Posts tagged ‘Pickling’

June 26, 2012


Though pickles have long been a favorite of mine, it wasn’t until I gave up all foods with High Fructose Corn Syrup in them that I started pickling on my own. Pickling has not only made me  popular with my friends, I do take pickle requests, it is quick and simple. This is all you need for pickling.

All you need

You need vinegar, kosher salt or pickling salt as it is sometimes called, jars, pickling spices, you can make your own or buy them, I buy them from my local spice shop, water, and kirby cucumbers.

The ratio is very simple. For every 2 quarts of water you need 1 cup of vinegar and 1/2 cup kosher salt. Put those ingredients into a pan and bring to a boil. After you have sterilized the jars by soaking them in boiling water, put one tablespoon of your pickling spices into the bottom of each jar. I add a teaspoon of red hot pepper flakes for a little kick , but you don’t have to. I also add two sprigs of dill to each jar if I have it on hand.

While the water is coming to a boil cut the Kirby cucumbers into either spears or slices. I find that 6 pounds of Kirby’s makes 5 1 quart jars of pickles. This batch I did both.

Once the water comes to boil top off the cucumbers with the brine, seal the jars, done and done. They will keep in the fridge for months. You can also pickle nearly any vegetable using this brine. Cauliflower, asparagus, carrots, green beans (yellow ones work best.)


6 pounds Kirby’s
4 quarts water
2 cups vinegar
1 cup Kosher Salt (or pickling)
5 tablespoons pickling spice
5 teaspoons red pepper flakes
10 sprigs dill

Now that the secret is out, my phone is sure to stop ringing.

November 1, 2010

Try Hamming it up on T-Day

Halloween is certainly my favorite holiday and if it were up to me a fall feast much like Thanksgiving would accompany Halloween, only with less pilgrims and more ghouls. Despite my favoritism Thanksgiving is the holiday that I have cooked every single year since I graduated from college. Over the years the guest list developed into a group of friends and family who expected to see each other at my table sometimes for the only time they would that year. Many friendships have been formed over that meal and a few have been put to rest. This year for the first time in 17 years I will not be hosting Thanksgiving and will be going to a friend’s home. We are sharing the cooking duties and I though I am looking forward to it, the change in venue is tinged slightly with a hue of nostalgia. Ultimately the memories that are scratching at the door are of my younger self, my younger life and of all the dishes that I have made over the years, some improved to perfection and some abandoned. Obviously, I will not be cooking every dish that I usually do but that doesn’t mean that I can’t write about them.

Turkey is one of the most overrated birds to cook. I personally find duck, fresh ham, prime rib, salmon, (my first Thanksgiving, I was in Portland, OR) Dungeness crab, (Seattle) leg of lamb, crown roast of pork and Cornish game hens more fun to make, and more satisfying in my belly. Without a doubt turkey is a cheap option by the pound and if ordered from an organic farm and brined I can get a little excited because brining is close to pickling and let’s not kid ourselves, I’m a pickling fiend. Which is what we are doing this year. But for those of you out there like myself that like turkey well enough, but don’t get super excited about it, we have so many other options.

Fresh local ham can be cheaper than turkey pound for pound and certainly more delicious. I had never had a fresh ham before I made this recipe several years ago and it was honestly this recipe that started my true awareness of the pig as the wonderful edible bounty that it is. I have never looked back. The recipe below from Food and Wine Magazine (I had to look it up, my recipe was cut out and pasted into one of my cookbooks) calls for a smoked ham, but the first time I made it there were only fresh hams at the butcher, we so thoroughly enjoyed the results that I continue to make it with fresh ham instead of smoked.

The only other adjustment that I made was that I used orange marmalade sometimes instead of the lemon-lime, but I only recommend doing this if you are using a good brand like Hero, that isn’t too sweet, otherwise stick to the lemon-lime. Or if you want to get adventurous I do recommend making your own. Marmalades are simple and can be made with anything from Meyer lemons to grapefruits to kumquats. 1 Green Generation has a good recipe.

