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Pickling, canning, oh my.

September 4, 2013


It’s been awhile and for that, I apologize. But, have no fear that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped cooking. I’ve just run out of time to write about it. Here are my excuses:

1. We went on the best 12 day vacation to the West Coast in mid-August. 

2. Our garden has officially blown up.

3. I’m going to back to school.

To make it up to you, I’ve got a couple good recipes here. We had to do something with our garden harvest after we got back from vacation so it was time to make marinara sauce, refrigerator pickles, basil pesto and tomatillo salsa. A quick note about the salsa…

We didn’t grow any tomatillos this year, but Mike thought it would be fun to bring home about 50 tomatillos to make salsa with. Some sort of strange idea of fun. I really shouldn’t complain though because the salsa turned out to be quite good.

We made three kinds of pickles: garlic dill, bread and butter (Mike and my aunt Julia’s favorites) and spicy (my favs).

Garlic dill (Adapted from the Kitchn:

2 pounds slice cucumbers
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons salt
6 garlic cloves, peeled (2 per jar)
1 teaspoon dill seed per jar 
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns per jar 

Start by washing and slicing cucumbers, we choose to do rings, but you could also do spears. In a large pot, combine vinegar, water and salt and bring to a simmer.

Arrange jars on counter and place the spices in each. Pack the cucumber slices into jars, but not so tight that they are squished together.Pour the vinegar mixture into the jar, leaving approximately ½ inch at the top of each jar.

Top the jars with the lids and let cool. Store them in the fridge after they’ve cooled. Let them sit for at least 48 hours before eating.

Bread and butter (adapted from Smitten Kitchen): 

1 pound cucumbers, sliced 1/4-inch thick — “pickling” cucumbers work best here
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/2 to 3/4 cups sugar – we went on the low end for the sugar, only using a little over a 1/2 cup
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp celery seed

In a bowl, combine the cucumbers, onion and salt. Stir well, making sure the onions and cucumbers are coated in salt. Top the mixture with ice and leave at room temperature for about two hours. In a saucepan, add sugar, vinegar and spices and bring to a boil. Drain cucumbers and onions and rinse well. We really were good about rinsing, otherwise the pickles are on the salty side. Add the rinsed cucumbers to the vinegar mixture and bring almost back to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool in the pan. Once cool, transfer the pickles, onions and liquid into jars and seal. You can store the pickles in jars for up to three weeks in the fridge. You can these within a few hours of pickling.

Spicy pickles (Adapted from The Food Network):

4 cups rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp whole peppercorns
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp toasted cumin seeds (we used ground because we didn’t have seeds)
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh dill
2 tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro 
2 unpeeled cucumbers, cut into rounds or spears – whatever you prefer

In a saucepan, combine the vinegar, honey, pepper flakes, peppercorns, coriander, mustard seeds, fennel seeds, cumin and salt and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Add the chopped dill and cilantro. Put the chopped cucumber in a large bowl and pour the cooled vinegar mixture over them. Refrigerate for 2 hours and then place cucumbers and liquid in jars. Give these at least 24 hours before you dig in.

Stay tuned for my next post when I divulge my marinara and pesto recipes.




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  1. YUM!

    And yayyy going back to school is official!

  2. Thanks, Hyedi!

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