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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarians in Paradise
Ask Aunt Nettie

We're delighted to share our Aunt Nettie with you. Since 2009 Aunt Nettie has known people were struggling to stretch their dollars during the recession. So she focused her tasty recipes on low-cost ingredients that would still offer delicious, healthy, stick-to-the-ribs foods, yet were affordable.

With the economy improving and more people back at work, Aunt Nettie felt the time was right to ease up a bit on strict bargain-bin shopping and gussy up the menu with a few small splurges.

Aunt Nettie is still happy to answer questions that come her way, but what she loves most is offering seasonal fixin's that inspire her while shopping at the farm stand.

Howdy there darlin's,

Somethin' tells me right now is the purrfect time ta make a batch o' darn good tastin' veggie pickles, an' I have jes the recipe fer makin' it mighty easy.

Now this here recipe is one I cooked up durin' the winter time, when all them root vegetables was in season. You kin still find 'em in the grocery all year round, an' they make mighty tasty pickles.

But if'n yer garden is puttin' out a heap o' summer squashes, why you kin pickle them just as well--jes don't boil 'em in the brine longer than 1 minute! Now that's important! Only 1 minute will do the trick fer ya.

Now don't go worryin' this is gonna take ya all day, 'cause it's not! All's ya do is put all the picklin' brine fixin's in a big pot an' boil it fer a minute. Then ya drop in all yer veggies an' boil 'em fer 2 minutes.

That's all! Yer done! Now ain't that jes dandy? Now put them veggies in a covered container an' keep 'em in the fridge till yer ready fer 'em.

Now fer them summer veggies you kin pickle there's zucchini, yellow squash, patty pan squash, okra, string beans, bell peppers, cucumbers, an' snap peas. Cauliflower an' broccoli make marvelous pickles, too!

I sure hopes yer gonna have fun enjoyin' a heap o' veggie pickles--now y'all let me know how they turned out, will-ya?

Yer ever lovin' Aunt Nettie

Pickles make a delicious accompaniment to any meal. With this colorful assortment, the pickles will brighten up the dinner plate. A platter of these dazzling vegetable pickles also makes a fun addition to the appetizer buffet. I've featured four members of the Brassica family, radishes, daikon, rutabagas, and turnip, to highlight their surprising versatility.

Brassy Pickles


Yield: 3 quarts (about 3 liters)

    Pickling Brine
    4 1/2 cups (1 liter) water
    3 cups (720 ml) distilled vinegar
    1/4 cup (60 ml) organic sugar
    6 cloves garlic, sliced
    5 bay leaves
    2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon salt
    1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seeds
    1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
    1 teaspoon whole peppercorns

    12 large radishes, stems and tails trimmed
    1 daikon radish, (about 1 pound) peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch (1 cm) thick rounds, or 1
    Korean radish, cut into 1/2-inch (1 cm) thick sticks
    3 medium carrots, (about 3/4 pound/340g) peeled and cut into 1/2-inch (1 cm) thick sticks
    2 medium rutabagas, (about 1 pound/453g) cut into 1/2-inch (1 cm) thick sticks
    2 small turnips, (about 1/2 pound/226g) peeled and cut into 1/2-inch (1 cm) thick wedges
    2 medium red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces

  1. To prepare the pickling brine, combine all the brine ingredients in a 6- to 8-quart (6 to 8 liter) stockpot. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 1 minute to dissolve the salt and sugar. Turn off the heat and set aside. Prepare the vegetables.
  2. When all the vegetables are peeled and cut, bring the brine to a boil and add the vegetables. Boil, uncovered, for about 2 minutes, then turn off the heat and set aside until completely cool.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to one or more glass jars, filling to the top. Add the brine, covering the vegetables completely. Seal the jars and put them in the refrigerator. Allow the pickles to marinate for at least 1 week. Refrigerated, the vegetables will keep for up to 3 months. The brine can be reused for another batch of pickles.

If You Haven't Met Aunt Nettie. . .

Our Aunt Nettie has a head like a hard disk. It's filled with megabytes of information about food and cooking. And she's just itchin' to share her learnin' with city folk who live in mortal fear of the stovetop.

Aunt Nettie grew up on the farm. She did not eat out of a can or reach into the freezer. There was no microwave to pop her food into. Everything she made was from scratch. All the food she ate was natural, without pesticides. It was grown right there on the family farm, and she had to cook to survive. At eighty-three years young she still leaps and bounds around the kitchen and can shake, rattle, and roll those pots and pans with the best of them.

Nowadays, Aunt Nettie just shakes her head and complains, "Nobody cooks anymore. They have no idea about puttin' a meal together." She's on a mission. She wants to help those younguns eat better so they can grow up healthy like her own eight kids.

Click here for past Ask Aunt Nettie Columns

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