Printer Friendly

Perfectly Piquant Pickles: Using the right mix of brines and spices, you can revamp your homemade pickling game with creative takes on crunchy classics.

The current renaissance in food preservation has brought some long overdue awareness to the craft of vinegar pickling. Modern canning companies are popping up all across the globe and creating fresh, quirky, and inspired takes on the traditional pickles we know and love.

Any vegetable or fruit submerged in a vinegar brine or having vinegar added to it is in pickle territory. This includes condiments, and a myriad of fruit and vegetable pickles. While the varieties on the market are worth a try, pickles are also quite simple to make at home. There are two methods of vinegar pickling: refrigerator and fresh-pack canned. Refrigerator pickles are raw or blanched vegetables or fruits that are immersed in brine, and then placed in the fridge to cure for up to two days. Sometimes these pickles are cold-brined, which is best for very thinly cut or soft vegetables. Usually, however, we pour hot brine over the vegetables, helping the flavors to penetrate quickly.

Two methods are used to create fresh-pack canned vinegar pickles. With hot pack, the vegetables or fruit are hot before the brine is added (usually they're heated in the brine) and then packed into hot canning jars. With cold pack, raw or blanched vegetables are packed into hot jars and the brine is poured over. Both hot pack and cold pack are processed in a water bath canner or steam canner for a specified time. Remove the jars, place them on a folded dish towel, and leave them undisturbed until cool. Then check each jar to make sure the lid has sealed; any unsealed jars should be placed promptly into the refrigerator. Sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dry place with or without rings for up to one year.

Mix, match, and adapt the recipes below to find your preferred pickling style, and enjoy the way this preservation technique breathes new life into your garden bounty.

By Tamika Adjemian

Tamika Adjemian is a recipe developer and Master Food Preserver. Find her on Instagram @TamikaAdjemian. This is an excerpt from her new book. Pickled to Please, available above.
MAPLE BREAD & BUTTER CUCUMBERS
No need to be limited in this recipe: If you prefer sugar to maple, go
for it! Try brown sugar. Whisky or bourbon would also add unique depth
to the brine. Yields 2 pints.

Maple Brine recipe (Page 32)
1 tablespoon Bread & Butter Spice Mix (Page 34)
1 1/2 pounds pickling cucumbers, blossom ends removed, sliced into
  1/2-inch rounds

1. Combine the brine and spice mix in a medium-sized stainless steel
pot, and bring it to a simmer.
2. Pack the cucumber slices into clean, hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch of
headspace. Pour the hot brine over the cucumbers, using a canning funnel
and staying mindful of the headspace.
3. Remove any air bubbles. Wipe jar rims, and apply lids and rings.
Process in a water bath canner or steam canner for 15 minutes. Cool and
check jars for lid seal.

ALL-AMERICAN CUCUMBER RELISH
Perfect for an over-abundance of garden-fresh cucumbers, this recipe
doesn't call for anything fussy at all. The result is the simple,
classic flavors of a sweet vinegary relish. Yields 2 pints.

1 pound pickling cucumbers, scrubbed
1 small red pepper, stem and seeds removed
1 small onion, peeled
Sweet and Tangy Brine recipe (Page 32)
1/2 tablespoons Relish Spice Mix (Page 34), toasted in a small skillet

1. Using a food processor, pulse the vegetables until finely chopped, or
chop finely by hand.
2. Place vegetable mixture in a medium-sized stainless steel pot with
the prepared brine and spice mix, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat
and let simmer for about 15 minutes, or until liquid begins to cook
down, stirring occasionally.
3. Using a canning funnel, spoon the relish into hot, clean jars,
leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Remove air bubbles by running a chopstick
or butter knife down the inside of the jars several times. Wipe the jar
rims, and apply the lids and rings. Process in a water bath canner or
steam canner for 15 minutes. Cool and check lids' seals.

PEARL ONION PICKLES
I have a vague childhood memory of popping jarred cocktail onions into
my mouth faster than my adult family members could put them into their
drinks--olives and miniature gherkins too. I'm certain your inner child
will want to devour this updated version with maple and spices just as
quickly. Yields 2 pints.

1 pound pearl onions (about 4 cups)
Maple Brine recipe (Page 32)
2 teaspoons Relish Spice Mix (Page 34)
1 teaspoon chili flakes

1. Blanch the pearl onions in boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes, or until
the skins pop off easily. Peel; set aside.
2. Combine the brine, spice mix, and chili flakes in a medium-sized
stainless steel pot and bring to a simmer. Add the onions, and simmer
for 1 minute.
3. Spoon the onions into clean, hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.
Using a canning funnel, fill the jars with brine, and then remove any
air bubbles. Wipe the jar rims, and apply the lids and rings. Process in
a water bath canner or steam canner for 15 minutes. Cool and check jars
for lid seal.

BREAD & BUTTER TOMATOES
This recipe is a great option for preserving the bounty of fresh
tomatoes from your summer garden. Yields 2 pints.

1 pound mixed cherry tomatoes (about 3 cups)
Sweet and Tangy Brine recipe (Page 32)
2 tablespoons Bread & Butter Spice Mix (Page 34)
1 small yellow or red onion, thinly sliced

1. Cut a small "X" in the bottom of each tomato to keep them from
bursting while pickling.
2. Combine the brine and spice mix in a medium-sized stainless steel
pot, and bring to a simmer.
3. Pack the tomatoes and onion slices into clean, hot jars, leaving 1/2
inch of headspace. Pour the hot brine over them, using a canning funnel
and staying mindful of the headspace. Remove any air bubbles. Wipe the
jar rims, and apply the lids and rings. Process in a water bath canner
or steam canner for 10 minutes. Cool and check jars for lid seal.

