Summertime Dill Pickling

The dill is flowering and the cucumbers are stacking up--must mean it’s pickling season! Farmer Nathan and his wife found themselves with a few free hours and all the ingredients on hand to kick off this year’s canning marathon. Dill flowers add a touch of beauty to canned goods pantry. The following recipe is based off the Ball Book of Canning dill pickle recipe:

Yield: 6 - 1 pt canning jars

4-lbs pickling cucumbers (or larger sliced to 5-ish inches)

4 cups water

3 cups white vinegar

1/4 cup pickling salt

2 TBSP sugar

1 TBSP pickling spice

6-12 dill flowers (1-2 per jar)

  1. Wash cucumbers and slice into slivers or coins (personal preference).

  2. Combine water, vinegar, sugar, and pickling spice in non-reactive pot and bring to a boil. Meanwhile start getting the canner water warming up.

  3. Place 1-2 dill flowers into each canning jar and stuff as many cucumber slices as you can into the jar

  4. Ladle hot pickling liquid into the jars leaving ½ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and wipe rims before topping with lids and bands (only finger-tight!)

  5. Process jars in boiling water for 10 minutes, turn off heat and let stand for 5 minutes, and then remove jars to cool. If any don’t seal, stick them in the fridge to enjoy fresh.

Vegetarian Hash with Spring Greens

An abundance of spring greens has us looking for clever ways to mix them into our weekday menus. We found this recipe in Simple Green Suppers. While the original recipe found a way to make it fit mostly in one skillet, we found that we had to use to use two skillets the second time we tried this hash. Probably a side effect of doubling the original recipe to have yummy leftovers. Farmer Nathan’s wife also loves russet potatoes most of all, so they modified slightly to include them.

Ingredients

  • 20 ounces (Approx.) russet potatoes, cut into large chunks (baby potatoes work too!)

  • 1.5 TBS salt

  • 6 TBS butter or olive oil

  • 2 - 15oz cans chickpeas (rinsed and drained)

  • 2 ½ TBS minced garlic

  • 6 cups chopped/shredded spring greens (chard, kale, wild spinach, etc.)

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • White wine vinegar

  • Sour Cream

Instructions

  1. Put potato chunks in a large pot, add 1.5 TBS salt and cover with water. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer until tender enough to poke with fork (about 30 minutes).

  2. Melt 4 TBS butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add chickpeas and roast them stirring frequently till they are golden brown (about 7 minutes). Add in the minced garlic and stir until fragrant.

  3. Add the spring greens and ½ tsp salt and toss until the greens are wilted.

  4. Moved mixture to side of pan (or use another skillet if yours is as small as ours), melt the remaining butter and add the boiled potatoes. Using a masher or spatula, crush the potatoes, but don’t entirely mash them. Salt and pepper to taste.

  5. Turn up to medium-high and mix all components together. Press down occasionally to brown some bits. About 3 minutes for each side of the hash.

  6. Plate your hash and drizzle with white wine vinegar and a dollop of sour cream (optional)

Lettuce Plant Some Seed

Spring is in the air. Literally. Pollen is everywhere. But spring means seedlings! Even though we plant and grow year round, we still love the thrill of new sprouts and adding more variety to our fields. This past week farmer Nathan and wife Rebecca planted several trays of heirloom lettuces prepping for the summer farmers markets.

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While some seeds thrive being sown directly, we've had better results jump starting our lettuce indoors before transplanting outside. It helps prevent heat stress, bolting, and helps to ensure a more compact plant for our intensive permaculture growing environment.

We fill our trays with germination from our local feed and seed store as it is absorbent and fluff for germination and initial growth. After poking holes in each cell with the eraser side of a pencil, we're off to planting! We aim for 3 seeds per hole, but lettuce seed is small so it's hard to be precise.

After the dirty work outdoors, we bring the trays inside to mist with water before covering them on the shelf. No light is needed for germination, but the covers help to hold in humidity to help the seeds sprout.

Look out for lepo gem, fawn, fine speckled oak, garnet butter gem, really red deer tongue, cinnamon oak, and red butter romaine lettuces in our heirloom lettuce blend at the TD Saturday Market, Travelers Rest Farmers Market, Adam’s Mobile Market, and Swamp Rabbit Cafe this summer!

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Roasted Bacon Beet Salad with Strawberries

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With beets coming in this week, we browsed our shelves of cookbooks and found just the right recipe to celebrate the new harvest. Inspired by Danielle Walker’s Roasted Beet and Bacon Salad, farmer Nathan and his wife crafted a sweet and savory recipe. Next time we’re going to candy the almonds on the stove top for an extra sweet crunch!

Ingredients
1 medium beet, thinly sliced

3 slices bacon

¼ cup raw slivered almonds

½ cup sliced strawberries

2 platefuls of torn lettuce (or other salad greens)

Feta cheese (optional topping)

Vinaigrette of choice

Directions

  1. Place bacon slices and sliced beets in a single layer onto rimmed baking sheet and place into oven no need to pre-heat. Turn oven on to 400o and roast for about 30 minutes (shaking the pan halfway through to ensure maximum bacon grease coverage)

  2. Add slivered almonds and roast for 5 more minutes. Then remove to paper towel lined plate to drain and cool. Crumble bacon after it’s cooled.

  3. Meanwhile, slice strawberries and plate torn lettuce. Top with beets, bacon crumbles, almonds, and feta cheese. Drizzle with vinaigrette.

Yield: 2 servings for a meal or 4 servings as a side


Easter Flowers

In our own kitchen, we usually add our edible flowers to a tossed salad or to garnish a plate. Not the most imaginative, but still fun applications that make our dinner plates more colorful. However, Easter weekend found us feasting with extended family just across the border in Georgia where Rebecca’s aunt surprised us with sweeter applications. It was not only a feast for the tastebuds, but also for the eyes.

Before we skip ahead to the best part of any meal (dessert!), the main course included a clever way to dress up butter in seasonal color. Beyond just mixing in some herbs and chives for flavor, the butter was coated with a kaleidoscope of our pansies and kale flowers. The festive colors were then slathered all over our plate like savory sprinkles. While the meal was delicious, we’d better save room for dessert!

Dessert was the showstopper. Our pansies, johnny jump ups, pea blossoms, and kale flowers garnishing everything in sight. First up was the rustic carrot cake with a cascade of our pansies and johnny jump ups. This followed by blackberry yogurt cheesecake topped with our sweet pea flowers. Last, but not least came the cream cheese bark sprinkled with nuts and kale flowers.

The sugar high has us inspired to find more ways to brighten up our meals with natural color. Have you found any other delicious uses for our edible flowers?