Has it really already been 6 weeks of farm-sourced veggies? Wow, this season is flying by! I was a little sad to hear that this week would be the last of the nappa, but I will also be happy to see it give way to the more “fruit”-y of the harvests. (Can you believe I’m actually looking forward to tomatoes? Having finished all of the salsa I canned last year, I’m actually itching to make more. Canning is way more fun when you actually eat what you preserve!)
This week included the last, healthy-looking nappa cabbage of the year, the first of the turnip greens (yay!), some “true” green onions*, a bag of mesclun, snap peas, carrots (more yay!) and a herb of choice — I chose oregano.
* I cut up some of the green parts into a salad The Boy and I had for dinner last night. I’m interested to see if the bulb part has a milder taste than “normal” onion. The farm email points out that one way to distinguish a real green onion is to watch the bulb — these ones apparently don’t develop the dry, papery outer skin. Neat!
This week should be fun: I have to admit that while I remember liking turnip greens from last year, I can’t actually remember what they tasted like. It’ll be an adventure! (Ehr… again.) For the nappa, I’ll be making springrolls and either more stir-fry or more cabbage-rolls, depending on how the weather plays out over the next week. I’m excited tonight, however, to try out what I did with last week’s nappa: sauerkraut!
Last winter, after reading about my woeful sauerkraut experience, Maria had forwarded her mom’s recipe to try and I hadn’t got around to it… until I had too much nappa on hand! Admittedly, I wasn’t 100% sure that it would work, since nappa is so much softer than the normal “head” cabbages used, but I figured it was worth a shot! I used the denser (bottom) two thirds of half a cabbage (leaving more of the frilly tips to a stir-fry). I grated it all up…
…and threw in carrots and salt. To my surprise, this time the cabbage did seem to be giving up a reasonable amount of liquid. I threw a cotton cloth over it, slapped a plate on top and… waited. I’m not sure if it was my choice of cloth or maybe I should have kept the whole thing covered with plastic, or what, but the cloth seemed to pull the moisture right out of the cabbage, where it was promptly wicked away into the hot air. So after three days or so, the cabbage was a little tangy (I stopped it there; I’m not a huge fan of overly mouth-puckeringly sour pickles) but essentially bone dry. I mixed up a brine mixture, funneled the cabbage into a jar and poured in brine to cover. Easy peasy!
Not a complete success, maybe, but I’m not really sure what to change for next time. Some resources online state that after covering with a cloth (which is mostly to keep out mold spores, apparently?) and plate, the plate itself should actually be submerged under the cabbage’s liquid. That would make more sense… but I definitely didn’t have enough liquid for that. I’ll try again in the fall (with “proper” cabbage) and see if I make out better. In the meantime though, this turned out… okay. It’s super-mild, which I’m actually okay with, coming off the tail end of those pickled snap peas, although I hope it’ll continue to get a little more sour in the fridge. (Also: I need to remember to rinse the brine off it before eating.)
About the peas, while I did finish the jar (and boy, did they have bite after almost two weeks!), I don’t think I’d make them again. I actually really enjoyed the “spicy” kick just… not so much the vinegariness. I’d thought that the pea’s natural sweetness might be enough to stave off the vinegar but apparently not. Does this mean that I’m done forever with pickles? Nope. I’m actually pretty excited to try a carrot pickle — and there are so many to choose from! — because, again, I’m hoping that the carrots natural sweetness will stand up to the vinegar. The two recipes I have bookmarked for future making are a daikon-carrot pickle (bring on the bahn mi!), and a peppery carrot slaw. The Boy might kill me if he thought I was going to use our CSA carrots (or worse still, our homegrown carrots!) in a pickle, so I’ll have to stop by the farmer’s market at some point…