Friday, June 17, 2011
Whew, I've got a lot of posts lined up, but instead of getting one of those out, I've gotten myself into another pickle. Baby beet and onion pickles, green onion kimchee and Chinese pickled beet greens to be exact. I really just meant to make some baby beet pickles after trying the awesome pickle plate at Olympic Provisions, but you know how it goes with produce and a canner.
I'm sure that my Grandpa Bill, who grew and pickled his own beets every year, would have laughed at my two bunches of baby beets and tiny clutch of baby onions- from the farmer's market no less. However, when I thought of him, a child of the Depression, I couldn't just compost the onion and beet greens, and we were all tired of sauteed beet greens, soI had to find a way to preserve them too.
I remembered a recent reference from Food in Jars to an intriguing green onion kimchee recipe at Tigress in a Pickle. I added tall onion greens from our overwintered garden onions to the baby onions from the market to make about 1/2 a pint. A recipe for Chinese pickled mustard greens from Food Mayhem was then found, and I'm hoping that it will adapt well to the beet greens.
These fermented kimchee recipes would not have gone down well with Grandpa, as I remember him telling me about smelling and trying kimchee when he was stationed in Korea. Spicy and long fermented in jars dug in to the frozen ground, kimchee was neither familiar nor comforting to his Arkansas palate. However, I'm sure he would be happy to see nothing going to waste either then or now.
The baby beet and onion pickle recipe is mostly from the Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving, but I swapped out the spices for ones that I had on hand and flavors that I think I remember from Olympic Provisions pickle plate; star-anise, cloves, allspice and a pinch of my friend Jen's (Lambaste) five-spice powder.
The problem with pickles and kimchee, of course is that you don't know what they'll taste like for at least a week. Was it worth it to destroy the kitchen for these? Did the beets die in vain? The proof will be in the pickles next week, not such a long time to wait.