Quick Pickled Green Onions

Hi!

I love fresh green onions but sometimes I can’t get through a whole bunch before they go bad. This recipe is the perfect solution – it’s quick, easy and adds an extra punch of flavor. You can leave out the ginger and red pepper flakes and replace it with any herbs or spices you like.

This will be great with any number of dishes. Slice them thinly and add to eggs, rice or noodle dishes. Keep them whole and tuck them into a sandwich or serve along side a piece of fish.

This recipe is adapted from The Joy of Pickling, which I highly recommend if you are a pickle fanatic (and if you are, join the club!).

Enjoy!

Quick Pickled Green Onions
makes 1 pint

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2″ piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
  • 2 bunches scallions, trimmed, light and green parts only

Directions:

  • Put the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, ginger and hot pepper flakes in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. While the mixture heats, pack the green onions into a wide mouth glass pint jar; I like to arrange them vertically.
  • Once the vinegar mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat and pour over the scallions. Cover jar tightly with a nonreactive cap and allow to cool to room temperature. Transfer to the refrigerator.
  • The green onions should be ready to eat in a week and should keep for several months.

Preserving the Harvest :: Freezing

Hello!

Of all the ways to preserve food, freezing is probably my favorite. It’s a great way to preserve the nutrients of fresh food for an extended period of time, leaving one with lots of meal ideas. It is relatively quick and you don’t need any fancy equipment, just some extra storage containers. The downside, however, is space. Unless you have a deep freezer, you will be limited on the amount of food you can safely store in the freezer (your freezer won’t work efficiently and keep food as cold as it should be if it is stuffed to the brim).

If you aren’t familiar with freezing food, check out this, this and this website for information on how freezing food works and how to do it safely. Here are the tips I think are most important:

  • Click here for a list of foods that don’t freeze well.
  • Click here for a run down of storage containers.
    • To this, I would add that I prefer freezing items, especially sauces, in ice cube trays. Once frozen through, I transfer the cubes to a ziperlock bag. Others have recommended freezing soups and stews in a similar fashion but in muffin tins.
  • Here is a general guideline on how long foods can be frozen. Note: this depends on if food is stored in the appropriate package and at the correct temperature.
  • No one likes freezer burn – here are some great tips on how to avoid it.

Below are some of my favorite ways to make the most out of my seasonal produce and freezer space.

  • Soups & Stews:
    • Most soups and stews are great for the freezer but here are a few that ARE NOT:
      • Cream or dairy based soup/stews might separate when thawed (although it is possible to whisk to recombine)
      • Soups/stews that include delicate seafood won’t have a great texture when reheated
      • Those thickened with eggs or cornstarch may turn out watery
      • Potatoes change texture and breakdown when thawed, which might be ok depending on the dish, but just something to keep in mind
    • Here are some ideas for soups and stews that work really well in the freezer:
      • Pureed soup: winter squash, tomato, potato, cauliflower, broccoli and carrots all make an excellent base for pureed soup. I haven’t tried this yet, but I doesn’t this pureed Kale and Apple Soup sound like a great way to make a freezer ready meal with your greens?
      • Lentil/bean soup/stew: red lentils are a staple at my house (typically curried red lentils with greens) and they make a fantastic make ahead meal that is perfect for the freezer. This is a pretty straight-forward recipe that can be doctored up anyway you like. But don’t limit yourself to lentils – chickpeas, black beans, white beans and pinto beans are all great.
      • Grain based soup/stew: almost all grains will freeze well except for white rice. It usually turns mushy. Stick with brown or wild rice (like this recipe) and you shouldn’t have any problems.
      • Meaty soup/stew/stew: chilis and other meat based soups and stews freeze really well.
  • Sauces:
    • Most sauces, unless cream based, will freeze really well. Here is just a brief list of options:
      • Tomato based sauces, such as marinara
      • Oil based sauce, such as chimichurri
      • Pureed sauces, such as pesto
      • Peanut sauce
      • Fruit based sauces, such as cranberry sauce
      • BBQ sauce
  • Blanched Veggies:
    • Raw vegetables need to be blanched before freezing in order to stop the enzymatic activity that will degrade the nutrients, flavor and color. This is a great overview on the blanching process and how long to blanch different types of vegetables.
  • Veggie Cubes:
    • This is great for the weeks when you can’t get through all of your greens. Simply add the leaves and any tender stems to a blender with a couple cups of water. Process on high until fully broken down. Add more greens, process again, and continue this process until you have a thick but still flowable puree. Pour the puree into ice cube trays and freeze until frozen through, usually about 12 hours. Remove cubes from the tray and place in a zipper lock bag. Use in smoothies, soups or stews.
  • Fruit:
    • Fruit is one of the easiest things to freeze: wash fruit and dry thoroughly. Place on a lined baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen, transfer to a plastic bag or vacuum sealed bag.
  • Compound Butter:
    • Compound butter is a so easy to put together and can turn a boring meal into something special. It is also a great way to integrate any herbs you haven’t found another use for. I make a batch, freeze it, and then slice off chunks and add it to anything that needs a little flavor boost. You don’t really need a recipe: just add some of your favorite flavors to softened butter until well combined. Then form the butter into a log, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze (here is a step-by-step tutorial). I recently made a compound butter with parsley, green garlic, smoked paprika and sweet paprika and it is a big hit!
  • Herbs:
    • It never occurred to me that you can freeze hardy herbs such as rosemary and thyme right on the branches. This blog post reports almost fresh tasting herbs after a year in the freezer!
    • Place chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, cilantro or basil, in ice cube trays and cover with olive oil or water. Freeze until frozen then transfer to a plastic bag.
  • Baked Goods:
    • Baked goods, such as quick breads, muffins and snack cakes are great for the freezer. We will all get sick of zucchini by the end of the summer, at which point it’s time for zucchini bread! But don’t limit yourself to zucchini – try sweet potatoes, beets, and squash in your quick breads.

