by Karen Joslin
It’s rattlesnake root season again in Florida. Rattlesnake roots are the roots of several edible Betony species. They’re crunchy like radishes but without the spicy kick.
(To find out more about them, see Rattlesnake Roots.)
I loved a recipe for bread-and-butter pickled rattlesnake roots on Greenbasket.me. Unfortunately, last year when I went to make some I couldn't access the recipe because the entire site had been hacked.
The lovely pound of rattlesnake roots sitting on my kitchen counter wasn’t going to wait, so I recreated the recipe as best I could from memory and similar recipes.
Although this recipe calls for a pound of rattlesnake roots, you can use up to 1 1/2 lbs. You may need more than one jar in that case.
The best vinegars to use for this recipe are apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, or rice vinegar.
1 lb. rattlesnake roots
1 1/4 cups vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
3 Tbs. pickling salt
3 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. coriander seeds
1 Tbs. peppercorns
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbs. minced fresh turmeric (or 1/2 tsp. ground)
1 large bay leaf
Clean the rattlesnake roots and trim off any bits that look questionable. Cut long rattlesnake roots into smaller pieces in order to fit them all into a quart-sized jar. (Or use two jars.)
Measure all the other ingredients out into a medium-sized pot. Add the rattlesnake roots. (They'll stay crunchy after cooking.)
Bring the pot contents to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for a few minutes, until the salt and sugar are dissolved.
Pour the mixture into the jar(s). Ideally, leave an inch of space at the top.
Put the cover on the jar and let it cool before refrigerating.
Let them age in the fridge for a week before eating them. Eat them on a salad with other veggies or just as a snack.
These will keep in the fridge for a few months.
If the liquid turns really cloudy and a smell develops or if pressure develops in the jar (there’s a “pop” when you open it), then the pickles have become unsafe to eat.
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