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Spiced Rhubarb Pickles

3 Aug

Though I made these delicious spiced rhubarb pickles with fresh rhubarb from long-ago week four of the Geauga Family Farms CSA, I kept forgetting to take a picture of them so I could post the recipe.  We devoured most of them while we were on vacation at Higgins Lake since they make such a delicious, refreshing snack.  I enjoyed them most as you see them served here – on some bread or toast (pictured is whole wheat toast) with a smear of goat cheese.  These are an absolute explosion of flavor – natural tartness from the rhubarb, a bite of acid from the vinegar, sweetness from the sugar, and an underlying savory, fragrant spice from the mustard and cloves.

Spiced Rhubarb Pickles

Adapted from RhubarbInfo.com

Pickles:

2 cups rhubarb, chopped into 1″ pieces

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup plus 2 tbs. apple cider vinegar

1/2 orange, juice and zest

Large pinch ground ginger

1.5 tsp. yellow mustard seeds

2 cloves

1 small cinnamon stick

Additional Equipment:

1 pint-sized canning jar, unused lids, metal screw bands for canning lids

1 metal collander or canning rack

Mandolin, fitted with “crinkle” blade

Tongs

Carefully clean the rhubarb stalks, being sure to scrub them so they are physically clean and free from any dirt or debris.

Regardless of whether you are going to store your pickles outside of the refrigerator or inside of the refrigerator, you must sterilize your jar.

Storage inside of refrigerator:  Run jar through dishwasher or place in a 200º oven for 10 minutes.

Storage outside of refrigerator:  Place empty jars on a metal rack or metal collander in a large pot.  Fill pot with warm water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low in order to keep jars hot and ready for canning.  Pour boiling water over both lids and rings.

Place vinegar, sugar, juices, and all of the spices in a medium pot and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Once sugar as dissolved, add rhubarb.  Bring to a boil again.  As soon as the vinegar solution boils, use a slotting spoon to start packing sterilized or hot jar with rhubarb.  Pack the jar about an inch from the rim with vegetables.  Pour hot vinegar solution over the rhubarb to about a half in from the rim.  Wipe the rim clean with a paper towel.  Place a sterilized lid on the jar and secure with metal screw cap.

If storing in the refrigerator:  Transfer to refrigerator.  Store about a five days before eating for maximum flavor.

If storing otuside the refrigerator:  Transfer the jar to the hot water bath.  Water must be about an inch over the top of the jar.  Raise heat and boil vigorously for 20-25 minutes.  Remove from water and let cool.  Once opened, lid should make a “pop” noise if it was properly sealed.

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Refrigerator Dill Pickles

31 Jul

As you may have noticed, we’ve been receiving an abundance of pickling cucumbers in our weekly CSA baskets.  I’ve already made a batch of really delicious bread and butter pickles from them, but since Zak prefers dill, I thought I’d try my hand at those as well.  These pickles could not be any easier or cheaper to make – all you need to do is get your ingredients ready, throw some in the jar, simmer the rest, and then combine.  The hardest part is waiting 24 hours to try one.  These are crispy and salty with a lovely bite from the acid, hint of garlic and spice, and punch of dill.

Dill Pickles

18 pickling cucumbers

1 cup sweet onion, thinly sliced

8 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

4 cups fresh dill, packed

4 cups water

4 cups white vinegar

3/4 cup pickling/canning salt

1/2 cup white sugar

1 tsp. dill weed

1/2 tsp. Tony Chachere’s original Creole seasoning

Storage inside of refrigerator:  Run jars through dishwasher or place in a 200º oven for 10 minutes.

Storage outside of refrigerator:  Place empty jars on a metal rack or metal collander in a large pot.  Fill pot with warm water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low in order to keep jars hot and ready for canning.  Pour boiling water over both lids and rings.

Cut about 10 of the skinniest cucumbers into quarters to make spears.  Place the cucumbers  into a large bowl.  Add 2/3 cup onion, 4-5 of the garlic cloves, and 3 cups of fresh dill.  Set aside.

Using a mandolin fitted with the crinkle cut blade set to 1/4″, cut the remaining 8 fattest cucumbers into slices.  Place the cucumbers into a medium bowl.  Add 1/3 cup onion, 3-4 of the garlic cloves, and 1 cup of fresh dill.  Set aside.

In a medium pot, add remaining ingredients.  Set heat to medium.  Frequently whisking, heat until nearly at a boil and all of the salt and sugar is dissolved.  Pour about 2/3 over the spear cucumbers and 1/3 over the crinkle cut cucumbers in the bowls.

