I find it really amusing how I thought preserving food like pickling or making jam is just for “old” people and now I am obsessed with preserving my garden bounty myself. Maybe I am old now or its just a matter of maturity – which in my case coincides – and realizing how much energy it takes to create good food, I want to make sure I preserve every little bit that is growing in my yard instead of having it fall into the never ending pile of food wasteland. I am sure all of us who have cooked food from scratch would say that it tastes so much better than “box food” and how much more from scratch can it get than growing your own ingredients, even if they are “just” easy to grow herbs, So making your own garden (or farmers market) bounty last as long as possible; preserving offers a great process of making your seasonal favorites last year around. I wouldn’t say though that pickles and jalapenos are my seasonal favorites, To be honest, they just sat around on the counter and I just didn’t know what to do with them and pickling came to mind. And am I glad I pickled them – the pickles ad jalapenos were a big hit with my friends as well as in my own family. None of the glasses lasted for a year, they lasted exactly 2 weeks!
Speaking of preserving – Friday was Mike’s birthday and he preserves really well if I can say so 🙂 We spent the weekend with our friends at Fishlake and the fishing gods meant well with Mike, Sam, Nicole and Payton, Now I am the lucky one preserving 17 Lake Trout – pictures and recipe will follow in the next weeks.
Happy Birthday mein Schatz!
Best Ever Dill Pickles
- 3 pounds of pickling/garden cucumbers (not the waxed ones you get in the store)
- 4 cups of water
- 4 cups of white vinegar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3rd cup pickling salt
- 18 garlic cloves
- 2-3 chili peppers (if you like your pickles hot, if not leave them out)
- 6 tablespoons dill seeds
- Thoroughly scrub cucumbers with a soft vegetable brush in plenty of cold running water. Remove stems and blossoms, Cut cucumbers lengthwise into quarters.
- In a 4-5 quart stainless steel enamel, or nonstick heavy pot combine the water, the vinegar, sugar and pickling salt. Bring mixture to boiling, stirring to dissolve sugar.
- Pack cucumber spears loosely into six hot sterilized pint canning jars, leaving 1/3 inch headspace. Add 1 tablespoon dill seeds to each jar and add 3 garlic cloves per jar and 1-2 chili peppers (optional) Pour hot vinegar mixture into jars, maintaining the 1/2 inch headspace Wipe jar rims, adjust lids and screw on bands.
- Process filled jars in a boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove jars from pot (with tongs), cool on wire racks. Let stand at room temperature for 1 week before serving.
Ingredients: (makes 1 – pint jars)
- 8 jalapeño peppers
- 1/2 red onion
- 1 cup white vinegar or unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
- 2 tablespoons kosher or sea salt (not grey, or iodized salt)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 10 black peppercorns, lightly crushed
- 1 bay leaf
- UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES touch the jalapenos without rubber gloves. Its really important that you wear rubber gloves when dealing with hot peppers. If the juices get on your skin it will burn for a long time – believe me I speak out of experience!
- .Slice off the stems of the jalapeños and cut them into rounds slightly shy of 1/4-inch. Peel the onion and cut it in half. Slice the onion into 1/4-inch slices.
- Heat the vinegar in a nonreactive saucepan with the water, garlic clove, salt, sugar, oregano, peppercorns, and bay leaf until simmering, and the salt and sugar are dissolved.
- Add the jalapeños, carrots, and onions. Let cook in the pan for 1 minute, then cover, remove from heat, and let stand 15 minutes.
- Ladle the mixture into jars, close them, and refrigerate until ready to serve.