Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Shareholder Open House at Angelic Organics

As I mentioned in my recent beets post, we are shareholders at Angelic Organics, a super community supported agriculture farm in Caledonia, IL. This weekend we visited the farm as part of an open house for shareholders.
We took a hay ride through the fields to admire and learn about the crops. The kids were particularly taken with the first blushing tomatoes and watermelons ripening on the vine, and Looly asked some great questions about the different growing techniques. There may be hope for my city kids yet.
Bean enjoying the hay ride
While a performance by famed Bubble-ologist, Geoff Akins, was definitely the highlight for Looly, Bean, and Roo, they also loved visiting the pigs...

petting goats and chickens...

and picking 3 pounds of green beans and wax beans in the U-pick garden, which resulted in 4 pints of spicy pickled beans. I need to work on my bean loading technique as these are kind of smooshed into their jars, but the marinade is good and spicy. Mufasa has big plans to put them to use during football season tailgates. They will be awesome nestled alongside a freshly grilled bratwurst, in peppery bloody marys and for general snacking, of course.
Spicy Pickled Green Beans and Wax Beans
adapted slightly from food.com

2 pounds green beans, wax beans or a combo, trimmed
2 tbsp. salt
2 and 1/2 cups red wine vinegar (5% acidity)
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 cup vodka
4 tbsp. mustard seeds
2 tbsp. black peppercorns
1 tbsp. pink peppercorns
4 tsp. fennel seeds
4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (less, if you prefer)
8 cloves garlic
4 bay leaves
2 tsp. dill

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and blanch beans until crisp tender, about 4 minutes, then plunge into an ice bath to halt cooking.
2. Combine remaining ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook over medium high heat for 2 minutes, stirring to dissolve sugar.
3. Place beans into sterilized pint jars (more neatly and artistically than I did, no doubt!). Remove bay leaves from marinade and pour hot marinade over beans leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Seal jars and process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes. Allow to sit in the canner for 5 minutes then remove and cool completely on a wire rack or clean towel. Check seals and reprocess if needed. 

Makes 4 pints

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