rainbows. Then, as the seedlings emerge, I’m thrilled to welcome each and every one. “See: I am useful!” I think. “I could survive a zombie apocalypse. People would welcome me to their camp because I *can* grow things!”

But then I can’t stand the thought of murdering my babies. So I fail to thin.

And the next thing you know I’m drowning cucumbers because I have, um, 12 plants producing in what should be a space for 3.

So, what to do with 9 pounds of cucumber (today’s haul) sitting on the counter? Make pickles.

But, that’s too much produce staring at me to even think about quick pickles; there’d be room for nothing else in the refrigerator. So, it’s a day for full-on water-bath canning. (If you quick pickle, you can’t keep your goods in the pantry because they’ll spoil. But if you water-bath can, they are sealed and can be stored on the shelf for years. Trust me. My mom still sends me her circa-1988 jams.)

{More after the jump.}
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The Easiest Radish Pickles

Radish Pickles after 2 days

Radish Pickles

I love radishes, but I can only eat a couple raw in one sitting. Faced with two bunches this week, I needed to preserve some so they won’t go to waste. A little salt and vinegar draw some of the bite out of radishes while leaving them crisp. As an added bonus, after a few hours, the radish skins stain the whole batch bright pink. I served these to some friends this week, and even the radish-haters of the group admitted that these were surprisingly good. The only downside is that now I’m out of radish pickles. -Moriah

{Radish pickles recipe after the jump.}

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