One of my goals this summer is to use the produce I get from our CSA and the farmers’ markets in a greater variety of ways. In the past we’ve frozen baba ghanoush, cooked squash, diced rhubarb, blueberries, persimmon pulp, and sour cherries. We’ve canned applesauce, apple pie filling, apple jelly, apple chutney, and quince jelly. This year, I’m planning to branch out into pickles—using the mandoline slicer I acquired last year—and new types of jams, conserves, and chutneys.
Pickles ready to go in the freezer.
It was my intention to start the pickling with bread and butter pickles, using a lower-sugar recipe from The Joy of Pickling (of which there’s a new edition with fifty more recipes, which would explain why the one I have was in the bargain bin). Then my neighbor showed up at the door with armfuls of mint that she was ‘thinning’ from her garden, so I went with what we’re calling the mojito pickle instead. This is a freezer pickle, and uses lime zest and fresh mint as flavors (in addition to the traditional red bell pepper, onion, and garlic). As far as I could tell by sampling it as I packed it into quart tubs this morning, it’s pretty great. I’m still going to do bread and butters, and if I find other cucumber-based pickles that sound appealing I’ll pick up more at the farmers’ market on Thursday.
Equipment-wise, the mandoline turned out to be much less complicated and dangerous than I’d feared, and was a breeze to use for the cucumbers. We do need to sharpen our knives before veggie slicing season really heats up, but I couldn’t get 1/8 inch slices with a knife if my life depended on it. For the bread and butters, I might even use the ripple cut option.