Let cool to room temperature.

For spear cucumbers, use a set of kitchen tongs to take about half of dill and half of onions and place in the bottom of a canning jar.  Repeat in a second canning jar.  Place half of spears in each jar and pour brine, including garlic cloves and whole peppercorns, over top into jars.  Screw caps on and shake a few times.  Place in the refrigerator.  The pickles will be ready in a minimum of 24 hours.  They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

For crinkle cut cucumbers, use a set of kitchen tongs to take the dill and onions and place in the bottom of a canning jar.  Place the crinkle cut cucumbers in the jar and pour brine, including garlic cloves and whole peppercorns, over top into jars.  Screw caps on and shake a few times.

If storing in the refrigerator:  Place in the refrigerator.  The pickles will be ready in a minimum of 24 hours.  They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

If storing outside the refrigerator:  Transfer the jar to the hot water bath.  Water must be about an inch over the top of the jar.  Raise heat and boil vigorously for 20-25 minutes.  Remove from water and let cool.  Once opened, lid should make a “pop” noise if it was properly sealed.

Bread and Butter Pickles

16 Jul

I never had a strong opinion one way or the other about bread and butter pickles until college, when my bestie and roomie, Julie, started to put them on our shopping list.  I then discovered that I loooooved them as a snack.  I love the way the sweetness of the sugar plays against the tartness of the vinegar, the crunch of the pickle, and the aroma of the spices.  So, when I saw a precious little bundle of pickling cukes in our weekly CSA share, my mind immediately jumped to the idea of creating my own bread and butter pickles – all the more so because it is important to me to try and use all means necessary to use and preserve our weekly CSA goodies.

Pickles are actually delightfully easy to make.  There is no need to be intimidated by the canning process, which is actually fairly straightforward.  I detailed what you need to do below, although I didn’t bother sealing the jars because I know these will be gobbled up well within the several weeks they will be viable under refrigeration.

Bread and Butter Pickles

Adapted from Simply Recipes

Pickles:

.625 lb. pickling cucumbers

1/2 large sweet onion, thinly sliced

1 tbs. pickling salt

1/3 cup white distilled vinegar

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 tsp. mustard seeds

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1 inch cinnamon stick

3 whole cloves

Pinch ground nutmeg

Large pinch turmeric

Additional Equipment:

1 pint-sized canning jar, unused lids, metal screw bands for canning lids

1 metal collander or canning rack

Mandolin, fitted with “crinkle” blade

Tongs

Carefully clean the cucumbers, being sure to scrub them so they are physically clean and free from any dirt or debris.  Slice off each end and run through “crinkle” blade of mandolin on 1/8″ setting.  Alternatively, slice the cucumbers about 1/8″ wide.

Place cucumbers in a large bowl.  Add sliced onions and pickling salt and stir to thoroughly combine.  Cover with a clean, thin tea towel.  Cover towel with a few inches of ice.  Place bowl in the refrigerator in let chill four hours.  Discard any remaining ice.  Drain and thoroughly rinse cucumbers and onions.  Repeat.

Regardless of whether you are going to store your pickles outside of the refrigerator or inside of the refrigerator, you must sterilize your jar.

Storage inside of refrigerator:  Run jar through dishwasher or place in a 200º oven for 10 minutes.

Storage outside of refrigerator:  Place empty jars on a metal rack or metal collander in a large pot.  Fill pot with warm water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low in order to keep jars hot and ready for canning.  Pour boiling water over both lids and rings.

Place vinegar, sugar, and all of the spices in a medium pot and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Once sugar as dissolved, add cucumbers and onions.  Bring to a boil again.  As soon as the vinegar solution boils, use a slotted spoon to start packing sterilized or hot jar with cucumbers and onions.  Pack the jar about an inch from the rim with vegetables.  Pour hot vinegar solution over the cucumbers and onions to about a half inch from the rim.  Wipe the rim clean with a paper towel.  Place a sterilized lid on the jar and secure with metal screw cap.

If storing in the refrigerator:  Transfer to refrigerator.  Store about a five days before eating for maximum flavor.

If storing outside the refrigerator:  Transfer the jar to the hot water bath.  Water must be about an inch over the top of the jar.  Raise heat and boil vigorously for 20-25 minutes.  Remove from water and let cool.  Once opened, lid should make a “pop” noise if it was properly sealed.

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