Monday, July 25, 2011

I'm in a pickle!

Today I am trying to branch out a little so this will be a Zentangle free post (GASP!).  I thought it might be fun to include a post about one of my other passions, cooking.  I decided that today would be the day, after a lot of thought and anxiety, that I would make pickles.  This foray into the world of pickling and canning came about for two reasons.  First, I saw a post by Adrienne at The Rich Life (on a budget) about her successful attempt at making quick pickles.  They looked so delicious and easy that I knew I had to try them.  Second, while cleaning out the refrigerator I found 5 half eaten jars of giardiniera.  Giardiniera is a spicy mix of peppers, cucumbers, celery, cauliflower, and carrots.  When my husband gets home from work he usually has a little snack of cheese and salami and a little giardiniera.  The problem is that neither of us is very fond of the celery or bell peppers and we both are dissapointed that there is never enough carrots.  I bought a pickling book six or seven years ago and it happens to have a recipe for giardiniera.  I thought "This is perfect, I'll make it just the way I want and knock out the quick pickles at the same time!"

First I took a trip to the produce stand.  We are lucky enough to have an awesome farm nearby called Imwalle's.  They sell all kinds of cool things you won't find elsewhere.  We picked out pickling cucumbers, onions, and lots of other goodies.  While I was wandering around I saw beautiful bouquets of dill heads.  I had read many recipes for dill pickles that called for dill heads but the cookbook author said they would be difficult to find.  I thought "This is a sign!" and suddenly we were making a third set of pickles.  I stopped by the hardware store and picked up some mason jars and a few canning supplies and set out for home.

First I cut up all the vegetables for the giardiniera.

A delicious mix of banana peppers, cauliflower, spring onions, a little
 red pepper and lots and lots of carrots.

The finished product.  We are storing these in the crawl space in the bedroom (where its cool and dark) for the next three weeks until we can crack one open.

The finished giardiniera.  Heat processed and ready to be eaten
in about 3 weeks.

Next it was onto the quick pickles.  A little sweet, a little salty, alot of delicious.

These will be kept in the fridge for a few days and then I will give
them a try.

Finally, beautiful, green, soon to be dill pickles.  By soon I mean, two to three weeks.  These will be left out on the counter to ferment.  Of all the ones I made today, these have me feeling the most apprehensive.

Soon to be dill pickles with onion, dill, mustard seed
and fresh horseradish root.  

There was alot of prep work involved and some tedious technicalities but all in all I think I have a good chance of being successful with these pickles.

Does anybody out there have any canning or pickling advice for me?  Or how about a favorite recipe?  I would love to hear about it.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the mention, Erin. I think making giardiniera is a great idea. I may have to try it myself.

    Let me know, if you don't mind, how you like the pickles. My family likes them very much, but I think they are too salty. I should have rinsed them better or cut the pickles thicker so they absorbed less salt. I still think they are okay, but need some improvement. Not bad for my first time pickling!

    I am your newest follower - nice to 'meet' you! xo



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