Vegetable harvest soon ready for pickling
The summer stash of garden vegetables will soon be ripe for the picking. The cucumbers in my vegetable garden are covered with blossoms and with the heat and a little extra watering this last week they are now turning into little cucumbers which by the end of the week should be ready for the picking.
The beets and peppers are also following suit at about the same level of maturity, with the tomatoes a little bit further behind and topic for future columns down the road.
A favorite way to eat the harvest is fresh, but I also have a couple of great pickle recipes that are perfect for utilizing all the excess vegetables I'm anticipating - a great way to make it possible to enjoy the bounty of your harvest all year long.
The two fresh pickle recipes are easy and quick in that you don't have to hot water bath the pickles and wait for weeks before you can eat them.
The "Refrigerator Pickles" are the perfect sweetness with just the right complementary blend of spices, sugar and vinegar. These will keep for several months in the refrigerator, but in all likelihood they will not be around that long and you'll be making additional batches. If you haven't made this type of pickle in the past, don't be concerned when you place everything in your pail or jar to begin with, as it will take a little while for the pickles to make their own juice, increasing the liquid content in the container.
The Grainery Pickles has its name and recipe duplication taken from the former famous Fargo restaurant that always had a jar of these signature pickles setting on each table for diners to enjoy at their leisure. These are a definite contrast to the sweet refrigerator pickles but equally as delicious.
The Beet and Jalapeno Pickle recipes, also both winners, were shared with me a couple of years ago by fellow employee Crys Rubertus. Be careful when preparing the jalapeno recipe. Make sure you put on rubber gloves while slicing the jalapenos and when boiling the mixture open a window or two since the aroma from the jalapenos might become a little intense. I usually double or triple this recipe, since the initial batch will only yield a couple of jars. These are great served later in chili, tacos, fajitas, or as toppings for macho nachos, hamburgers, or any sandwich that needs to be kicked up a notch.
Until next week, from my kitchen to yours, happy cooking!
6 cups cucumbers, sliced
1 cup thinly sliced onions
1 cup white vinegar
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. mustard
1 tsp. salt
Slice the cucumbers (unpeeled) as thin as you like. Slice the onion as thin as you can get them. Place cucumbers and onions in a large jar (at least two quarts or larger). Mix the other ingredients well and pour over the cucumbers and onions. Do not heat anything, pour in cold.
Refrigerate and shake daily for six days. End result is delicious sweet pickle.
2 ¾ quarts of water
1 ¾ cups white vinegar
½ cup salt
2 tbsp. pickling spice
5 garlic cloves
Boil first three ingredients for three minutes and cool. Fill bottom of plastic pail or large jar with fresh dill, two tablespoons pickling spice, and five cloves of garlic. Fill pail or jar with cucumber slices cut the long way in quarters. Put more dill on top, so all are covered with juice. Leave set on counter for 24 hours. Then cover, place in refrigerator and enjoy.
Boil fresh beets with one inch tops until tender
½ cup water
½ cup vinegar
2 tbsp. brown sugar
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. cloves
Boil beets in hot water until tender. Peel and cut into quarters or eighths or if baby beets leave whole. Boil the remainder of the ingredients to make a hot brine. Put hot cooked beets in pint or quart jars and pour boiling brine over top until covered. Screw on hot new caps and lids and wait for jars to seal themselves. Either double or triple the amount of brine depending upon how many beets you've cooked.
Pickled Jalapeno Peppers
Enough jalapenos sliced to fill two pint jars
1 cup vinegar
¾ cup water
1 tsp. salt
2 cloves garlic
Boil all three minutes. Put in hot pint jars with liquid approximately one inch from the top. Screw on hot new caps and lids. Will seal themselves. This recipe makes about two pints so double or triple if you wish. firstname.lastname@example.org