Saturday, August 28, 2021

Pickled Stems (or really, pickle anything)

I got the idea of pickled stems from a recipe for loaded fries, IIRC it was oven fries topped with yogurt and some other stuff and pickled stems. Pickled stems, what! At around the same time I started going to the farm to pick up my CSA shares and have been getting plenty of real stems, so now I have real pickled stems all the time.

Stems I have pickled in alphabetical order: bok choy, carrot green, collard green, kale, purslane, tatsoi. I think the only one I didn't do was lambsquarter, those might have been too tough. I just bite a stem and if it tastes okay, I pickle them.

Pickled stem applications: #1 is that I put a big spoonful of pickled stems as the vinegar in a green salad. #2 is they're great in place of the relish and/or sport peppers in a Chicago-style hotdog. #3 I haven't even made those loaded fries yet, haha.

The pickle part of the recipe I adapted from this recipe for Avocado Pickles, which are also very good although it's annoying to get the pit out of a really hard avocado and to get it out of its skin, whereas a ripe avocado is easy to deal with and just as delicious. And by adapt, I mean I just halved it and rounded everything to whole measures because it was destroying me to measure out two tablespoons, a teaspoon, and a half teaspoon of sugar. And as my title says, you could pour this pickle over anything and have quick-pickled whatever.

1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
any stems

Combine everything except the stems in a small saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat.

After you pluck the leaves off the stems and do whatever you do with leaves (blanch, chop and freeze for stew; process into green sauce, as pictured; spin and store for salad), give the stems a good rinse and I think it helps (of course I do) to arrange them in a neat bunch with all the stems going in the same direction.

Chop the bunch into little bits of stem and pack all the bits into a pint jar. Pour the pickle in the jar over the stems, it seems to work out so far that the stems fill the jar and the pickle fills the spaces in between the stems.

Put the lid on, obviously, and refrigerate until ready to serve—I don't know how long that is, the avocado pickle recipe says three hours. I just stick the jar in the fridge and it's generally there for a couple weeks.