Sometimes in the effort to put dinner on the table we find ourselves in a race with our vegetable plants, which sometimes would rather just make seeds, then die.
Such was the case with a patch of mustard greens I planted last fall. The mustard greens survived the winter–and four feet of snow–just fine. In the spring, they just picked themselves up and kept on growing. In fact, where others of our greens–I’m thinking of the mizuna and collards here–bolted at the first sign of spring, our red mustard greens were making salad for us week after week.
Alas, all good things do come to an end. The mustard greens eventually did what all annual plants want to do: multiply. They started to grow tall and make flowers with every expectation of going to seed. We couldn’t make salads fast enough.
But here’s another solution that I learned of just by chance when an experienced gardener paid us a visit. She suggested pickling those mustard greens.
So I pulled all the plants and carefully culled all the leaves. Together with washing and drying them in the salad spinner, the whole process took more than an hour. After some research on the internet I had recipes for pickling my mustard greens two different ways. They divide neatly along the two hemispheres of the pickling world: ferment some greens with salt, and make a quick pickle with the others using water, vinegar and sugar.
I now have one bucket of greens fermenting under the kitchen table, and a second bucket of greens pickling in a refrigerator. I don’t think there’s any point giving the recipes now, before I’ve tasted the results. This being a first for me, I want to make sure these pickled greens are edible. But how different could they be from, say, sauerkraut, or regular vinegar pickles?