Pickling, July 2010
Our garden has really begun to provide an abundance of produce and so, to deal with some of the surplus, Eliza and I did some pickling yesterday. Specifically we pickled a ton of cucumbers, but we also did some green tomatoes and some various hot peppers. It was a pretty good time.
I, myself, had never pickled before yesterday. I’ve been witness to it in the past (my parents used to do some), but yesterday was my first occasion to really get in on the action of pickling.
Pickling seems to be a lot of preparation mixed with a lot of waiting. I don’t say this to dissuade any would-be-picklers, but merely to make the point that it is probably not an activity for somebody with a low patience level. For starters you have to get all the veggies you want to pickle, and then chop them up into jar fittable sizes. You also have to decide on what seasonings and spices you want to go in each batch of pickles (last night a batch for us was seven jars). You have to boil both brine and water, and try to keep it consistently hot. You need to be relatively clean, as pickling, much like beer brewing, has a potential for contamination.
All and all though, pickling seems like my kind of thing and I want to do it more. Last night we managed to get through five batches of pickled veggies. I don’t have the exact ingredient lists on me (I’ll try to get them from Eliza), but I can provide a rough idea of what each batch contained.
- Garlic and dill cucumber pickles. Used a simple white vinegar brine and also contained peppercorns, pickling spices, onion, garlic, and mustard seeds (as well as fresh grown dill seeds and stems). Kind of intended to be your standard, run-of-the-mill, dill pickles. Seven pint jars.
- Lemon cucumber pickles. Also used the simple white vinegar brine. Garlic, lemon slices and fresh squeezed lemon juice (with lots of pulp) and fresh bay leaves. Seven pint jars.
- Curry cucumber pickles. Cider vinegar brine. Curry spices, peppercorns, fenugreek, garlic, onion, mustard seeds, bay leaves, and, in three jars, fresh hot peppers. These smelled really good as we were filling them. Eliza says she loves curry pickles and as such we made seven quart jars of these ones.
- Pickled green tomatoes. Simple white vinegar brine. Mustard seeds, onions, garlic, bay leaves. Three jars also had crushed red pepper. Really pretty looking. The green tomatoes were salvaged from one of our tomato plants that unfortunately seemed to be succumbing to fusarium wilt (to prevent spreading to other plants we had to pull the whole thing out and discard it). We made seven pint jars.
- Pickled hot pepper rings. Simple vinegar brine. Pretty much just a variety of hot peppers and garlic. We made seven half-pint jars of these.
Here are a few pictures from the effort.
Admittedly this first pickling occasion of the summer was quite a lot (we didn’t even get through all the vegetables we have). We will probably avoid doing such a large number of batches in the future, and in stead aim to just do one or two when we have some produce ready for it. Specifically on my list of things to pickle are beans, okra, tomatillos, and whatever else looks good. Furthermore, we intend to do some non-pickling canning of things like tomato sauce, salsa, and just some general vegetables. Our hope is to keep most of the canned jars until the winter, when we’ll likely be really craving good vegetables. We’ll see if we can wait that long.
Until next time!