Thursday, October 14, 2010

feeling dilly

My posting has been back to the bare minimum this week. Fighting a cold and working full time is no picnic in the park! I did have a great weekend and the joy of that has carried me through this week and moving full-steam ahead in preparation for next weekend!

Last weekend we had a great trip to the Farmer's Market. I love when the seasons change and there's a fresh crop of new goodies to explore!! There are still some remaining signs of summer - and I snapped up some cucumbers after recalling a quick pickle recipe I recently spotted.

I'd never made pickles before and I figured it was now or never.

I did a little internet research for a recipe I liked. I had some criteria: it had to be easy and it had to incorporate what I already had in my pantry. Lazy much? Yes.

What I wound up with is my own recipe based on various others found online. Keep in mind that I wasn't really exact with my measurements. Again, lazy. The following recipe made me 4 - 8oz. jars of pickles.

Quick Dill Pickles

Jars, rings and lids
6-8 small cucumbers
4 small carrots
handful of beans - I used dragon's tongue beans, a fave in our house
fresh dill

head of garlic

3 cups water
2 3/4 cups white vinegar (I used a combo of rice and brown rice vinegar, but use what you have)
pinch or two of sea salt
sprinkle of celery salt

Prepare your jars rings and lids. I did this by boiling the jars and rings in a shallow pans of water. The lids just need to be dunked in some warm water so I waited for the water I had used on the jars to cool down and plopped the lids down in there for a few minutes.

Slice up your garlic - or leave it in whole cloves. Its entirely up to you! Place the garlic cloves, along with some of the peppercorns down in the jars. You could also sprinkle in some chili flakes for heat or chopped chilies for more heat!

Prep your veggies. I cut the end off my cukes and carrots and sliced them in spears. My beans I just cut the ends off. I did not cook my beans, but I'm thinking that I maybe should have. Once you have all the veggies sliced, assemble them in the jars. Pull off a handful of the fresh dill and stuff that in with the veggies.

Boil together the water, vinegar, salt and celery salt. You could also add fennel seed, cumin, coriander or celery seed. Once the salt is dissolved, distribute evenly amongst your jars leaving about 1/2 inch at the top. I used a ladle to pour in my liquid but you could also use a funnel just as easily. Put on your lids and rings then allow the jars to cool a bit. Once they are cool enough to handle, pop 'em in the fridge and try to resist sampling them for about 2 weeks. I failed that test and tried one the next day. They seem to be coming along quite nicely!

I was totally in love with this entire process and hope to do some more pickling in the future!!

Have you ever tried pickling anything? 

Please share any favorite recipes or experiences with pickling.