Ahhhh fall... tis' the season for delicious, hearty soups. I got my hands on some butternut squash recently and to be perfectly honest, I have never cooked a squash before in my life and was feeling a bit overwhelmed. I got home last night, and I'm feeling a little under the weather. What I have is a loaf of bread that I purchased earlier that day, squash, and some things in my pantry. The bread is a delicious sourdough loaf from Marie et Guy French Bakery in Kingston, NS that I purchased at The Noodle guy and I would highly recommend it!
I start googling some recipes, and came across a delicious sounding curried soup that I modified slightly. When reading the original recipe, I thought I saw ginger instead of garlic. Upon discovering my mistake, I decided to add ginger anyways...because why not? Between the curry, ginger and squash, I was in for a tasty, healthy soup! Curry and ginger both have lots of antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and squash is a great source vitamin C, E, iron, magnesium and it's low calorie! The nutritional value of the soup listed below is based on the original recipe. Here is the original recipe if you're not a fan of ginger, but if you like ginger flavour you can follow my modified version instead.
This year we are including both a recipe for vinegar canned dill pickles as well as a lacto ferments pickle. Lacto ferments pickles are packed with probiotics and are easy to make, but the process takes some time to get used to! My mother makes ferments so I've never had to make them, as I have a steady supply whenever I want, but this year we did try our hand at it. Our pickles are about a week in, and although we have already been taken them out to try and use in sandwiches they aren't done yet. It's less of an exact science and more of an art form, with practice making you more comfortable with the process I would imagine. My brother, who gets a full monty, always has at least one batch of ferments on the go. Last time we were over we have fermented garlic scapes with our meal. Getting used to this process will serve you well when we get into storage vegetables, as cabbage and carrots ferment beautifully.
A note that our dill pickles this year aren't as green as they usually are. Josh says because of the rain that we had the nitrogen get washed away, and this makes the pickles more yellow. They are still fresh and crunchy, but aesthetically they look a bit different.
Lacto Fermented Dill Pickles
Lacto Fermented pickles are a great way to make dill pickles, as a bonus these pickles will be packed with healthy probiotics.
You can use a glass jar or food grade plastic bucket.
To make a gallon jar of pickles you will need:
A gallon Jar
A gallon of non chlorinated water
97 g sea salt
Grape leaves (optional, but makes a more crunchy pickle)
Wash the pickles, and place in the jar along with the garlic and dill flowers. Add the brine so that it covers the pickles. To keep the pickles from floating to the top, you can fill a ziplock with brine and put it on top. Cover the jar with a tea towel and place the jar in a room temperature location for 3 day to 2 weeks, trying the pickles every few days until they are to the tangy-ness you want. A white yeasty foam will form on top and is perfectly normal and not something to worry about. When the pickles are 'done' you can skim off the white foam (optional), and put into the fridge. Eat right away, or store in a fridge or root cellar for months and enjoy them all winter long.
Step 1: Sanitize the jars. I don't have any fancy equipment, and just put my jars open side down in a big roasting pan filled with a little water with the oven on about 350 degrees. A jar lifter is a huge help getting the jars back out and avoiding burns while doing so! See photo>>
Step 2: Make the brine. Mix4 cups vinegar (I use regular vinegar, if you're using the pickling vinegar it is stronger and will require less vinegar and more water for this recipe), 12 cups water, and 1 cup salt in a pot. Bring to a boil and maintain heat so that it is just below a simmer (not boiling, still hot and steaming).
Step 3: Place the lid flats in another small pot of almost boiling water (This sanitizes them as well and softens the rubber so you get a good seal. Always use new flats, it's just a good practice, and saves the disappointment of seals not holding)
Step 4: Prepare the cucumbers, garlic, and dill while everything is heating up. The dill should be washed and divided into the amount you want in each jar (I use a stem or two and 1 flower head per jar). The garlic should be removed from it's paper wrapper (I put one clove per jar, some people like more, so depending on your taste). Both the stem end and the end of the cucumber should be trimmed off, and then they should be washed in cold water. Depending on how dirty they are, sometimes I scrub each one. Poke through any larger cucumbers with a sharp knife to help them pickle uniformly. All this trimming and scrubbing may seem like a lot of work, but it goes fast and is totally worth it in the final product.
