pickles…PICKLES!

8 Jul

by Linda Ziedrich

It arrived!  And despite this being a belt tightening week, I bought it.  There are many things to love about this book, but I think chief among them is the weird variety of produce she pickles.  The ones that made me go hmmmm include:

  • cantaloupe
  • purslane
  • oranges
  • cherries
  • blueberries
  • plums
  • broccoli
  • okra
  • grapes…

And so on.  That’s pickled. Not turned into a chutney but strait up pickled.  As exciting as those all sound, what I had in my kitchen to pickle were more snap peas and some cukes.  The snap pea recipe I found on http://www.epicurious.com was actually from this book!  And I set out to make traditional dill pickles from the cucumbers. There are a lot, like 100s, of different methods and recipes for pickling cucumbers with dill.  As always I chose a recipe that fit my time table, the ingredients I had on hand, and my preference.  I didn’t have time for a 24 hour (or 12) soak so I found a recipe that called for none of that. I cant find the recipe I used but it called for mixing up your vinegar, salt and water then pouring it, simmering, over a jar full of cukes, garlic, dill and jalapenos.

Let me just say pickling is soooo easy, it is amazing it yields such yummy treats.   And I’m learning lessons as I go.  My revelation on Tuesday night was that I should parse out the pickles so I have the right number of jars, and don’t have to fuss with it once the jars are sterile.

I made several different shapes of pickles with the same recipe as well. I have two jars of whole pickles, three jars of spears and a jar of slices.

The other totally awesome thing about pickles is they are so pretty in the jar. The big dill heads, bright green jalapenos, chunks of garlic and happy little cucumbers remind me of the row after row of jars my grandmother put up every year. This compels me to call my Aunt and get her recipe for pickled peppers. The big heads of dill floating in the brine always fascinated me for some reason.

I’m including this gratuitous picture of the pickled snap peas I made at the same time because I finally seem to have gotten the hang of artful jar filling!  So about 90 minutes to 2 hours of pickling on a busy weeknight (which included time to put in some laundry and switch it, tuck in my daughter, let the dogs out, etc) and I put up 1 large (quart) jar, 4 medium jars (pint) and 1 small jar of spicy garlic dill pickles and four jars (2 medium, 2 small) of pickled snap peas.  Like I said, easy.

I also love this book for it’s chapter on quick pickles. Most of which are ready in under 24 hours, but only last a few weeks.  I’m impatiently waiting for much of my goodies to be ready so one night I threw together some quick pickled onions which I served on top of steak tacos with kholerabi jalapeno slaw.  Yuum .

And easy.

Slice an onion and cover with boiling water for one minute. Drain.

 Boil together 1/4 white wine vinegar and 1/2 cup water with 1/2 tsp pickling salt, 3 crushed allspice berries, 10 crushed pepper corns and 2 cloves garlic, minced.

Pour over the onion and let it sit for 2 hours* and viola!

Pickles are such a great alternative to high fat accompaniments like cheese and sauces!  Check the calorie difference between a taco with lean meat (or better yet beans/tofu) pickles and slaw v. a taco loaded with cheese, avocado and sour cream!

*two hours didn’t happen. It was closer to 1. They were still fantastic. Robby threw some in his guacamole and said it brought the flavor to another level.

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