We’ve started to see cucumbers in the local farmers’ market stalls this last week or two, and that reminds us that pickling season has begun.
3 Cups Champagne White Vinegar
1-1/2 tsp Coriander Seed, Whole
6 strips (each 1″ wide) fresh lemon zest
2 Bay Leaves
2 Tbsp Coarse Sea Salt
1/3 Cup sugar
4 bunches spring onions, trimmed to the height of a 1-quart jar, minus 1″ ‘head space’
1 bunch thin asparagus, bottoms trimmed to height of a 1-quart jar, minus 1″ ‘head space’
Combine 3-3/4 Cups water, the vinegar, coriander seeds, lemon zest, bay leaves, 2 tablespoons salt, and the sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add onions, and return to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for four minutes.
Divide asparagus between two 1-quart jars. Use tongs to transfer onions to the jar, and divide the pickling liquid between jars. Allow cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Put lids on the cooled jars, and refrigerate at least 1 day. Will keep, refrigerated, up to 1 month.
Shhhh! Do you hear that sound? Perhaps you feel a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.
I’ll bet you can identify that sound; It’s the sound of school-aged children everywhere beginning the back-to-school lament:
It’s August — already?!?
Even if you love the beginning of the school year (and we do!), and the coming of the crisp weather (and apple pie and homemade chai, you know we do!), turn the calendar page to August and you realize, with heavy heart, that summer’s coming to a close, and you didn’t do all the exciting summertime stuff you had meant to do. More
The perfect touch to top off the perfect (freshly-grilled) hot dog.
4 Cups cucumber (about 4-5 medium cukes), seeded and finely chopped
1 Cup white onion, peeled and finely chopped (1 large, or 2 med onions)
1/2 Cup seeded and finely chopped red bell pepper (approx 1 bell pepper)
1/2 Cup White Balsamic Vinegar
1-1/2 tsp cornstarch
3/4 Cup sugar
1/2 tsp Celery Seed
1/4 tsp Mustard Seed
1/4 tsp Ground Mustard
1/4 tsp Ground Turmeric
1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
Freshly-ground Black Pepper
Peel the cucumbers after cutting off the stem and flower ends of the cucumbers. Slice the cucumbers lengthwise, and scrape out the seeds with a dinner spoon.
Using a sharp knife, chop/mince the cucumbers (you can also do this with a food processor), and put chopped cucumber into a non-metal bowl.
Peel the onion and mince it into bits, about the size of the cucumber bits. Core and seed a red pepper, and also cut this into little bits. Add minced onion and red pepper to the cucumber bowl.
Sprinkle vegetable mix with the kosher salt and stir so that vegetables are well blended, and all are coated with the salt. (The salt is there to draw water out of the vegetables, and you’ll rinse off the extra later.)
Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 24 hours.
The next day, transfer the vegetables to a fine meshed sieve or colander and allow them to drain of excess liquid for a minute or two. Rinse lightly with cool water and allow to drain for a few minutes again. Using a wooden spoon, press the vegetables against the side of the sieve/colander and squeeze out the last bit of extra salt water.
In a medium (non-aluminum) saucepan, combine the cornstarch and white vinegar, whisking to dissolve the cornstarch. Add the spices and sugar to the vinegar and bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar.
When the syrup is boiling and becoming translucent, about 8 – 10 min or less, add the minced vegetable mix. Return to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and continue to cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Scoop the relish into clean, hot 8 oz canning jars leaving 1/2-inch of “head space”. Because we’re keeping this small-batch relish in the refrigerator, it’s not necessary to sterilize the jars, for this recipe. Screw on canning lids. **If you prefer to keep the relish long term in the pantry, process the sealed jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Once the jars are processed and sealed, sweet relish will keep at room temperature for up to 1 year.** Once opened, store the jars in the refrigerator. (If you’re new to pickling, take a quick look at our Pickling 101 tutorial for the basics on getting your pickle relish into the jar, and safely sealed).
If you opt to skip processing the jars in the hot water bath, allow the filled, sealed jars to cool to room temp and pop them in the fridge. The pickle relish will keep in the fridge for up to 3 months.
Your pickle relish is ready to eat after 24 hours, but tastes even better if you let the flavors develop for a full week.
Makes a great hostess gift when you’re invited to a backyard cookout — this relish is delicious on hot dogs, kielbasa, bratwurst and even Italian sausage!
Not to sound like the hipsters on “Portlandia” (“We can pickle that!“), you really can pickle just about any kind of vegetable (or fruit!) that you can find at the farmers’ market in the summertime.
To make a pickle, you need brine. Brine is the magic ingredient that turns plain cucumbers into a delicious pickle.
A very basic brine is just a solution made of equal parts vinegar and water, mixed with kosher salt. This brine gets poured over the vegetables and, in what seems like magic, but is actually science, transforms the vegetables into pickles. While you can certainly eat your homemade pickles right away, they get even better after they’ve had some time to soak in the brine.
Keep the ratios the same, and you can make more or less brine to suit the amount of pickles you want to make. You can also swap out the cider vinegar for rice vinegar, white wine vinegar, or another vinegar to suit your taste.
INGREDIENTS – feel free to customize the ingredient list with your favorite vegetables and spices!