Saturday, July 27, 2013

Pickling day

In order to take full advantage of the harvest vegtables have to be process and preserved for  later consumption.  We always pickle cucumbers and in the past have pickled squash, zucchini, green beans, and tomatoes.  I say we, but really this is the first year I have been heavily involved in the pickling process.  My wife grew up out here in the country and has pickled and canned food since childhood. Today were making Garlic Dill Pickles and Pepperoncini's.

 Garlic Dill Pickles:
  1. 3-4 cups 4-inch cucumbers
  2. 4 cups water
  3. 2 cups white vinegar
  4. 1/2 cup pickling salt
  5. 1/2 teaspoon of alum (1/8 teaspoon per jar)
  6. 2 tablespoons of dill seed (1/2 tablespoon per jar) 
  7. 2 heads of garlic (4-5 cloves per jar)
 Wash cucumbers, if they were picked a few over the course of a few days soak them in cold water for about a half hour.Put on a large pot of water and start it to boiling. While they are soaking place the alum, dill seed, and garlic cloves in the sterile jars this recipe makes four jars. Pack the the jars with cucumbers holding the jar sideways and trying to get them as tight as possible in order to ensure that you have enough brine. Combine the vinegar, water and salt in a sauce pan and bring to boil. When brine is boiling pour into jars over cucumbers leaving about a  half inch of air at top of jar. Take lid out of simmering pot and  screw into place.  Place jars into large pot of boiling water making sure water covers jar completely. Take out after ten minutes and listen for the satisfying ping sound the jars make as they cool.

  Pepperoncini's -recipe in progress.

  1. 4 teaspoons of alum (1 per jar) 
  2.  4 tablespoons peppercorns (1per jar)
  3. 4 teaspoons of red pepper flakes (1 per jar)
  4. 1 head of garlic (3-4 per jar)
  5. Same brine as above

The first jars of Pepperoncini's we made tasted great, but did not get crispy so we are trying again with more alum in the recipe and we boiled the jar for slightly less time after it was packed with brine. The banana peppers seem to grow in abundance here no matter the weather so we need to perfect this process.  When each plant represents back breaking labor, waste is not an option.
Both recipies are for four jars, but if your jars are very tightly packed you may have enough brine for more.  We made six jars of pickles and one jar of pepperoncini's with a little brine left over. 

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