If you like burros, child labor in dangerous conditions and dudes shredding stalks of raw sugar cane, this video is so for you.
They are making PANELA, a lump-sugar staple here in Mott Haven.
I used it as brown sugar for pickling fennel from a Food52 recipe.
You’ll need jars.
We like Bonne Maman preserves and their jars are ideal.
Take 2 cups of good, white wine vinegar and thin it with a cup of cold water.
To that add 3 or four cloves of raw garlic, chopped, one teaspoon of red pepper flakes and two teaspoons of mustard seed.
I used one teaspoon of black and one of yellow.
Then add about half the zest from a small orange.
Panela is more complex than plain sugar which means it breaks down more slowly.
There’s no sugar rush and the energy lasts a long time. And it’s delicious, like solid molasses.
Grate Panela until you have about 6 tablespoons, packed.
Add some fennel frond and bring the whole thing to a boil, then turn it off and let it sit.
It’s time to cut the fennel!
Cut the stalks off first and save them for your stock bag in the freezer.
Slice the bulb in half along the stalks and lay the halves flat side down on your cutting board.
Now slice through, leaving a bit of the root to hold the ¼” layers together.
That’s all there is to it.
Pack the jars like an undersized suitcase and then fill with the very hot brine.
Spoon the seeds evenly among the jars--one large fennel filled five--then cap tightly and give them about a week in the fridge.
Get gherkin on it!