Jul 14, 2011

Garden Success/Excess

What do you do when you have more garden produce than you can eat, even after you’ve given most of it away?  (And already filled the freezer.)

Make pickles of course!  We made pickled green beans and cucumber pickles.  And for the zucchini, we mad a big batch of zucchini marmalade (also known as zucchini butter).

And just in case you find yourself with a bounty from the garden, a neighbor, or the farmer’s market this summer - I thought I’d share my favorite quick and easy recipes.  Recipes for really busy people that make you look like a gourmand ("Who me? Of course I make my own pickles!").  All it takes is a few pint size glass jars (I like these from IKEA but even clean spaghetti sauce jars will do) and about 5 minutes of work for pickles and 20-30 minutes for zucchini marmalade.  Both will keep for a month in the fridge without canning (which is too much effort right now).

Adapted from Jam it, Pickle it, Cure it

1 lb of cucumbers or green beans (enough to fill jar)
1 tablespoon dill seeds
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon kosher salt
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
white vinegar

Fill the jar with the vegetable of choice. If using cucumbers, slice lengthwise into spears. If using green beans leave the ends on but remove stems. Add the spices and garlic. Fill the jar halfway with white vinegar, then top off with cool water until the jar is filled. Seal the jar.  Shake to mix.  Let it sit in the fridge for 3 days, then enjoy!

Zucchini Marmalade
Adapted from the Kitchn

2 lbs of zucchini (more or less, whatever you have on hand)
1/4 cup of olive oil
2 minced shallots
2-4 cloves of garlic minced
fresh thyme (or dried)
salt and pepper

Coarsely grate zucchini or chop finely in a food processor. Squeeze out water with a towel or let drain in a colander for 5 minutes.

In a big skillet heat olive oil and saute shallots and garlic for 2 minutes. Add zucchini and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add salt and pepper and thyme, continue to cook, stirring frequently until the zucchini caramelizes into a bright green jam.  The cooking time depends on the amount of zucchini you have. If you burn the bottom, turn down the heat and scrape the caramelized parts into the marmalade for extra flavor.

Store in sealed glass jars in the fridge. I like to heat it back up and eat it on baguette slices, though it also works well as a side dish, on crackers, or in a salad.  It tastes very fresh and summery.

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