Notes From the Farm
Most of our time spent on the farm right now is in harvesting, a bit of weeding and moving animals around. Several of our cows are enjoying the graze around the neighborhood (it takes a village to support a farm, much gratitude!) and two more will be moved to a friends’ place on the west side of the valley later this week. Our pasture is quite dry, the irrigation system we have is not sufficient this year with the excessive heat and aridity. The area we are able to irrigate is very green and turning into a jungle! Wonderful for vegetable production, and unfortunately prime mosquito habitat. With the heat some of our crops are growing faster than we can get to them; the piggies are eating with gusto! They get their share of large zucchini, Swiss chard, kale and too big to deal with cucumbers.
This Week’s Veggie Feast
Pickling Cucumbers, Dill, Sweet Onion, Slicing Cucumber, Garlic, Potatoes, Swiss Chard, Brassica Mix
New This Week
Pickling Cucumbers have more pronounced spines, denser flesh and bitter skins compared to slicing cucumbers. They are also picked at an early stage of development before the seeds are fully formed. The combination of denser flesh, bitter skins and few to no seeds creates a perfect morsel to pickle. Making pickles can be as complicated as you want it to be. People can be pretty devout to their pickle recipes and many love to share. In the recipe section I cited two refrigerator pickle recipes, one pretty freeform and one with actual measurements. Then followed it up with a fermentation recipe. We have used Feasting at Home’s kimchi recipe in the past and it turned out fantastically, but we have yet to make the cucumber kimchi pickles. Whatever you decide to make we hope that it brings you a bit of cool freshness onto your plate.
These dill heads are picked before the seeds are fully mature. The taste is greener, fresher and perfect to add into a pickling recipe or to finely chop and add to eggs, potatoes, beets, or salads right before serving. Dill is also a great addition to salad dressings and sauces. Below is a recipe for Tahini Dill Dressing.
We have a fun abundance of brassicas right now. You could get white, yellow or purple cauliflower; broccoli, and romanesco. Treat the romanesco as you would cauliflower; raw, steamed, roasted….all delicious!
This recipe really could not be more simple…
- Pickling Cucumbers
- Sweet Onion
- Fresh Dill
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Pickling Salt
- Granulated Sugar
- Whole Black Peppercorns
- Whole Yellow Mustard Seeds
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Pack a clean pint-sized jar with sliced cucumbers, onion slices, and dill sprigs. Leave a 1/2 inch of space at the top of the jar for liquid.
- In a small saucepot heat the vinegar, water, garlic, and all spices until the mixture comes to a simmer and the salt and sugar dissolve.
- Cool the brine down to warm, and fill the jar so everything is covered with brine.
- Close the lid tightly and refrigerate for 24 hours before eating.
Source: A Spicy Perspective
Easy Refrigerator Pickles
- 6 cups thinly sliced cucumbers
- 2 cups thinly sliced onions
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 1-1/2 cups cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Place cucumbers and onions in a large bowl; set aside. Combine remaining ingredients in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook and stir just until the sugar is dissolved. Pour over cucumber mixture; cool. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving.
Source: Taste of Home
Cucumber Kimchi Pickles
- 2 pounds cucumbers, sliced 1/2-inch thick (Turkish or English) see notes
- 3 tablespoons fine sea salt
- 9 cups water to cover (or see notes for ratio, if you need more)
- 1–4 tablespoons dried chiles (Korean Chili Flakes called “Gochugaru” or Korean Chili Paste “Gochujang“ or dried Arbol chilies, fresh chilies, or even Garlic Chili Paste)
- 6–10 garlic cloves
- 3 tablespoons fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon miso, fish sauce, or soy sauce
- 1 shallot or 1/4 red onion
- 1–2 teaspoon sugar or honey
optional additions: sliced carrots, radishes, sliced onion, sliced scallions, sesame seeds
PROCESS CUCS: Slice 2 pounds cucumbers (Pickling cucumbers, Turkish or English) into 1/2 inch thick rounds and place in a large bowl. Toss with the sea salt. Cover with the water, and place a bowl over top (or weight) and let sit 4-6 hours, submerged on the counter.
Make the Kimchi Paste: Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until uniformly chopped (but not too smooth).
TOSS: Drain the cucumbers, SAVING the brine. Toss the cucumbers with the Kimchi Paste. Add scallions or any other optional additions.
PACK: Pack the cucumbers in 2 large clean jars or a crock with at least an inch of headroom. Pour the saved brine over top, submerging the cucumbers. Weigh down the cucumbers, using a fermentation weight, or a small ziplock bag filled with a little water, or even a cabbage leaf.
FERMENT: Place a lid, loosely over top, and put jars on top of a sheet pan, or in a big bowl to catch any escaping juices. Place in a coolish place (65-70F) for 3-5 days, or until you see some bubbling when you tap the side of the jar.
REFRIGERATE: I prefer a light, short fermentation, for a more crisp and crunchy pickle so at this point I’ll place them in the fridge. Fermentation will continue in the fridge but at a much slower rate. Feel free to continue fermenting, to any point, up to 2 weeks before refrigerating, which will render them tangier and softer.
MAINTAIN: Cucumbers will keep for months in the fridge as long as they are covered in brine. If you like a “fizzy” brine, tighten the lid, burping the jar every week or so. If you don’t want to think about it, give the lid one loose twist, so it’s on there, but gases can escape.
SERVE: Place in a serving bowl (drain a little) and sprinkle with sesame seeds and scallions.
Salt to water Brine: 1- 1 1/4 teaspoon salt per cup of filtered water.
CHILIES: Try dried Korean Chili Flakes called “Gochugaru” or Korean Chili Paste “Gochujang“. The recipe is flexible-feel free to use fresh chilies in the paste, crushed dried Arbol chilies or even just garlic chili paste. Feel free to add whole dry Arbol chilies to the jars for presentation.
Source: Feasting at Home
Creamy Tahini Dill Dressing
- 1/2 cup raw tahini
- 1/4 cup water , plus more as needed to thin
- 3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic , minced
- 1 teaspoon raw apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt , plus more to taste
- 1 large handful fresh dill , finely chopped (stems removed)
In a mixing bowl, combine the tahini, water, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, garlic, vinegar, and salt. Use a small whisk to stir it all together until it is creamy. Taste and add another tablespoon of lemon juice if a more tart flavor is desired. (You can also add up to another 1/4 teaspoon of salt, to help make the flavor pop.)
Stir in the fresh dill, and let the dressing rest for at least 15 minutes to let the flavors meld. Serve immediately, or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up a week.
The dressing will thicken quite a bit once it has been in the fridge, so you may want to thin it out with 1-2 tablespoons of water the next time you serve it.