Last month, I participated in a delicious and inspiring culinary project, thanks to the wonderful people at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market. They have once again dropped off a basket brimming with fresh-from-the-garden goodness for this month’s Farmers’ Feast Challenge. Its arrival was as exciting to me as Christmas is to a child, I kid you not. I’ll be treating all of this luscious produce with care and creativity in the days ahead.
The basket’s contents included a dazzling array of fruits and vegetables, most of which came from the Saturday edition of the Ottawa Farmers’ Market, which is held in a lovely greenspace called the Byron Linear Park, in Westboro. There is also a Friday market at Orleans’ Centrum Plaza and the main market, currently held at Brewer Park on Sundays (but returning to its roots at Lansdowne Park in 2015).
The farms and their products included:
Just Farms – blue potatoes, French beans, celery, garlic, spaghetti squash.
Rochon Garden – pink flesh watermelon, canary melon.
Warner’s Farms – peaches, apricots, vampire, cherry and shiro plums, red currants.
Bergeron Gardens – purple cabbage, kohlrabi, banana and jalapeno peppers.
Avonmore Berry Farm (only vendor not at Westboro market) – leeks, Brussels sprouts.
My head was swimming with ideas as soon as I unpacked the basket and saw the bounty within; for some reason it was the kohlrabi that caught my eye first, perhaps because I had passed them by during my own visit to the Westboro edition of the Ottawa Farmers’ Market the day before. I decided to pickle the kohlrabi so I could enjoy it for many weeks to come, rather than using it up for just one meal. I also decided that pickling would allow me to make use of some of the leaves from the giant bunch of celery in the basket.
Pickled Kohlrabi with garlic, ginger and celery leaves
A member of the brassica family of vegetables which includes cabbage, cauliflower, kale and broccoli, kohlrabi is more sweet and tender than some of its cousins. I plan to use the pickled kohlrabi in sandwiches, salads and perhaps even just ‘as is’, like coleslaw.
- 1.5 – 2 pounds (680 – 900 grams) kohlrabi (one large or two small)
- handful celery leaves *
- 2 cups (500 mL) cider vinegar
- 2 cups (500 mL) water
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) mustard seeds
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) coarse salt
- 1 inch (2.5 cm) piece of fresh gingerroot, thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, halved
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) black peppercorns, crushed
* you can substitute 1/4 cup (60 mL) sliced celery stalks if you don’t have leaves on hand
- Wash and dry three 2 cup (500 mL) canning jars and new lids. Set aside.
- Clean and trim kohlrabi bulbs, making sure to remove any of the spots where small stems were previously attached. Note that you do not need to peel the kohlrabi if you are using tender, garden fresh ones; if making these pickles with older vegetables whose skin has toughened, you’ll want to peel it.
- Using a mandoline or a very sharp knife, slice kohlrabi into thin matchsticks.
- Divide the sticks evenly between the two jars, layering them with celery leaves, black pepper, ginger and garlic. Pack them as tightly as possible.
- Combine vinegar, water, sugar, pickling salt, and mustard seeds in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Once the brine has boiled, remove it from the heat and carefully pour the liquid over the kohlrabi in the jars.
- Place lids on the jars and let them sit on the counter until cool. Once cooled, refrigerate.
- The pickles will be ready to eat in 24 hours and can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 months.
Makes 3 jars.