Monday, July 25, 2011

I need more things to put in vinegar

I have a crush on all things pickled, and all things natural, too.  So, I put my foot on the ground, and said "no" to preservative packed glass jars filled with vinegar, spices, and vegetables.  Preservatives aren't found in anything else in my refrigerator or cupboards, but it takes some hunting, pickles on the brain, to find a (good) organic/chemical free pickle, and a pretty penny, and so I always settled for a refrigerated version in the grocery store.

I am very strict about purchasing things in glass and keeping plastics out of our home, recycle everything, and more often than not, have quite a collection of glass jars on my counter, waiting to meet their fate in the green bin, or tucked up against the counter for repurposing. 
Note:  To easily remove labels from glass jars so they look spiffy and new, soak them in a baking soda bath for a day or two, and the glue from the label will peel off nicely.

After a trip to Earth Fare where I picked up some organic goodness, I washed some jars and got to choppin'.  I chose to go simple on round one, and sliced up some cucumbers and carrots, first in half so they would fit into my jars from top to bottom with a bit of room to spare, and then in spears, nothing fancy.  I peeled 4-6 cloves of garlic and halved each clove, chopped up a green onion, and placed my alliums in the jars (2).  I have the inability to follow a recipe, and luckily, I have a fairly high success rate for my willy-nilly cooking style.  When attempting a new recipe, I google and read over 5 or so, and then dive right in as if I know what I am doing.  Same story here.  I brought a cup of water to boil over the stove, through in my carrot spears because I read somewhere that someone did this, removed them after 15 seconds with tongs so I could keep the boiling pot of water.  I hate to waste things-water, energy, and time included.  I added a packet of pickling spices to the pot that I also picked up from Earth Fare for simplicity purposes, which was 1 oz (28 grams) of organic yellow mustard, cinnamon chips, allspice, dill seed, celery seed, bay lead, chili peppers, cloves, caraway, and ginger root.  Savoring up the sweet spices by pairing with typical pickle spices proved to be a tasty match in the outcome.  I added some table salt, as well, an eyeball measurement of 1 1/2 tbs.  With my garlic, onion, carrot, and cucumber all packed away in my jars plus some sliced mushrooms because the jars had some extra room and 2 red chili peppers because I thought they would look nice and add an extra something, I poured the vinegar mixture into the jars, ran the end of a butter knife along the inside of the glass because I read somewhere that someone did this to remove air bubbles, and topped with lids.

Whatcha think?  Purdy, eh?  

Somewhere someone said to wait a few days for maximum picklage, but let's face it, I am impatient when it comes to tasting my edible endeavors, especially new ones.  So, I popped open those bad boys today, and I was extremely pleased.  Very tasty, crisp, and nowhere near boring.  I had some brine left over which I have in a pyrex in my fridge, and started to sliced up some radishes to pickle, but they became a snack instead.  The next time I boil water, I will throw some cauliflower florets, asparagus, and green beans in for 15 seconds to pickle.

This was so simple, I am embarrassed to admit this was my first pickling.  Especially with the brine complete and in my fridge, it is so simple to slice some more veggies and throw in the jars.  I am ecstatic to have a simple way to store veggie slices that won't wilt for an easy snack already dressed up in a vinegar and spice lo-cal dressing.  I can't wait to experiment with other pickling flavors and veggies.


Mama Frog said...

This is great! I am inspired! And thanks for the tip on how to get labels off jars. I am forever scrubbing those things off with no luck! ; )

Maureen said...

Glad to have inspired! Be sure not to leave jars soaking for too long (i.e. a month...) It'll eat away at the bottle some.