One of my favorite children’s books is “I’m in Charge of the Celebrations,” written by Byrd Baylor and illustrated by Peter Parnall. I took it that I can make anything a celebration, and so can you.
Today I want to encourage you to create a party focused on food preservation. I’ll provide you with a quick pickle recipe and some ideas to spark your festive sensibility, but the rest of the festive details are up to you.
Pickling isn’t just for cucumbers, so feel free to get creative when choosing your favorite vegetables to pickle. Green beans and cherry tomatoes make delicious pickles, and two pickle-worthy vegetables you can find locally in the fall include carrots and red onions. Pro tip: Pickled red onions are great on tacos.
½ tablespoon of kosher salt
1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
In each pot, you can also add a sprig of fresh herbs, such as dill or rosemary; 1 teaspoon of whole spices, such as black peppercorns or cilantro; and / or 1 minced garlic clove.
Multiply the ingredients according to the number of jars you want to make, then follow these steps:
1) Add water, vinegar, salt and sugar to a medium saucepan and stir.
2) Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until the salt and sugar dissolve.
2) Cut the vegetables into thin slices or wedges and wrap them gently but tightly in jars, leaving ½ inch of space at the top.
3) Pour brine over the vegetables, leaving ½ inch of space at the top.
4) Close the lids of the jars tightly.
5) Let the jars cool, then put them in the refrigerator.
6) Give the pickles time to uncover themselves and come back two days later for a delicious treat.
7) For best freshness, eat pickles within two weeks.
Leftover vegetable scraps, such as tips, tops and greens, can be fed to chickens or composted. Don’t know any chickens or do you have a compost heap? You can sign up for the residential compost depot with Elements Mountain Compost (elementscompost.com). Click on the Services tab. The compost deposit for residents of Salida is in the new Touber Community Garden on First & C streets and for residents of Buena Vista it is on Crossman and Pleasant avenues.
Spice up your food preservation celebration with music, dancing, poetry, special lighting, decorations, stories, games, and other foods or drinks that are meaningful or fun to you.
For easier food preservation activities to do with the kids and to share details and photos of your food preservation celebrations, contact Leah at [email protected]
Leah Capezio is the Director of Operations for Guidestone Colorado, which offers Farm to School, Farmhands Education, Colorado Land Link, and Hutchinson Homestead & Learning Center programs.