Suddenly Sauer: Preserving Food and Tradition in a Modern World


Angela’s Cucumber and Green Tomato Relish
August 3, 2010, 3:59 pm
Filed under: food, Pickled Anything, Uncategorized

Green tomatoes and their accompaniments, soaking in cold water pre-fermentation

Last week’s makers faire, a nationwide series of events highlighting DIY projects in cities across the country, kicked off with an event called Can Do Camp, where Detroiters with a “can do” spirit were invited to mingle and listen to speakers all day long.  They were also invited to feast, and feast WELL at that!

The event was catered by Detroit Evolution, an organization that provides scrumptious catering among their many offerings.  My friend Angela is the caterer, and her ability to make magical food has been proved to me, time and again, through her catering as well as her work organizing and head chef-ing the monthly Corktown Community Brunch.

Angela got in touch with me and asked if I could make a couple of Suddenly Sauer Delights for the Can Do Camp event, and I happily obliged.  Besides 2 gallons of yogurt (with calder dairy milk) and 8 pounds of my oil free/date sweetened granola, she also asked for some pickles.  and pickles I provided!

I sold her one gallon of the pickled baby beets, and as we sat in the kitchen debating the crowd appeal of a batch of pickled turnip greens, my mind wandered to the 10 greatly oversized pickling cucumbers my friend Rachel had just pulled from her garden and gifted to me.  I instantly proposed to Angela a cucumber and green tomato relish (the green tomatoes were coming on strong in my own garden) and she heartily agreed that it had great potential.

The next step was figuring out what it was I was actually going to make.

I decided to brine the cucumbers and green tomatoes whole, with traditional pickling spices, garlic, and dill flowers, and some hot peppers to give the relish a mild kick.  My plan was to let them ferment for as long as possible, realizing that meant somewhere in the neighborhood of 48 hours.  When we made pickles at the Adamah pickle kitchen where I apprenticed in 2008, we would brine our half sours for 48 hours and our full sours for a full week.  Operating on that principle, I hoped 48 hours would be enough to give these fatties a bit of sauerness while preserving their cucumber nature.  I planned to chop them into relish after the 48 hour period.

Angela’s Cucumber and Green Tomato Relish

(in a 3 gallon crock, yield: 1 gallon relish)

Brine:

1.5 cups pickling salt (with NO additives/preservatives/anti-caking agents)

1.5 gallons water

Add salt to crock, add 4 cups hot water and whisk with salt until dissolved.  More hot water might be necessary for total dissolution, but keep track of how much you’re adding.  Once salt is dissolved in hot water, add the rest of your water cold to bring the temperature of the brine down to room temp.

Then begin to add your ingredients:

2 cups (fresh from my garden) garlic, smashed

5 dill flowers (the flowers make great pickle seasoning!)

6 hot peppers

1.5 Tbs pickling spice (in a spice sock, which can be bought in most brewing stores)

8 overgrown cucumbers

2 quarts green tomatoes

Measuring the garlic to throw in the brine

Peppers, dill, spice sock, and garlic, all afloat in the brine

and the green tomatoes, the last thing in before the cucumbers.

I only added the cukes and green tomatoes until there were at least 2 inches of head space in the crock.  At that point, I put one of my seasoned wooden crock lids on top, weighed it down with a ceramic bowl filled with bagged dry beans (obviously just an improvisation, you could use whatever you like!) and let it sit in my kitchen for 48 hours (hotter than usual because I wanted it to ferment quickly, more like 80 degrees rather than my usual high 60’s/low 70’s).

At the end of two days, I chopped all the cucubers and tomatoes into 1/2 inch cubes, placed then in a 1 gallon jar, poured brine over them, and let them sit out overnight with the lid slightly ajar to let their flavor develop a bit more and allow the newly exposed inner parts of the cukes and tomatoes to soak in more brine.  Also, because the cukes were so overgrown, their seeds were pretty nasty so I cut the insides out of all the cucumbers before slicing them for the relish. 

Ultimately, I served the relish at the event in these nifty little dishes and i think it looked pretty swell.  I felt grateful to Angela for giving me the opportunity to showcase my pickling prowess and I’m really looking forward to more pickling adventures in the coming months, as we get deeper into the harvest season.

Angela’s Cucumber and Green Tomato Relish at the Can Do Camp Event

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3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

This brings back so many memories of canning with my mom and aunt as a kid. Yum.

Comment by CultureChoc2010

This is fantastic! Thanks for sharing the recipe, your kind words and thank you for your incredible delights! 🙂 LOVE! LOVE LOVE!!

Comment by Angela Newsom

Blair! I just found your website and love love love it. I can’t wait to come over tomorrow and learn some pickling secrets from you.

Comment by Jess




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