Let us know your tips, tricks and favorite freezer recipes!


Preserve the Harvest :: Quick Pickled Radish Leaves

Making quick pickles is one of the fastest and easiest ways to preserve the harvest. These types of pickles are made by pouring an acidic brine over produce, allowing the brine to flavor the vegetable or fruit over a number of days in the refrigerator. Although they are called quick “pickles” it is important to understand a few important ways in which they differ from fermented pickles.

  • Time: quick pickles are ready in a matter of hours or days whereas fermented pickles take weeks or even months.
  • Flavor development: quick pickles get their flavor from the acidic brine and any flavoring components whereas fermented pickles get flavor from bacteria present during the fermentation process. Fermented pickles tend to have a more complex and developed flavor but you have more control over the final flavor with quick pickles.
  • Refrigeration: quick pickles have to be refrigerated and typically last only a few weeks, unlike fermented pickles which have a much longer shelf life.

Quick pickling is pretty foolproof but here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Vinegar/Water Ratio: I suggest starting with equal parts vinegar to water to see how you like the balance of flavor. You can always adjust it during the next batch. To determine the amount of brine needed, just measure the amount that will fit in the jar you intend to use.
  • Types of Vinegar: I wouldn’t use balsamic vinegar but just about anything else goes – apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, distilled white vinegar. I like to use rice vinegar because it’s has the lowest acidity level (~4%) of those I mentioned above (wine vinegars are around 7%) so the flavor of the vegetables and spices can shine through a bit more.
  • Flavorings: Whole spices and crushed garlic are great places to start when deciding how to flavor your brine. I prefer to keep the spicing relatively mild so I can use my pickles on just about anything. Mustard seeds, bay leaves and peppercorns are classic but don’t stop there. I have added cumin seeds, fennel seeds, allspice, cinnamon sticks, cloves and dried hot chiles to batches in the past.
  • Sugar: a lot of recipes I find include sugar – and some of them have A LOT! I don’t find that I need sugar because I use rice vinegar. If you are using a vinegar with a higher acidity level (see Types of Vinegar section above) then you might want to add a tablespoon or two to help balance the flavor.
  • Vegetables: some vegetables, like greens, thinly sliced onions or thinly sliced cucumbers don’t need to be pre-cooked. Just pour the hot brine over the vegetables and you are set. Others, like carrots or beets, need to be cooked a little beforehand to ensure they aren’t too crunchy.
  • Time: the amount of time you let the vegetables sit in the brine is completely up to your taste buds. I recommend trying them every day to see how they change.

Below is a rough outline of what I used to preserve the radish leaves from last week’s CSA share. We look forward to hearing your quick pickle recipes!

Quick Pickled Radish Leaves

Ingredients:

  • 1 large bunch radish leaves, trimmed, washed and sliced into 1″ strips
  • 1-1/2 cups rice vinegar
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • A few allspice berries
  • A few dried hot peppers

Directions:

  • Place radish leaves in a quart sized glass canning jar and set aside.
  • Place the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and carefully pour brine and spices over the radish leaves. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature. Place in the refrigerator and use within 2-3 weeks.