Sunday, August 29, 2010

Let's get picklin'....

A friend of mine recently gave me a jar of the most delicious pickles ever called "Wickles".  Seriously, WOW!!!  Wickedly delicious!  (here)  and I thought it would be great to make our own ... (since each jar kind of costs $12).  I think we ate the jar in one sitting.
This is a great book for starting pickling and I'd like to add that pickling is SUPER EASY.  
This book, "The Joy of Pickling" by Linda Ziedrich, (here) has  250 recipes to pickle just about anything.  What I like best is that the book includes recipes from many different places, from Asia, to Europe and the America's.  Nothing like a good spicy kimchi to get that blood circulating!  Imagine pickled beets, lemons, cantaloupe, radishes or daikon... mmmm.
We pickled these gherkins last week but today we are undertaking some sweet pickled beets with red wine and also some moroccan-style preserved lemons.  I'll share how that goes later.

There are many recipes for pickles but this is a quick and super easy one for a first time pickler and all the recipe calls for is...

Really quick dill pickles (from the joy of pickling by Linda Ziedrich)

4 pounds of 4" pickling cucumbers
24 whole black peppercorns
1 garlic head cloves separarated, peeled and chopped
6 small dried hot peppers 
6 dill heads with sprigs (or 6 tsp of dry dill seeds)
2 and 3/4 cups of apple cider vinegar
3 cups of water
1/4 cup of pickling salt.

(I'd like to add that this amount of cucumbers fit nicely in 5- single quart jars and because of that, I had to double the vinegar, salt and water bringing it to 1/2 a cup of pickling salt, 6 cups of water and 5 1/2 cups of the cider vinegar in total).

1. half and quarter the cucumbers length wise 

2. Divide the pickles, the garlic, peppercorns, dill seeds and hot peppers 
and place inside your jars
(I addded a 1/4 tsp of turmeric to each jar just to add a bit of color and an extra hot pepper for more kick and I also added a grape leaf to each jar for a firmer type pickle.  
You can find jarred grape leaves at your international section of the supermarket... normally a greek ingredient) 

3. Bring to a boil the salt, vinegar and water, stirring to dissolve the salt.  
(I added 1/2 of a cup of sugar to the mixture to give it a bit of sweetness since I sliced the hot peppers in half to give it more wicked kick but Linda does not call for that.)
4. Pour the liquid equally inside each of the jars, leaving a half inch head space and close each jar with the 2 piece caps. 
5.In a boiling water bath, process the jars for 15 minutes (about 185* F) 

Resist temptation and store the pickles for at least a month 
in a cold, dry place before eating them.  
And after opening the jar, store in the rest in the refrigerator... if there are any left!

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