Chrisso Babcock is not only one of our knowledgable High Falls Food Co-op sales associates, but he’s also an educator specializing in Homesteading Arts. Chrisso teaches kitchen-based workshops through his organization Coyote Kitchen.
“I have an upcoming 3 session fermentation and traditional kitchen skills intensive I will be teaching through the SUNY Ulster Continuing Ed program this fall,” Chrisso says. “I have taught this same course three times in the past, and it is one of my favorite ways to connect deeply with a group of students — a 3-hour class, once a month, for three months. If you are interested in learning to make cheeses, sourdough breads, vegetable ferments and preserves, I invite you to sign up for the class.”
Working at HFFC, Chrisso is always inspired by the bounty of locally grown and organic produce available on our shelves. He’s always giving our staff, members, and customers great advice for making the most of their co-op purchases. We asked Chrisso to give us a taste of what he’ll be teaching in his upcoming Coyote Kitchen workshop this Fall.
Coyote Kitchen Watermelon Rind Pickels
by: Chrisso Babcock
-Real Salt, or any high quality unrefined sea salt
-Jars, preferably mason jars
-Optional– Beet, Onion, Garlic
These are a favorite of mine, and in my opinion only worth making with organic watermelons. So, nows the time! When you eat your watermelon, save the rinds; you can keep them in the fridge for a day or so. Alternately, when you cut open your watermelon, you can process it entirely, separating and saving all the fruit in the fridge and prepping the rinds right away.
When making Lacto-fermented pickles like these, there is no need to sterilize the jars, can them, etc. It is enough to work with a very clean working surface, very clean hands, and very clean jars.
1. To prep the rinds, put them on their side and cut away any pink fruit left on the inside, and cut away the dark green outside skin. You are left with a thin green rind. Shapes will vary depending on how you cut and ate your watermelon.
2. Put the rinds in a jar. A quart jar or two will probably do unless you are making a lot.
3. In a separate jar, make a 4% salt brine. This is a very useful salt brine for all sorts of lacto-fermentation / pickling — I especially love to pickle Daikon in this same brine. The brine is made up of 2 Tbsps of salt per quart of water. Make a quart of Brine. Using room temperature water is fine — vigorous stirring or shaking will break down the salt quickly into the water.
4. Pour the brine into the jar with the rinds, taking care to fully cover all the rinds. Leave a little airspace at the top, say half an inch.
5. Optional — Cut a round of onion or beet to fit the top of your jar and hold all the rinds under the surface of the water. Beet will have the added advantage of turning your pickles a lovely pink shade. You can add other spices, like whole garlic cloves, or mustard seeds — but i recommend making a plain batch first to taste the watermelon rind in its simplest form.
6. Place the lid on the jars, tightening just slightly so that air pressure can still escape. Place the jar or jars on a plate (as they are likely to bubble and leak) and leave them on your counter at room temperature for 2-3 days. They will bubble and start to smell like a classic sour pickle. At this point they are ready to transfer into the fridge. They can be capped more tightly and they will keep for 3-6 months.
To sign up for Coyote Kitchen’s workshop:
The sign up for Homesteader’s Kitchen Intensive is through SUNY Ulster. You can sign up over the phone by calling 845-339-2025, or you can register online at www.sunyulster.edu/ce. For online registration, click the link and choose the Register and Pay tab, and then type “homesteader” into the class title box.
9am-12pm, Saturday Mornings, 9/17, 10/15 & 11/19
Stone Ridge Campus (Kelder building)