It was hot yesterday. So the last thing I wanted to do was boil anything on the stove. But yet I had picked up my weekly Red Fire Farm farm share and still had carrots, peppers, cukes and other assorted veggies left over from my garden and previous weeks of bounty, some of which were starting to look worse for wear. What to do to make sure none of this goes to waste?
I did some creative freezing (which I’ll detail in a later post) but was also inspired by a delicious little side of curried pickled veggies from Tupelo in Cambridge that my beau and I treated ourselves to a week ago. But since I wanted to keep my heating of things to a minimum, I first gathered all of the jars of pickles that were sitting in various stages of emptiness, in the fridge. I thinly sliced cucumbers and added them to my favorite brine, making sure there was enough liquid to cover them. Those I returned to the fridge as-is, to sit for at least a few days until I sample them.
I had one large jar of mostly brine, most likely from a pickling experiment earlier in the season, that tasted mostly of vinegar and salt, with some mustard seeds and peppercorns floating in the bottom. I hate to throw anything away – even pickle brine – so I strained the liquid and then added it to a sauce pan where I had toasted about a tablespoon of curry powder for a minute or so. To the curry-brine I added a tablespoon of honey and a little water, only because the vinegar was so strong to begin with. If I had liked the taste, I might have added equal parts distilled white vinegar and water. While I was waiting for that to boil I cleaned and par-boiled the beets and carrots that I intended to pickle. Peppers, cauliflower, onions would all work well in this, although not everything would need to be parboiled. (OK – truth here: I zapped them, covered in warm water, in the microwave for a few minutes just to take away the bite.) Once the veg were al dente I stuffed them back into the pickle jar and covered them with the boiling brine. I let the jar set out until it was room temp, and then I put it into the fridge for storage. I’ll wait a few days to taste these as well.
So: no wasted pickle brine, no wasted veg, and (almost) no cooking.