There were ramps this morning at the farmer’s market. They are expensive but I splurged and got four bunches. One small jar is now pickling in the fridge. I just used a typical brine recipe and an old baling jar since I wasn’t actually canning these. The whole thing has me thinking about serving a pickle buffet next weekend at a potential Memorial Day picnic. Sounds yummy, doesn’t it?
Archive for Pickles
Sometimes when I’m canning I follow a recipe and get exactly 7 jars and process them and it’s magical.
Often when I’m canning I follow a formula and don’t sterilize enough jars so I have to run to the garage and get some more jars in the proper or preferred size and sterilize them quick.
Occasionally when I’m canning I follow a formula and totally run out of jars of the preferred size and then have to use jars of a different size but then realize if I use all those jars I won’t have enough jars for something else and then have to switch to another size jar and hope I have enough of those.
That kind of canning is called pickles.
FRUIT: 1 bushel pickling cucumbers
SOURCE: farmer’s market
RECIPE: buttoned up pickles from my friend Melissa
YIELD: 19 quarts, 11 wide-mouthed pints, 5 regular pints
I remember being pretty small and going to Messina’s delicatessen in Willow Grove and occasionally being allowed to get one giant pickle from the barrel by the counter. My sister, Julie, and I likely shared it as my mom finished her shopping. Probably about a dozen years later Julie and I were with my then-boyfriend-now-husband watching the fireworks on Independence Day. We had stopped at the store on the way downtown and in the tradition of his family picked up a hunk of bread, some salami, and what was surely a runny cheese. Julie and I insisted we also get a jar of pickles, probably Vlasic, and Stefan didn’t see why. Well, I don’t know what happened to the bread and cheese but I do remember the pickles were long gone by the grand finale. Those dills were no match for two teenage girls.
However, it wasn’t until this past year that I discovered how much our father also loves pickles. The man has been going through last year’s quarts faster then… well I don’t know what but really fast. As I got down to one quart left on the shelf I decided I needed to do something serious and quickly. I brought out the half-gallon jars and made a batch to tide him over until I get a bushel from the farm.
FRUIT: 4 pounds pickling cucumbers
SOURCE: farmer’s market
RECIPE: buttoned up pickles
YIELD: 2 half-gallons and a pint of extras in the fridge
I was sure the can jam ingredient for this month would be apples — it is October after all — but it turns out that chile peppers were more what Kaela had in mind. And while I do have apples sitting on the counter waiting to be sauced, peppers — specifically jalapeño peppers — are finding their way into my larder this month.
Last week at the farmers market one of my regular produce booths gave me a whole bunch of jalapeño peppers, along with a handful of cayennes and habeñeros, to pickle. I had purchased a number of jalapeños from her a few weeks ago that we diced and pickled — perfect for nachos — and canned in quarter pints. I gave her a jar last week and she commented that it was enough for one taco but she also told me that when they get a real freeze they will pull their jalapeño plants and pick all the peppers they can so I should expect a bunch then. It sure pays to know a farmer.
We’re expecting a frost tonight and are hoping to put the garden to bed next week so after dinner we went out back and pulled the yellow jalapeño plant — the Jaloro variety — from our garden. We’re slicing ours, along with the ones from the market, because the colors will show better in slices. Plus, half of these jars will be headed back to the farm as a thanks for their generosity and they are big fans of heat.
FRUIT: 3.5 pounds jalapeños
SOURCE: farmer’s market and the garden
Wash and then slice or dice up to 6 pounds of jalapeños.
Combine 5 c. white 5% vinegar, 1 c. water, 4 tsp. salt, 2 Tbsp. sugar, and 2 cloves of garlic in a pot and heat over high heat. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes and turn off the heat.
Pack the peppers into sterilized quarter-pint or half-pint jars leaving .5 inch headspace.
Remove the garlic and pour the hot brine over the peppers, again leaving the .5 inch headspace. Run a non-metallic utensil around the edge of the inside of the jar to get rid of any air bubbles and top off with more brine if necessary.
Process the jars for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.
YIELD: 14 half-pints
TASTE: so pretty and I know they’ll be great.
FRUIT: 5 pounds jalapeños
SOURCE: farmer’s market
RECIPE: Pickled Jalapeños
YIELD: 25 quarter-pints
TASTE: I’m sure they’ll be delicious
I only know a few local friends that can and most of them are the one-batch-per-year variety. But thanks to the wonderful world of the internet I have lots of virtual friends who can either a few batches each year or some who are in as deep as we are. My friend Melissa caught wind of my pickle problem and sent me a recipe. I decided to slice the cukes into spears and really like how they look in the jar at least. We’ll see how they taste in a few more weeks.
FRUIT: 8 pounds pickling cucumbers
SOURCE: farmer’s market
RECIPE: from my friend Melissa
YIELD: 7 quarts
TASTE: I can’t wait to try them
When I saw the ingredient for the can jam this month I must admit, my heart sank a little. Pickled cucurbits and I have a rocky past. Sometimes they’re moldy, sometimes they’re way too vinegary, they’re never great. Last year’s pickles are in the vinegar camp so we’ve been chopping them to use as relish. And then I read somewhere that someone — links would be helpful here, don’t you think? — is making mustard, ketchup, and relish for Christmas gifts. What a great idea. So this year I’m making hot dog relish too and I hope to tackle the pickles after the Tigress posts her cucurbit round-up.
FRUIT: cucumbers, onions, peppers
SOURCE: farmer’s market and our vegetable garden
RECIPE: from the book Pickles and Relishes
Combine 4 cups chopped cucumbers, 2 cups chopped onions, 1 chopped green pepper, and 1 chopped red pepper in a large bowl.
Sprinkle with .25 cup pickling salt and cover with cold water.
Let stand for 2 hours and then drain thoroughly, pressing out the excess liquid.
In a large pot, combine 3.5 cups sugar, 2 cups cider vinegar, 1 Tablespoon celery seeds, and 1 Tablespoon mustard seeds. Heat to boiling.
Add the drained vegetables and simmer for 10 minutes.
Hot pack into half-pint jars with 1/2 inch headspace.
Process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes.
YIELD: 7 half-pints
TASTE: I’m keeping my fingers crossed
EDITED TO ADD: I wrote this post before I had finished canning the relish (got to make the deadline, you know) and I have to say, I am not pleased with how this relish turned out. It is much more like pieces of vegetables floating in brine than an actual relish. Hopefully if will taste alright and we can salvage it but I even have my doubts about that.