Step 5: Start packing the jars. Remove the hot jar with a jar lifter, and continuing to hold the jar with the lifter, put in dill and garlic . Start with larger cucumbers, lining them up along the bottom layer, and the smaller ones are great for packing in the top.
Step 6: Fill jar as much as you can with cucumbers, and then fill to the bottom of the jar rim with brine. Wipe the rim to ensure no excess brine is between the seal and the glass. Take out a flat from the hot water, place on top, and tighten screw lid to finger tight (you'll regret it if you tighten it too much at this point).
Step 7: Place jars in a water bath, and fill the canner (or a large pot with a lid) with water to top of jar lids. Put lid on water bath canner and bring water to a boil. Just as the water begins to boil, tuen off heat and remove jars. Place jars on a clean towel and let set for 24 hours. So long as everything has been hot along the way, you shouldn't have any problems with seals. The flat will suck inwards and sometimes even make a "POP!" when they seal.
You can eat these right away as young dills, or store for a later time and more intense pickle flavour!
The TapRoot Pickle Pack was awesome. The perfect amount of everything for this recipe, the cucumbers are a great size, and there's the variety you need in sizing for making dills (some big ones, some small ones, and everything in between).
Sunchokes aka. Jerusalem Artichokes, are a relative of the sunflower, and are not an artichoke at all. They do have a mild artichoke heart taste to them, and are starchy, but have no starch in them. They store their carboyhydrates as inulin, a great source of fiber and a prebiotic! They don't take being boiled very well, becoming mushy, but roasted or steamed they keep their shape beautifully.
Sunchokes can be eaten raw, but because of the inulin (that isn't digestible) for some they cause stomach upsets. Start small eating raw, or steam, roast, add to mashed potatoes, or shave thinly and fry to make crisp sunchoke chips.
We dig our sunchokes in the spring and as we are harvesting them we leave all the small tubers in the ground, taking only what we need for the CSA and our wholesale customers. What is left in the ground will grow up this summer and multiply underground. Next spring we will then go through the same process. We have three different sunchoke patches on the farm.
Storage: Store your sunchokes out of the bag in a cool, dry place, or in the crisper wrapped in a tea towel or paper towel to absorb excess moisture. As they were dug on the weekend, they can be stored for 3 weeks in this manner.
Try one of the recipes below, or let us know how you ate your sunchokes and we will share with the rest of the CSA members.
This recipe from Viktoria's Table is one that she makes with either potatoes or sunchokes. Ours are not as large as the one in the picture (ours must be a different variety), but by slicing then length ways you should be able to get large pieces to make this recipe with.
This weekend it was 11 am and we needed lunch, plus leftovers for lunch for some of the week. Soup is always a hit with my family so I got what was on hand and started. This simple soup lends itself to many different vegetables. I like it with mushrooms added at the end but we didn't have any this time.
Quick vegetable lentil soup:
I started by chopping up a few leeks and an onion.
That went into a large pot with a few glugs of olive oil and a little butter.
While that was cooking I got the veggies prepped.
I peeled the carrots and turnip then cubed them. I trimmed the brussels sprouts, halved them, then sliced them thinly.
Once the leeks and onions were cooked down, I added the vegetables, as well as one and a half quarts of canned tomatoes (I happen to have TapRoot tomatoes I canned in the summer), and about a quart stock (veggie, chicken, or beef). I also added one of my favorite fast cooking legumes, red lentils.
I find red lentils lend such a nice consistency (and protein) to soup, they break down a bit, but still hold some shape. Plus they cook in 20 or so minutes.
I added some salt and pepper, frozen kale and basil from the freezer, and let it simmer for 20 or so minutes.
We ate the soup with some grated parmesan cheese and miso mixed in at the end.
Gilbert, half asleep from his nap, ate two bowls full.