Inspired by his Southern childhood, Kevin West presents 220 sweet and savory recipes for jams, pickles, cocktails and more in Saving the Season (Knopf, 2013). From the novice to the professional, Saving the Season is the ultimate guide for any cook. The following recipe for Fermented Green Beans is the perfect recipe to keep the tastes of summer on your menu year-round.
You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Saving the Season.
For a time, I collaborated with an artist whose work was engaged with community gardens, and she asked me to “archive” their harvest by canning it. The collaboration was full of unexpected challenges, like when she gave me a very realistic heart shaped mold, complete with blood vessels and arteries, and asked if I could use it for anything. Of course: for blood orange marmalade.
Another time, she came back from a trip to the Eastern Sierra with a bag of fresh pinon cones, Pinus monophylla, one of several Western-state species that produce edible pine nuts. My challenge was to extract the nuts and make use of the sticky, fragrant sap that covered the cones. I decided to try soaking the pitchy cones in maple syrup, and the results were spectacular. Use very fresh green pine cones or a handful of fragrant branch tips. Steeping the plant material for longer will yield stronger syrup. Once winter sets in, drizzle the syrup over snow-cream. The recipe can be scaled up.
Pine Cone Syrup Recipe
• 1 cup organic sugar
• 1 cup water
• 4 piñon cones, broken apart
1. Heat the sugar and water in a small saucepan just until it boils. Remove from the heat. Stir the cones into the syrup and allow to steep for 15 minutes or as long as overnight, stirring occasionally.
2. Strain the syrup through a fine mesh sieve and discard the cones. Bottle the syrup, and seal. Store the bottles in a refrigerator. For long-term shelf storage, ladle the hot syrup into three prepared 4 ounce jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Seal, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Note: Remove the pine pitch from your hands by rubbing them with olive oil.
Looking for more seasonal recipes? Try this Fermented Green Beans Recipe, also from Saving the Season.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Saving the Season by Kevin West and published by Knopf, 2013.