Tuesday, June 3, 2014

spring peas

This last month has been really incredible for peas.  In Memphis, we plant them in February and expect to be eating them by the first of April.  Not so this year. We had a funny (read: cold, icy, windy) spring and the peas that I planted didn't begin to take off until May.  I harvested a few here and there (eating them straight from the vine) until the last few weeks.

Once the peas began coming in, I picked them daily.  We had them in salads, sliced in our lettuce wraps, and for snacking.  I know lots of people freeze their peas, but last year, after I read this blog post, I started thinking about pickles in a big way.  I've always made pickled okra (my favorite bloody mary or cheese plate garnish, Southern style), but pickling other vegetables is relatively new to me.  I may have gone a little overboard in the past week, as I pickled a batch of local cherries and some rhubarb that a friend's mom sent me (because it will only grow as an annual here, and that gets expensive!).  

If I were processing these pickles, I would use a tested recipe (and an actual canning jar) for food safety, but as these are just refrigerator pickles, I made a seat-of-my pants batch from a mishmash of recipes I found online (Food in Jars and Smitten Kitchen both have good recipes).

I had just enough peas- topped, tailed, stringed- to pack this old jam jar full.  The brine is half and half white and rice vinegar, with 1 tsp pickling salt and a generous tablespoon of honey (this honey was a gift from my friend and neighbor, Nobuko, for helping to install two packages of bees in her backyard apiary this weekend.  It is so light and floral!).  I'm on a coriander kick lately, so I added the last of my little bag to the brine, plus about a half tsp each of pink and black peppercorns.  Once the brine was boiling, I added my spices and poured it over the peas.  I topped the jar off with ice water, then capped it and tucked the jar in the back of my fridge.  Now I just have to wait. . . .

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