This past Fall our garden was bursting with vegetables, and we had to make sure nothing went to waste. How did we do it? At the Eden Hall Farm, we bow to the preservative powers of vinegar, and we make pickles!
At our first farm workshop this Fall, we had about twenty Falk School of Sustainability students join us in the Student Garden to help us pick and pickle a variety of fruits and vegetables. We decided that we wanted the theme of the pickling event to be “no waste,” so we pickled foods that would have otherwise been thrown in the compost pile, such as watermelon rinds, green tomatoes, woody kohlrabi, and green beans (while these beans were in perfect condition and could have been sold, we salvaged dill seeds from the overgrown dill plants!) Yes, of course, the compost bin is always an option, but we decided to bring these veggies back to life with the age old art of pickling.
So, how does pickling work?
Vegetables and fruits are preserved in vinegar or fermented, and this highly acidic environment not only alters the flavors, but it prevents the growth of bad microorganisms and bacterias, thus preserving the food! Because the fermenting process of pickling can take weeks or even months, we decided to make “quick pickles”—a good option for our three-hour time frame!
With the help of the participants, we transformed hard green tomatoes into a sweetand herby addition to a sandwich, green and yellow beans into a delicious dilly snack, watermelon rinds into sweet and spicy pieces of candy, and kohlrabi into a vinegary condiment! Each recipe included a vinegar brine and different aromatics and spices, and the vegetables sat in this brine for 48 hours before we dug in.
Every participant took home four different types of pickled vegetables, and our fridges are still bursting with these vinegary treats. We have six months to devour our goodies but I’m guessing they wont last until then!
Here are the recipes (with some slight variations) that we used-http://www.mnfoodassociation.org/recipe/refrigerator-dilly-beans
Eden Hall Graduate Associate