Before you get toooo into the pragmatics of preserving for winter by means of pickling, start by dipping your toes into the foundation. Pickling is a method of acidifying alkaline or basic (low acid) vegetables—say, green beans, which are pretty neutral on the pH scale at 6.5-7.0, or radishes, which clock in at 5.5-6.0.
What, pray tell, is applesauce? In vogue since Medieval times (and—sidenote—it’s also a synonym for malarkey/fiddlesticks/poppycock), is it a condiment? A dessert in and of itself? A literal sauce for meats and poultry? For us it’s all of the above, as well as a remarkable ingredient in cakes.
It’s currently oat-sowing time on the farm and we’re mulling over their richness—in history, nutrition, and agriculture. Bafflingly, oats for thousands of years were referred to as diseased wheat and considered a pesky weed of more desirable cereals, fit only for topical skin treatments and animal fodder.
Springtime is a study in fertile greens, especially of the microgreen variety, which are immature seedlings dense in vitamins, lutein, and beta-carotene (evidently manifold more than their fully grown versions). One of the most efficient ways to optimize their nutritional mileage is microgreens pesto.
Also called rose haws, these reddish-orange orbs that grow abundantly here in midcoast Maine are actually the fruit of the rose plant. Tart, spicy, and teeming with vitamin C, they have long been an important part of the indigenous North American diet and were also the cat’s meow of WWII-era Britain, when nutrient-rich rose hip syrup replaced hard-to-come-by citrus fruits.