Fall Harvest Pickle
This is part of my preserving column for a bunch of regional Ontario newspapers. For the original post, go here.
Last year around this time I was cleaning up my garden before putting it to bed for the winter. Looking upon the many delightful things I had harvested—for the garden still held much bounty in spite of winding down—inspiration hit, and I created this recipe, supplanting the simple cauliflower pickle I planned for a series of upcoming workshops. While I toyed with other names, such as Garden’s Last Breath and Winter is Coming, ultimately Fall Harvest won out, as it looks like a veritable cornucopia.
It can be hard to know what to do with an abundance of green cherry tomatoes, with those last few hot peppers and sprigs of herbs, or indeed with the mountain of affordable local cauliflower at the market. This pickle marries them all, and very attractively. In particular it pays off aesthetically to use both white cauliflower and romanesco (if you can get it), as its green color and fractal shapes contribute much interest. Truly there is something for everyone in this mixture.
The beauty of this recipe is that you can make as few or as many jars as you like, depending on your harvest. Now here’s the hard part: you must let pickles mature at least three weeks before enjoying. They will be ready, though, in time for any holiday meals where they might contribute to garnishing hors d’oeuvres or cocktails, supplying an acidic foil to rich cheese and charcuterie plates, or simply holding their own as a pickle plate.
Fall Harvest Pickle
Makes any number of 500mL jars
A mixture of:
-cauliflower and romanesco florets
-Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
-green cherry tomatoes, halved if large and pricked if whole
For each jar: 1 ½ t. pickling salt, heaping ¼ tsp. calcium chloride, 1 sprig thyme or rosemary, 1 clove garlic, ½ tsp. peppercorns, ½ tsp. mustard seeds, ½ tsp. chili flakes or a few slices of hot pepper (optional)
Brine: Equal parts cider vinegar and water (1/2 c. each per 500mL jar)
Divide “per jar” ingredients among clean 500 mL jars, then tightly pack vegetables into jars, leaving a generous ½” headspace.
In a medium saucepan combine the brine ingredients. Bring to a boil. Pour the hot brine over the vegetables, leaving a ½” headspace. Remove air bubbles, readjust headspace if necessary, wipe rims with a damp paper towel, and seal fingertip tight with new snap lids.
Heat process jars 10 minutes in a hot water bath.
Allow the jars to cool 24 hours, then check the seal before storing somewhere cool, dark and dry, where the pickles will keep at least a year.