Friday, July 31, 2009

NY Times article about Late Blight

Featuring my mentor Farmer Dave Hambleton, from Sisters Hill Farm in the Hudson Valley:

Did you know you can pickle summer squash?
I like taking those tiny yellow squash, or cutting up the medium-sized ones, and fermenting them in salt water for a probiotic pickle that I will enjoy in the winter when summer squash is not around anymore. A good way to use up the excess in your fridge!

Layer squash, slices of onions or crushed garlic cloves, hot peppers, & sprigs of dill in a jar, leaving an inch or two at the top of the jar. (Gently press down to fit more.) Then mix up salt-water in another jar or bowl, about 1 Tablespoon to a quart (or to taste-- it should taste like seawater!) It's important to use salt without iodine, like sea salt. Mix up until salt is dissolved. Pour into jar with squash.
Now you have to make sure that nothing's floating on the surface & that all squash is covered with water-- I do this by putting a smaller jar that just fits into the larger jar (or if you're using a 5-gallon bucket: a plate). Fill the jar with water to create a weight that will push the squash down under the water. (or if you're using a plate, fill a large jar with water & set it on the plate) I place this whole assembly into a large bowl or tray just in case there's leakage. Drape a clean towel on top of everything. Let sit in a warm room for a week or two. It should start bubbling and smelling sour like pickles.
You can continue fermenting it until you feel that it's sour enough for your taste. Then transfer it into jars with lids, and refrigerate it. Keep the jar lids somewhat loose, since it will slowly continue to ferment. Enjoy now or in 6 months from now!

PS. same recipe applies for pickling cucumbers.

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