Tagged Canterbury Farmers Market

FOR THE LOVE OF PRODUCE: pickled cherries

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I got to Canterbury Farmers Market late last week, but in time enough to grab the last small basket of local sweet cherries: half to eat, and half to pickle.  The season is fleeting—and our own Sour Cherry tree was loaded—so I got busy with all things cherry.  Here is one unusual way I came up with to eat them without baking.  And if you can them, you can keep the cherry season forever on your palette.  Enjoy!

Pickled Cherries  Makes one 16 oz jar.

  • Rinse and dry a heaping 2 cups of cherries.  I used 1/2 sweet cherries and 1/2 Sour cherries.  Immediately pit them and cut them into quarters.  NOTE: once they are rinsed they will begin to deteriorate so work quickly.
  • Measure 2 cups worth and place in refrigerator bowl or 16 oz. jar.  (If you want to preserve them by canning, see alterations below.)

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In a stainless steel sauce pan combine the following:

  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup white cane sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt (Note: iodized salt will darken your pickles.)
  • 1 T finely chopped red or orange bell pepper
  • 1 T finely sliced or chopped red onion

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Bring all ingredients to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes.  Pour over cherries and refrigerate.  They are good in 12 hours, great in 24 hours and awesome the longer they sit.  They will keep refrigerated four weeks or longer.

Add them to potato salad, dress a hot dog, or serve as a side to grilled meats and vegetables.  Use them any way you would use pickle relish.

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*If you wish to can these to preserve for later, sterilize your jar and canning lids with hot soapy water then pour boiling water over them.  Fill with cherries and liquid into a hot, dry jar.  Wipe jar rim clean then screw on lids tightly.  Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.  Remove to a rack to cool.

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I LOVE produce. And it always amazes me how little people eat of it. But given the tasteless, cardboard varieties many of us grew up with—and is still in the stores—it’s no wonder. Sawing a slice of tomato only to have it stiffly lay on the plate looking back at you with its dead-pink, odorless flesh is unappealing, only worsened by the tree-branch chew of it. Who wants to fill 2/3 of your plate with that?

I have been inspired to create new ways to eat fruits and vegetables all summer long when their favor is at its peak. And because combining with additional flavors enhances the taste even more than its singular ingredients, recipes often help with produce that is less that perfect, a reality we are faced with most of the year here in New England.

It tastes better fresh. It tastes better local. But if you have to buy in the supermarkets, recipes help.

FOR THE LOVE OF PRODUCE: grilled beets with asparagus salad.

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The last of the spring asparagus, the largest wintered-over beets: I just had to grab my final taste before they disappeared at my Canterbury Farmers Market.  As part of my self-imposed summer challenge* of preparing fruits and vegetables in a way I have never done before, I came up with this recipe.  Grilled beets—sugars caramelized, smoky, meaty,, and enough as a main dish—mixed with barely blanched asparagus rounds that pop sweetly like a preview of summer’s first peas.  Something new, something yum.

  • Scrub 2 large beets clean with a plastic scrubber or sponge then peel them.  Using a sharp knife, cut them into 3/8″ rounds.
  • Just for fun, cut a few flower shapes out of the slices using a fine paring knife.  Save the scrapes to add to a smoothie or juice.

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  • In a small dish mix 2 T.  balsamic vinegar with 2 T. olive oil.

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  • Using a pastry or grill brush coat the beets on one side.  Place the coated side down on a pre-heated grill pan or outside grill.  Cook on low heat very slowly.
  • When they are slightly tender when poked with a knife, coat the back side with oil/vinegar and flip them to continue cooking until they are tender.  NOTE: as the sugars in the balsamic and beets caramelize, they will begin to smoke.  This adds an unexpected flavor to the beets making a new way to taste them!

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  • Wash a handful of asparagus.  Bend asparagus stocks near the bottom white part and where they naturally break; it separates the tough end from the tender stock.  Slice the tender stalks into 3/8″ rounds reserving the tips for decoration.
  • Bring a small/medium saucepan full of water to boil.  To it, add the asparagus rounds and tips.  Cook 1 minute, then drain and immediately put in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.  Drain.
  • To make the salad, arrange beet rounds, pile up with asparagus and decorate with “flowers.”
  • Dress with dab of mayonnaise mixed with a bit of balsamic vinegar.  Salt and pepper to taste.

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*I LOVE produce. And it always amazes me how little people eat of it. But given the tasteless, cardboard varieties many of us grew up with—and is still in the stores—it’s no wonder. Sawing a slice of tomato only to have it stiffly lay on the plate looking back at you with its dead-pink, odorless flesh is unappealing, only worsened by the tree-branch chew of it. Who wants to fill 2/3 of your plate with that?

I have been inspired to create new ways to eat fruits and vegetables all summer long when their favor is at its peak. And because combining with additional flavors enhances the taste even more than its singular ingredients, recipes often help with produce that is less that perfect, a reality we are faced with most of the year here in New England.

It tastes better fresh. It tastes better local. But if you have to buy in the supermarkets, recipes help.