A few weeks ago I posted a sneak peak from my day – a photo shoot I participated in with Sarah & Andrea of Beyond the Flavor with their post yesterday on pickling carrots as the result. The shoot itself was good practice for all the demonstrations I have lined up for myself this spring & summer, while writing the text gave me a chance to articulate everything I know about the process and gather my thoughts for what I want to talk about when doing said demonstrations.
I am frequently asked why I make so many pickles. The first answer that pops into my head is that it’s something to do. Monday, I had a flat of strawberries to deal with as well as a dirty house. Today is Friday and while some of those strawberries were consumed as breakfast, snacks & desserts this week, there are a number of jars sitting on my dining room hutch and in my fridge as a tangible result of my spending Tuesday dealing with the berries. Meanwhile, the bathroom & kitchen floors that got swept & mopped Monday are dirty again, and any evidence of my cleaning is gone. As much as I love instant gratification, I also like for evidence of my work to last longer than a few hours, you know?
But that’s not the only reason why I love to pickle. I am fascinated by the changes brought about by the process. It’s just another facet of cooking to learn about and experiment with. Which brings me to my latest experiment, pickled strawberries.
I’ve been hearing about them and have had a few folks ask me if I’ve tried them. I decided to try my hand at some this season, whipping up three very small batches this week. We tasted them yesterday afternoon, letting them sit for 48 hours.
On the left are red wine vinegar & mint pickles, the two remaining jars are both balsamic vinegar with basil in the middle and lavender on the right. The jar on the left was hot water bath processed while the other two were done in a quick pickle style. I was curious what effect the heat of the processing would have on the berry. As I suspected, it did make the berry a bit mushy and somewhat paled the bright color, but berries in all three jars were somewhat soft.
Pat & I sampled the results with some goat cheese from Caromount Farm and some toasted homemade sourdough bread. It made for a wonderful pairing with all three pickles. Infused with flavor from the vinegar and herbs, here are my notes on them:
- The lavender was a bit heavy. Next time I think I’ll go far lighter with it, but it’s a good combination.
- The balsamic vinegar was almost a little too much. Next time I’ll combine it with white vinegar and see how that works.
- The basil/balsamic combination was almost dessert like, in a savory way.
All in all, pickled strawberries resemble macerated strawberries, if you’ve ever had them. In the next round, I’m going to try processing them for a shorter period of time and see how that works out. I’d like to be able to put a few jars up on the shelf to pop open in a few months, something you can’t do with quick pickles. I’m also going to play around with the herbs. I think a hint of lavender added to the red wine vinegar/mint recipe would be interesting.