Pickle Fever

Pickling is much easier then you would think, it sure is easier then I thought. And today was a pickling day for me. I was frantically trying to preserve as much of the CSA bounty as possible, because I’ve been running a bit behind. I made pickles and giardiniera (pickled mixed vegetables), and some sauerkraut (although not pickled, its fermented). The kitchen SMELLS like vinegar. I dont mind it, I kind of like it actually. Especially when its apple cider vinegar! Which is what I used for all these recipes.

The giardiniera is delicious. It means “from the garden” in Italian, it normally has cauliflower, red peppers, little hot peppers, carrots, pearl onions and I think celery and sometimes olives. I didn’t have red peppers or hot ones so I used green and purple ones from my CSA. The purple ones taste like green ones, although I was hoping they would taste like red ones! So I chopped them up and added them to the mix.

For the sauerkraut, I put it in a large bowl with 1 tbsp of salt per 200 grams of shredded cabbage. That might be crazy, I just kind of made it up, so we’ll see. I bashed it in a mortar and pestle until the juices started coming out and then stuck it in a glass jar with a bowl to hold the cabbage down and a weight on top (a mason jar filled with water) and a towel over the top. Soon I’ll have a stinky kitchen, woo hoo! I’ll post the recipe for it when my kraut is done, just so I know if that was the right ration of salt to cabbage, or if I’m totally nuts.

The start of my baby sauerkraut

Pickles

(increase or decrease ingredients based on how many jars you fill)

Cucumbers
Pickling spices
Garlic
Fresh Dill

Vinegar mix
4 cups water
3 cups vinegar
1 tablespoons salt
1 tsp sugar

1. Soak the pickles in ice cold water for 4-8 hours prior to making the pickles.

2. Sterilize quart-size glass jars, with lids, in the dishwasher or by submerging them in boiling water for 10 minutes.

3. Start the vinegar mix boiling.

4. Chop up pickles into strips, buttons or leave whole (depending on size). Stuff into sterilized jars with a clove of smashed garlic, 1 tablespoon of pickling spices and about two seed heads of dill plus a couple leaf sprigs.

5. Pour the boiling vinegar mix into the jars, over the cucumbers and spices. Leave about 1″ headspace. Put the lids on. I let them cool a bunch on the counter before putting them away.

At this point you can put them in the fridge to be refrigerator pickles. Mine were pretty good in a couple days of being in the fridge. You could also boil a canning pot of water and drop the jared pickles in there to preserve them on the shelf. I boiled mine for 5 min. The usual is 10 and up, but I’m a risk taker… what can I say… I just don’t like mushy pickles.

Giardiniera

(increase or decrease based on how many jars you fill)

250g carrots, sliced into rounds
650g cauliflower, cut/broken into bite size pieces
250g green/purple/red pepper, cut into bite size pieces
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp celery seeds
2 tsp crushed red chillies
4 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp crushed black peppercorns
1/2 cup olive oil

Brine
1/2 cup salt
water to cover

Vinegar mix 
3 cups water
2 cups vinegar
1 tablespoons salt
1 tsp sugar

1.  In a large bowl, using your hands, mix the vegetables and salt until well combined. Cover the vegetables with water. Cover the bowl and allow the mixture to sit, unrefrigerated, for 8 to 12 hours.

2. Drain the vegetables and rinse thoroughly. Sterilize quart-size glass jars, with lids, in the dishwasher or by submerging them in boiling water for 10 minutes.

3. Start the vinegar mix boiling.

4. Combine the herbs and spices in a small bowl and put 1-2 tsp into each jar. add about 1/8 cup of oil to each jar (I might omit the oil next time, I think I prefer them with only vinegar). Pack the vegetables into the jars. If vegetables are not completely coated, make and add more vinegar mix. Screw lids onto jars and refrigerate. Allow the mixture to mellow for a couple of days before serving.

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