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Little Big Kitchen: Adventures in Pickling

23 Sep

One of our goals for this summer was to do some pickling with our friend Jacob. Specifically, jalapeno pickling. Pickled jalapenos are a fantastic thing, but the jarred kind you buy at the store just don’t cut it. Previously the only ways to procure this delight involve finding a taco truck that pickles their own or to befriend a kindly Central American grandma who will do it for you. Anthony, Jacob and I decided to take matters into our own hands, and using the pepper bounty from Jacob’s garden, we set about pickling our own.

We used a few different types of peppers, including cayenne and habenero, but mostly jalapeno. I had been given some ball canning jars from my uncle’s cousin Ginny and we had an afternoon free to experiment. Since we were there we also pickled some cucumbers that Jake picked up at the farmer’s market. It was my first experience with both, and Jacob’s second. We were excite novices, and I followed all of Jacob’s instructions, as he was the senior novice in charge of the project.

We used shallots from our friends Justin and Melynda’s garden. I feel like this was a group effort before we even started.

Pickling will mellow the heat of the peppers, but we’ll see if I’m able to tolerate them. I adore the smell of pickled jalapenos, and love the taste when I can get past the heat.

We have several jars in the garage right now getting down to business and doing their thing. I’ll report back once we taste them. Jacob assures me it probably won’t kill us.




Little Big Kitchen: Preserving Green Onion Tops

25 Aug

Last year’s mild winter meant we had green onions in our garden, ready to go, all year long. They kept growing with a vengeance. Green onions, also called scallions or spring onions, are edible from white bulb all the the way to the tips of the stems, but the white and green parts are sometimes treated as two different ingredients as their differing texture requires vastly different cooking times. Occasionally a recipe will call for one part of the onion but not the other.


The green part of the onion is more delicate in flavor and structure than the white bulb and to stay fresh require a different method of storage.

The cool temps of the fridge are great for onion tops, but the lack of humidity not so much, so we need to create an environment that is most without being so wet that things get slimy and gross.

The onions that grew in my garden had really, really long tops so I cut them in half, though I did still have to fold the long tops to get it to fit in the bag. If you remember the trick to keeping most cut herbs fresh, you store them directly in water. That would not be good for our green onion top friends. To keep them fresh you need to moisten a paper towel (damp but not dripping) and roll up the tops inside like a soggy burrito. Toss the packets in a plastic bag and you are good to go! They’ll keep handily this way for a few days or so.

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