Lemon and PickledPeppadew Glazed Ham

1 7-½ pound bone in ham (fresh or smoked)

1 lemon, thinly sliced

1 large white onion, thinly sliced

3 cups homemade chicken stock

3/4 cup lemon-lime marmalade

¼ cup seeded and coarsely chopped pickled hot Peppadews

¼ cup grainy mustard

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons bourbon

2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 3 tablespoons water

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Removed the skin from the ham, but leave the fat layer on the meat so that it is at least ¼ of an inch thick. Score the fat in a crosshatch pattern at ½ inch intervals. Try not to cut the fat all the way to the meat. You can ask your butcher to do this for you. Put the ham in a roasting pan and scatter the lemon and onion slices around it and pour in the chicken stock.

In a food processor combine the marmalade, pickled peppers, mustard, lemon juice and bourbon, blend until a course purée. Brush the top of the ham with 2 tablespoon of the glaze cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.

Remove the foil and brush the ham with ½ cup of the glaze and bake for 1 more hour. Leave the foil off.

Brush the ham again with another ½ cup of the glaze and bake until the ham is browned and the meat thermometer says 155 F about 30 more minutes.

Transfer the ham to a cutting board and tent with foil to keep warm. Skim the fat off of the pan juices. Boil the juiced in the pan until the liquid reduced to 2 ½ cups, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the cornstarch slurry along with the remaining ½ cup of glaze and simmer over a medium high heat until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Slice the ham and serve with the sauce.

October 12, 2010

Pickling the Web

Having never pickled before I was absolutely intrigued when I came across Kitchen Konfindence’s for Kosher Dill Pickles. He also had never pickled and said that when he came across David Lebovitz’s recipe he couldn’t believe how easy it was. That may or may not be an overused phrase by us food bloggers, we seem to think that ‘easy’ is a great way to get people to try things, but before I tried this recipe I did think that pickling was a much more complicated process than it is.

This recipe tells you, once the cucumbers are in their brine and spices just to put your jars on a shelf covered with cheesecloth for 3-6 days and then to put them on the fridge. I was most nervous about this because the brine in this recipe is just salt water with spices, no vinegar, and as a person raised in a world of preservatives this made me feel that this combination wasn’t going to be enough for ‘preserve’ the pickles. Then I kicked myself in the shins because cultures have been making pickled lots of things for almost as long as civilization has been around, it is believed that the Mesopotamians pickled as early as 2400 BC and somehow everyone didn’t die off from food poisoning.


Pickled and Ready to Eat


Everything went perfectly and these pickles were delicious. However, though billed as dill, mine came out tasting more like new pickles, they had a lovely salty slightly dill flavor rather what I was expecting which was very dilly and less salty. They were delicious and I will make them again.

Once I realized just how easy pickling is, I went on a pickling jag. I helped a friend with her garden this summer and though her tomato plants are currently confused and are still trying to flower, the fruits still on the plants are not all that interested in ripening. So we stripped the bushes of the green fruits and made pickled green tomatoes.

Using the same basic pickling recipe I also pickled a mixture of purple, yellow and green beans. I did start to freak out when I noticed that some of the garlic in the brine had started to turn blue but this as it turns out is something that happens to garlic sometimes during pickling due to the fact that garlic contains anthocyanin, a water soluble pigment that under acid conditions may turn blue or purple. I do think it is interesting that this did not happen with just the salt brine. The recipe that I used for both the green tomatoes and the green beans was Tara’s from Tea and Cookies. The only adjustments that I made was that in addition to the pickling spices, I added a healthy dose of red pepper flakes and lots of blue garlic. The green beans turned out crispy, fresh and with just enough sting, the tomatoes turned out a little weird, I can’t decide if I like them. I am however, going to take Tara’s suggestion and just start grabbing things at the farmers market and pickling them because honestly, what’s better than pickled produce?

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