Thursday, June 21, 2012

Moroccan Pickles: Using surplus home-grown goodness

I planted my first garden this year, or should I say my mom planted my first garden. I called will a "help me" plea. I didn't know how to use the hard-clay soil in North Carolina. I was use to the soft soil of Massachusetts. She was excited to visit and to help. I was thrilled and I have been reaping the benefits since. We decided to plant several herbs, including scallions, green onions, basil, thyme, and more. For the vegetables, I insisted on lettuce, so, of course my mom planted three different types, 4 heads of each. So you get the idea, when I would be satisfied with one or two plants of each vegetable or fruit, she went all out and doubled, sometimes tripled, the number. It has been terrific and so far controllable (however, this is only the beginning of the harvest season).

With extra herbs on hand, extra vegetables, I decided my first try at quick pickles using the recipe from Joy of Cooking plus several additional seasoning. Think Moroccan Sweet Pickles:

Moroccan Sweet and Spicy Pickles:

1 tbsp whole mustard seeds
1 tsp Harissa
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
3 cloves garlic
black pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup water
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 cup sugar or sugar substitute (I prefer Stevia + Splenda)
2 dashes of garlic powder
Surplus veggies (I used cucumbers, green onions, scallions, zucchini)

Recipe: see the Joy of Cooking

Importantly, make sure to pre-clean and sterilize your mason jars before pickling. I usually do it the day before to have it ready for the process.