Pigweed, Pickling, & Vegetable Refreshers

We have an assh*le in our midst.  Pigweed.  Pigweed.  Pigweed.

PIGWEED

PIGWEED

This evil weed has officially invaded each and every one of our garden boxes.  Last year we fought it valiantly but lost much of our later crops as this invasive brute marched on.  After several trips to the Sonoma Mission Nursery to consult with minds far more brilliant than ours, we’ve come to the decision to dig out all of our mature garden boxes, treat the beds, start over from scratch, and delay any planting until we can be sure this beast has been generally eradicated.

Our private garden beds here at the Annadel Farmhouse

Our private garden beds here at the Annadel Farmhouse last night at sunset.

Adding injury to insult, I painfully threw out my back a few weeks ago playing Polo for the first time in 14 years.  My brother’s new Father-In-Law, “Mr Bill,” kindly invited me out to “Stick & Ball” before the wedding festivities began last month.

Momentary Joy

Momentary Joy on the Field

It felt AMAZING to play even just a little bit…I felt like my old college self! Until I stepped off this gorgeous horse and back onto solid ground.  OUCH.  My participation in this fabulous wedding weekend dropped down to icing my back, Advils, and reading a Southern Cookbook of unknown title that I found on my now Sister-In-Law’s Kitchen Counter.  My sister Amy is luckily a nurse and administered small cordials of vodka (that I sipped through a straw) as we read away the afternoon.

Back Out & under sister Amy's care.  We're about to discover the Bloody Mary section in Eliza's cookbook

note the straw*

Tipped off by the deliciously chilled vodka, and painful hilarity of it all, we flipped to the Bloody Mary pages and found not just one recipe but a whole section on these “Vegetable Refreshers” and how to properly pickle the condiments.  We were hooked.  And I had a new mission once home: create the perfect Vegetable Refresher and learn how to home-pickle the garnishes.

Made it to the wedding!

Made it to the wedding with my gorgeous husband and wonderful family!

Thanks to Amy, Dean and my gown’s torso-hugging bodice, I recovered enough to attend my brother’s gorgeous wedding to the lovely Eliza and make it home the next day in one piece to Sonoma.

A Must Have for Home Pickling, Jarring, and Canning.

A Must Have for Home Pickling, Jarring, and Canning.

Since I’ve been forced to rest supine a fair bit lately, I’ve been reading up on home jarring, canning and pickling in “Saving the Season” by Kevin West.  A true tome and easy bible on the “do’s and dont’s.” So far, I’ve been able to buy local Spring carrots and asparagus from Oak Hill Farms down the road.

Asparagus pickling in progress

Asparagus pickling in progress

Pickling Bloody Mary condiments for our summer “Refreshers” may seem a bit too jaunty but I can’t wait!  Little Anni helped me peel the carrots and snap the asparagus stalks.  We managed to salvage fresh Tarragon and Thyme from the last corner of the Pigweed-free garden boxes.  Safeway sells darling mason jars in all sizes and shapes just up the road and the larger pint jars are perfect for maximizing cuteness and safely storing the vegetables.

Pickled carrots ready to store on a cool, dark shelf.

Pickled carrots ready to store on a cool, dark shelf.

But this Pigweed will be the end of me if we can’t plant soon!  Stay tuned for recipes in the coming weeks of the perfect Bloody Mary!  After I pickle some green beans in Tobasco, that’s my next task.  That, and get better.

Happy Eating!

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