Sunday, November 16, 2008

Let's get pickled!

I am so sick of pickling right now that I can hardly write this blog. And I'm really only half way done. What an undertaking! I imagine subsequent pickling sessions will run a bit smoother, and I am praying to God that no one gets botulism from eating any of my pickled goods.
"Merry Christmas!! How was your stay in the hospital for the near death experience I gave you as an unpleasant side effect to my cheap gift?! I was relaxing in Vermont at the time, so I really only heard about it second hand. Anyway, nice to see you!"

On the to do list:
dilly beans (a request by my roommate McD)
pickled asparagus
Giardiniera mix
Onion jam

Done so far:
dilly beans
Giardiniera mix

Quinn has his own recipes in the works, check out his blog for snazzy photos (notice he didn't take any of my superior jars - jealousy makes some people so petty), and his recipes.

Aside from the fear that I will kill my loved ones, or at least make them violently ill, I also worry that my flavor will be off. I mean I can't tweak this. I have to WAIT and taste it to find out if it's any good. I hate that. The dilly bean recipe I found calls for "dill heads" which I thought just meant a bunch of dill. It doesn't. So, in my, uh, "experiment" I just chucked in a whole bunch of dill fronds or whatever the heck they're called, in my jars. Wish McD and I luck. They look flaccid as hell and I'm pretty sure I overcooked them on top of improperly spicing them. I am SO not cut out for things that require following instructions.

Dilly Beans
(based on this recipe from Allrecipes)
4 pint jars for canning
3 c water
1/2 c pickling salt (aside from every grain being identical, I have no idea how this is different from any other salt)
- here is where I'd suggest 4 dill heads, but not having the foggiest what a dill head was or where to find one until AFTER, I used around 2 bunches of dill, around 1/3 of a bunch in each jar
1/4 c pickling spice
1/4 c mustard seed
4-8 dried piquin (or some other variety) peppers
12 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 1/2 lbs fresh green and yellow wax beans

Sterilize the jars. Seriously, don't mess around with this part. I was super careful and I'm still nervous.
Combine the water, salt and vinegar in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and keep at a simmer while prepping the sterilized jars.
Pack each jar with the following: a good amount of dill (again, I used around 1/3 of a bunch in each jar), 1 tbsp of pickling spice, 1 tbsp mustard seed, 1-2 piquin peppers depending on spice preference, and 3 cloves of garlic. Pack the beans in vertically. If I were to do this again, I'd put the beans in first, leaving a little space in the middle to jam in the spices.
Pour the hot brine into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top. Put the hot (also sterilized) lids on and screw closed. Process in a hot water bath for 6 minutes or maybe less unless you want shrively flaccid little beans too. I'll play with this next time too. Just make sure the lid doesn't have any give or flex to it; if it does, the jar probably was not sealed properly.
Store for at least 2 weeks before eating.

I could eat an entire jar of this stuff in one sitting. I found the stuff served in restaurants in Italy to be a bit spicier sometimes than the stuff we have in jars here in the states, but I still can't get enough of it.
I found a super easy recipe at that I followed fairly exactly, except for possibly cutting up WAY too many veggies - looks like we're having slightly vinegary roast veggies with dinner tonight.
I would suggest that you definitely plan on boiling some extra vinegar, as it seems to boil off pretty quickly, and better to have too much than not enough. The flavor seemed good, but I'll let you know once I eat it from the jar in a few weeks.
Odd that this recipe didn't call for heat treating the jars once they were filled, but we'll go with it for now. If you don't hear from me ever again, DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME and blame, not me.

Stay tuned for part deux.

I tried the giardiniera mix last night. It's okay. It's not as good as the stuff that I was trying to recreate, or rather, it's DIFFERENT than the stuff I was trying to recreate. A bit sweeter. I'll still give them as gifts, but I think I'll look for a different recipe for "next time."

No comments: