A trio of spring pickles: ramps, rhubarb and fiddleheads

My spontaneous pickling session last week began with a spotless kitchen. Few things are as inspiring as the blank canvas of pristine counters, an empty dishwasher, and every tool at your disposal.

I had just boiled the kettle and made a pot of tea. The afternoon stretched out open ahead of me, a rare block of time when I didn’t have something pressing to attend to.  My mind wandered to the ramps on the forest floor that were rapidly being taken over by dense foliage. Their season had nearly passed and I had only foraged for one handful. If I wanted pickles, today would have to be the day.

Come to think of it, my rhubarb was filling in nicely; I had also wanted to put up a few jars of pickled stalks. I may as well combine the projects. And if I was really going to do this, why leave out the fiddleheads in the refrigerator? Pickled fiddleheads are a must for future salads and cocktail garnishes.

Before I had time to question my ambitions, I filled my canning pot half full of water, lowered 6 jars onto the rack and set it on my gas range. I grabbed a notepad and jotted down a flavor profile for each batch. [Read more…]

Spring produce and Cheesy Ramp Pull-Apart Bread

Yesterday, a glance at the weather for the remainder of the week convinced me to abandon the dishes and the laundry and head outdoors. If I was to get only one day of sunshine, I’d better make the most of it.

Today there is a slight stiffness to my shoulders from the garden work and my fingernails need attention, but the raised beds are half planted. The roots of the small seedlings will be kept damp with the coming rain and that is one less chore for me. It feels good to be a step ahead of things, at least in the gardening department. Let’s not speak of the state of my house. The kitchen alone is shell-shocked from Danny preparing two meals on Mother’s Day, bless his heart.

While I worked around our homestead and Clara amused herself by poking grass (and the occasional stick, yikes!) into the chicken coop, I kept a bowl handy to collect edibles. Salad ingredients don’t always show themselves as lettuce leaves and cucumber slices; sometimes you have to think outside of the box.

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