Did you notice those cucumbers that resembled tiny watermelons at Suzie’s Farm’s booth? Mexican sour gherkin cucumbers, also known as the “mouse melon” is a newly re-discovered heirloom varietal that has a surprisingly sour taste. Their sourness got us thinking about pickling and the North Park Farmer’s Market has a plethora of picks for pickling. According to Chinese medicine, one should consume pickles during the hottest summer months as a tonic for cooling the stomach and strengthening the kidneys. But don’t stop at cucumbers, almost any vegetable or fruit can be pickled. Why not consider pickling chard from JR Organics, green beans or squash from Kawano Farms, and let’s not forget the pickled peppers from Valdivia Farms!
Here is a basic pickling recipe that will get you started: Start with approximately 4 pounds of any vegetables. Combine 3 cup vinegar, preferably apple cider, but rice, white or red wine are fine too with 3 cup water, 1/4 cup non iodized sea salt! Check out Salt Farm or She Sells Sea Salts for more adventurous infused and flavored salts. Cover the vegetables with the vinegar, water and salt mixture, fill sterilized mason jars and refrigerate. Some vegetables, such as chard and leeks will need to be boiled for 5-10 minutes, before jarring.
Not so much into the whole do-it-yourself thing, then stop by the Happy Pantry booth, where they have an amazing selection of pickled veggies and salads. However you choose to get your pickling fix, we think pickling is a great way to save your summer vegetables for consumption when you long for the taste of summer!