A Celebration of Cheese by Jack DronenAugust 18, 2018
The day I went to the goat farm by Beth FinkeOctober 19, 2018
It’s our favorite time of year at the farmers markets – so many varieties of pears and apples are arriving and the last of summer fruits and berries can be sought out. One way to capture and preserve all that seasonal flavor is to pickle perfectly ripe fruits. Its super quick and easy. You can make them ahead – they’ll keep several weeks in the fridge. They provide a complementary sweet and sour burst of flavor to cheese and charcuterie service; they can wake up any salad or sandwich; and they’re a great condiment with grilled and roasted meats.
A few tips. Always use perfectly ripe fruits: too firm and the flavors aren’t developed, over ripe and the texture will be mushy. Use the best vinegar you can afford. Wine and cider vinegars are smoother than white vinegar and lend added dimensions of flavor. Taste the brine before combining with the fruit and adjust for sweetness or flavorings as necessary.
Here are a few recipes to get you started. Quick pickles must be stored in the refrigerator and will last several weeks. Get creative with them – you’ll find dozens of new ways to enhance your foods.
Pickled Grapes – recipe adapted from Chef Kelly Sears
Delicious paired with any cheese, we really love them with the washed-rind beauties like Oma,sheep milk cheeses like Manchego or your favorite blue. A bowl of these also make an addictive bar snack with cocktails.
6 cups mixed red and green seedless grapes
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
2½ cup apple cider vinegar
¾ cup white wine
2 tablespoon coriander seeds crushed
2 tablespoon mustard seeds toasted
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
7 whole cloves
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon peeled and thinly sliced fresh ginger
2 jalapeno peppers, finely diced, seeds included
- Slice a thin top off the top of the grapes where attached to the stem
- Combine the granulated and brown sugars, vinegar, white wine, coriander and mustard seeds, cinnamon, cloves, salt, ginger and jalapenos in a large non-reactive saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer for 5 minutes and remove from heat
- Place the grapes in pint or quart size jars, transfer the brine into a pitcher and pour over the grapes to cover. Cool completely and store in refrigerator up to 8 weeks.
Pickled Blueberries with Rosemary
We’ve serve these at Marché with our hand-dipped ricotta laced with fresh lemon zest. Try the combo as a savory appetizer on crostini with fresh torn basil, or a sweet treat on pancakes, pound cake and ginger snaps. Maybe try our Bluehaven Blueberry Gin martini garnished with these plump beauties?
1 pint fresh blueberries
1 cup white wine vinegar
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- Add the vinegar, sugar, salt, peppercorns and rosemary to a small, non-reactive saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove form heat and allow to cool about 5 minutes.
- Rinse the blueberries and place in a pint jar.
- Pour brine over blueberries to cover. Allow to cool completely and store in refrigerator up to 4 weeks.
Pickled Peaches – adapted from Chef Kelly Sears
Enhanced with a little white wine, these peaches will add layers of flavor to soft-ripened, brie style cheeses, fresh chevres or ribbons of Prosciutto di Parma. And be sure to serve them with your next pork roast or chops.
10 ripe peaches, blanched, skins removed
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
1½ cup white wine vinegar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
2 dried bay leaves
2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
¾ teaspoon salt
3 cinnamon sticks
10 whole cloves
- Slice peaches from root to tip around the pit into 6 or 8 wedges and place in a bowl
- Combine the sugars, vinegars, ¾ c. water, the mustard seeds, bay leaves, black peppercorns, red pepper flakes, salt, cinnamon sticks, and cloves in a small saucepan and bring to a boil; decrease the heat and simmer for five minutes
- Pour the hot liquid over the peaches and cool to room temperature
- Pack in quart jars making sure the peaches are completely submerged in the liquid and fill the jars to just under the necks
- Keep refrigerated for up to 8 weeks
Lemon Pickled Honey Crisp Apples – recipe adapted from Chef John Currence
Apples and Cheddar. What could be better? Maybe serving these with your Thanksgiving turkey too. And try these in a mixed green or arugula salad with your favorite cheese and roasted nuts.
6 Honey Crisp or alternate apple
1 cup sliced onions (about 1 medium), julienne
The zest and juice of two lemons
2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 bay leaves
4 whole cloves
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoons black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- Core and halve the apples then slice thin with mandolin about 1/8th inch.
- In a large bowl, toss together the apples, onions, zest and juice until combined.
- Combine the vinegar, honey, bay leaves, cloves, salt, black pepper and cayenne and bring to a simmer.
- Remove from heat and cool briefly.
- Pour the brine over the apples, submerging them completely then cool to room temperature. Apples will keep refrigerated for 8 weeks.