pickling part 1: nasturtiums and red onions

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Hot days are not for cooking. Hot days are for pickling.

At least, that is what my Swedish heritage has taught me. The truth is, however warm and beautiful it is right now, regardless of the abundance of vegetables that are growing at this very moment, in four months or so that won’t be the case. Fall will push us headfirst into winter when nothing seems quite so easy anymore, and eating local becomes harder than it ever was.

In the dead of summer, a smart localvore starts preserving.

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I will be dedicating a few posts to this throughout the summer, especially on hot weeks and days. Today, however, I’m starting small and simple. Pickled onions and pickled nasturtiums.

This round of pickling is not meant for long periods of preservation, but to be enjoyed much sooner. I will talk about long term canning in my next canned food post!

Pickled Onions

  • Five small red onions
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • A few cardamom pods
  • A cinnamon stick
  • 4 Tbs raw sugar
  • A sprinkle of salt
  • A few allspice berries
  • 1 star anise pod
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes

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Chop up the onions so they are thinly sliced circles. You may choose to blanch them for a few seconds to begin with. I prefer them a little crunchier myself. Pack them into a quart sized ball jar. Bring enough vinegar to cover them to a boil with the spices. Pour the hot liquid over the onions to cover them. Let drop to room temp and then refrigerate.

These pickled onions are meant to be enjoyed sooner rather than later! They should last for several months if you want them too, but it’s always important to check food that has been preserved.

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Nasturtium and Dill Vinegar

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This recipe is a precursor to other recipes I have in mind featuring nasturtium vinegar.

  • A good harvest of nasturtiums – a cup or more if you can get them
  • A few sprigs of dill
  • 2 cups Apple cider vinegar

Bring the cider vinegar to a boil. Pack the nasturtiums and the dill together in a ball jar – I used one of the heritage collection Ball Jars that holds about 2 cups. Close tightly and let sit for about three weeks before using for best results. This vinegar is wonderful in a vinaigrette  and also the flowers and be reused in colorful sauces.

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I hope this post has given a few new ideas for hot days in summer. Keep an eye out for future preserving posts – the most important part of a balanced localvore year!

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