CLASSIC VINEGAR-BRINED CUCUMBER PICKLES
This tangy white-vinegar-brined pickle is a versatile template for all
your cucumber pickle fantasies. It can be left plain, or seasoned the
way you like it, and it's the only pickle spear recipe you'll ever
need. Try different brine combinations, and add less dill or more hot
peppers and garlic, or even horseradish. Yields 2 quarts.

Basic Brine recipe (Page 32), doubled
4 teaspoons black peppercorns
2 tablespoons mustard seeds
2 1/2 to 3 pounds fresh, small or medium pickling cucumbers
2 to 4 small fresh grape leaves, or 6 to 8 raspberry or blackberry
leaves

OPTIONAL SEASONINGS; USE THEM ALL OR JUST ONE:
4 to 8 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
8 fresh dill fronds or 4 teaspoons dried dill
4 to 6 teaspoons dried dill seeds
2 teaspoons celery seed
2 to 4 small hot peppers or 2 teaspoons chili flakes
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar

1. Combine the brine, peppercorns, and mustard seeds in a medium-sized
stainless steel pot, and bring to a simmer.
2. Lightly wash the cucumbers to remove any dirt, and trim a sliver off
the blossom end. Halve small cucumbers lengthwise, and quarter
medium-sized cucumbers if needed to make uniform pickle sizes.
3. Evenly divide the grape leaves and any additional seasonings into
hot, clean jars. Pack the cucumbers tightly into the jars, standing them
on end, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. (They'll loosen once they're
pickled, as the moisture is pulled from the cucumbers.)
4. Pour hot brine over the cucumbers using a canning funnel and staying
mindful of the headspace. Remove any air bubbles. Wipe the jar rims, and
apply the lids and rings. Process in a water bath canner or steam canner
for 15 minutes. Cool and check jars for lid seal.


Gritty's Tips

BRINES

Brines have an optimal balance of acids to keep preserved pickles safe while also preventing the sourness from overpowering the fresh produce and seasonings. Use a vinegar of at least 5 percent acidity. If you like a stronger tang, replace up to 1/2 cup of the water with more vinegar. If you prefer less of a bite to your pickle, you can safely add a sweetener; start with 1 to 2 tablespoons to take the edge off. To prepare the brines at right, simply bring the ingredients to a simmer before use. Each recipe makes enough brine for one quart jar or two pint jars.
BASIC BRINE

You can substitute apple cider vinegar for the white vinegar here, if
preferred. You can also replace up to 1/2 cup of water with brewed tea,
apple cider, hard cider, beer, rum, tequila, whiskey, or bourbon; or
even try substituting a few tablespoons of the water with mezcal or
another strongly flavored liquor.

1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons salt
Basic pickling spice, black pepper, chili flakes, curry spice, fresh
ginger, fresh herbs of choice, fresh turmeric, garlic, hot peppers,
masala spice, mustard seeds, and/or onion, to taste

SWEET AND TANGY BRINE

You can replace up to 1/2 cup of the water with brewed tea, apple cider,
hard cider, beer, rum, whiskey, or bourbon.

1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons salt
  1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar, white or brown
Basic pickling spice, fresh ginger, fresh herbs, fresh turmeric, garlic,
hot peppers, onion, and/or relish spice, to taste

MAPLE BRINE

Replace up to 1/2 cup of the water with apple cider, beer, or hard
cider, if preferred. If you'd like to add some rum, whiskey, or bourbon,
substitute no more than 1/4 cup of the water with alcohol.

1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  1/2 cup water
  1/2 cup maple syrup, or to taste
2 teaspoons salt
Basic pickle spice, black peppercorns, cardamom, cinnamon stick, cloves,
coriander, fresh or dried ginger, juniper, marjoram, mustard seeds,
nutmeg, relish spice, sage, star anise, sweet and smoked paprika,
tarragon, and/or thyme, to taste


Our Store

PICKLED TO PLEASE

Mix-and-match recipes for pickled vegetables and fruits

* Pickled to Please is your go-to guide for all things pickling! Perfect for new and experienced canners, the book teaches you everything from food preservation methods and safety information to techniques and recipes. Every cook will relish the tips in this cookbook, as author Tamika Adjemian encourages experimenting with different flavors and combinations to find the perfect pickle.

This title is available at www.Grit.com/Store or by calling 866-803-7096. Mention promo code MGRPAJZB. Item #9505.
Pickling Spice Mixes

Freshly made spice blends allow you to experience the way each
individual spice mingles with the rest to create a particular flavor.
Because pickling means you're trapping produce in jars long-term to
absorb brine, you should use the best spices and herbs available. These
recipes each yield about 1 cup. To make them, simply combine all the
spices in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid.

BREAD & BUTTER SPICE MIX

  1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
3 tablespoons black peppercorns
2 tablespoons black mustard seeds (or more yellow)
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon celery seeds
1 tablespoon crushed bay leaf
2 teaspoons allspice berries
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon chili flakes, or to taste
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise, optional

RELISH SPICE MIX

1/2 cup mustard seeds (all yellow, or a combination of yellow and brown)
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons dry mustard powder
1 tablespoon celery seeds
2 teaspoons chili flakes
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
COPYRIGHT 2019 Ogden Publications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2019 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Adjemian, Tamika
Publication:Grit
Date:Jul 1, 2019
Words:1959
Previous Article:How to Handle a Home POULTRY BUSINESS: You can crow over your earnings by following this common-sense advice on raising and selling eggs, chicks, and...
Next Article:Weld a Wall-Mount HAY FEEDER: Create a simple feeder that'll be as useful to you as it is to your livestock.
Topics:

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters