Friday, October 22, 2010

White House Recipe: Kitchen Garden Pickles

Fall Harvest pickling class with Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses, from the White House to your house...
On Wednesday, First Lady Michelle Obama hosted the second Kitchen Garden Fall Harvest, joined by students from Tubman Elementary School and Bancroft Elementary School, as well as Chef Daniel Boulud. In keeping with the White House idea that cooking skills are crucial to healthy living, the White House chefs gave the kids garden-side cooking lessons. At long prep tables, the kids made salad with the veggies they'd just harvested, and Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses led a rapid-fire class in pickling.  The recipe is below.  (Above: The First Lady and students harvest broccoli that was used for the pickling lesson)

Yosses' pickles have now traveled the globe: A jar of White House Kitchen Garden Pickles was included in the basket of special gifts Mrs. Obama presented to each of the UN spouses who joined her at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture last month, for a special luncheon and farm tour. (Above: The First Lady chats with the kids as they get their pickling lesson)

On Wednesday, Yosses taught the kids to pickle using green tomatoes, broccoli, green peppers, turnips, okra, kohlrabi, fennel, and cauliflower. Pickles are high in fiber, and they're credited with having health benefits from their fermentation, in addition to the good vitamins the vegetables already contain. Not to mention they're tasty.

Yosses' pickling recipe requires a 24-hour refrigeration period for the vegetables to marinate. You'll need glass canning jars, and don't skip the step to sterilize them. The recipe is exactly as released by the White House.

White House Kitchen Garden Pickles

Ingredients
4 cups water

2 cups white wine vinegar

¼ cup salt

¼ cup sugar

12 stems thyme

12 stems rosemary

4 bay leaves

1 clove garlic (peeled, whole)

2 carrots (peeled, sliced one quarter inch thick)

1 purple onion cut into slices

Vegetables
Cauliflower, broccoli, green tomatoes, Bell peppers, turnips, okra, kohlrabi, fennel, cleaned and cut into small pieces.

Method
1.  Add vinegars, water, herbs, garlic, onions, and carrots, sugar, salt to a large pot, and bring to a boil.

2.  Remove from heat and add cut vegetables to the pot.

3.  Cover, and refrigerate for 24 hours.

The next day:

4.  Sterilize canning jars by immersing them in boiling water with tongs for one minute.

5.  Fill the jars with the marinated vegetables, close, and return to the pot using kitchen towels to protect the glass jars.

6.  Fill the pot halfway with water and bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer for 12 minutes, to sterilize the pickles.

7.  Remove the jars from the pot and allow to cool.

8.  Allow to set in a cool dark place for four weeks or up to one year.

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Note: Food safety is key for pickling, in terms of cleaning the vegetables and making sure the canning jars are sterilized and then sealed properly. If you've never pickled before, an excellent online resource is the National Center For Home Food Preservation, which has great fact sheets on pickling. Another good resource is Canning Across America, which has plenty of pickling explanations, too.

Related: A full post on the Fall Harvest is here. More on chef Daniel Boulud's visit is here. Poundage stats for the Fall Harvest are here. A post on the economic impact of Mrs. Obama's gardening outfit is here. Yes, even the First Lady's gardening outfits cause a boost in sales.

Above, a photo of one of the gift pickle jars Mrs. Obama presented to her UN guests; it contained sun gold tomatoes, okra, cucumbers, chocolate bell peppers, carrots, lemon verbena, and fresh herbs.  The pickles were accompanied by a bag of tea made from dried Kitchen Garden herbs.

*Photos by Eddie Gehman Kohan/Obama Foodorama. Pickle jar photo by Chuck Kennedy/White House.