Sorry it has been since my last blog, I was in the hospital. I am home and ready to go. So here is Pickles.
I don’t have a way to confirm the idea about pickles being first. But if you think about it everybody has a story about pickle barrels or Crocks. Of all the home-made things people make, I do believe the most popular is Pickles. You can make pickles out of so many different things. Each one with its own special taste or bite. I am going to try to give you some of the best recipes we had for our most popular pickles. When you see them I think you will be surprised.
Some of the recipes are made up by Mary Lynn and myself. Many are old recipes that have been used for years. These old recipes are the way your mothers, grandmothers and family have been making for years. All with the basic recipe with a little room for that special touch that someone did to make theirs the best or most popular pickle.
The first rule for any type of pickle is FRESH produce to start with. It is impossible to make good pickles with produce that has sat around for a while. We went to our state farmers market and shopped for just the right things. We shopped for no more than 2 kinds of pickles at a time. Any more and the last batch might not be as good as the first. Each day we made up our mind when we started looking at what was available. Some days small cucumbers were in, so we bought and made sweet pickles and little dill pickles. If the larger ones were there we made big dill pickles, pickles and sliced pickles or Bread & Butter Pickles. The name is explained by ANSWER.com: Bread and butter pickles got their name because bread and butter together are sweet. According to egullet.com, bread and butter pickles are named such because during the Depression, they were as regular a part of a diet as bread and butter. The difference between bread and butter pickles and sweet pickles is just a few ingredients.
I never would have thought of that answer, if you have another, please send it to me. I love things like that. Everybody has a great-aunt who had this or that explanation for the name of something. Things like this make home canning so much fun.
Enough history, let’s get cooking!
We have talked about Bread & Butter Pickles so much, I will start with them. I will give you a great recipe, and I will also give you a recipe that will blow your mind. Got you thinking??? Well here goes. If you think this is too much for your to make, cut all ingredients in half.
14 cups cucumbers, sliced, about 10 pounds. 7 cups onions, sliced, about 5 pounds. 8 cups cider vinegar. 5 cups sugar. 5 tablespoons mustard seeds. 3 tablespoons turmeric. 2 tablespoons celery seeds. 3 tablespoons ground ginger. 4 tablespoons black pepper corns. Place cucumbers & onions in large pan and add 2 cups canning salt and cover with ice water. Let stand 2 – 3 hours, drain and rinse. Drain and rinse again. Add all other ingredients to large pot, bring to boil, add thoroughly drained cucumbers and onions. Bring mixture back to a boil, then turn off heat. Pack cucumbers and onions in 16 ounce jars then cover with liquid. Clean rims with a wet paper towel. Place domes on and then rings. Finger-tighten the rings. Process 15 minutes in water bath. Remove and let set overnight. Next day check to make sure all jars sealed. If not reprocess the jar with a new dome after cleaning the rim. Let the jars set for at least a week for best taste. Chill and eat, or don’t chill, just eat. It is up to you.
This is a tried and true recipe. Now for a idea that comes out of watching Dinners Drive-Ins and Dives for many hours. I saw a sign on the wall of one of the places Guy was doing his thing with. The sign said ask for hot Bread & Butter Pickles. I got to checking and discovered what they were. They were B&B pickles made from Jalapeno peppers and not cucumbers. When Mary Lynn was making B&B pickles I asked her to save me the left over liquid. I took my handy dandy slicer and cut a huge box of peppers. I cut them thick and sort of on the bias. If you don’t know what that is, I cut them at a angle to give bigger slices. Then I took the peppers and put them thru the same salting procedure as the cucumbers. This sort of makes the skin tough and keeps the pickle shape. Then I addded the liguid to my peppers and cooked the exact same way as the cucumbers. I used pretty much the same recipe for the peppers. I also added more onions, cut in bigger slices. When they were complete they had a great look about them. They were pretty because I used red and green peppers. This gave it a brighter look. These jars are quarts, but I liked to use pints. I let them sit for a few days but that was it. I could not wait any longer. I opened a jar and tasted, then Mary Lynn tasted. We were blown away. They were great! We decided that we would try them at our next show. We had made only 6 cases of pints. Thinking that would last a while. The show was The Blue Crab Festival in Palatka, Florida. If you are not sure where Paltaka is, think of St. Augustine and go West. It is located on the St. Johns River in the center part of the state. Here is a link for the show if you are interested http://bluecrabfestival.com/ . I decided that I would hand out the samples instead of letting people help themselves. I didn’t want to get in trouble giving something hot to people that don’t like hot. One of the first people to stop the first day was some friends that I had made thru the Gideons. They stopped by to see just what we had. I let them taste the pickles, and could not believe the response. They tasted and tasted again. They called someone on the phone to come to our booth. The person they called owned a resturant. He loved the pickles and wanted to buy all that we had. A response I never expected. I sold 4 cases, wanting to keep some to have during the show. By the end of the second day they were all sold out. I had orders for 8 more cases. We could not believe what was happening. After that we never went anywhere without at least 10 cases.
When you are cooking pickles you never know what will happen, just who will love them and who doesn’t care for pickles. So that brings us to our next pickle
Kosher Dill Pickles and Dill Pickles. Many don’t have any idea what the difference is between one and the other. I was one of those people till I read the recipe. Kosher Dills have garlic in the recipe and Dills do not. I was shocked. Such a little difference to make a totally different pickle.
KOSHER-STYLE DILL PICKLES: Small firm cucumbers, about 3 pounds. 3 1/2 cups sugar, 2 cinnamon stick (not ground cinnamon). 28 peeled cloves garlic. 3 tablespoons pickling spice. 1 quart white vinegar. 3 1/2 teaspoons mustard seeds, (add 1/4 teaspoon per jar). 48 sprigs of fresh dill. Prepare cucumbers by added 1 cup canning or kosher salt to 2 quarts water. Pour over cucumbers and let set over night. Rinse with cold water, drain. Repeat the rinse and drain at least 3 times. To cook combine vinegar, sugar, cinnamon sticks and pickling spice. Bring to a boil. Pack 16 ounce canning jars with prepared cucumbers, add 2 cloves garlic and 1/4 teaspoon mustard seed and 2 sprigs fresh dill. Pour hot liquid over cucumbers leaving 1/2 inche space at the top. Use a probe and remove all air bubbles. Clean rims with damp paper towel and place domes. Finger tighten rings. Boil in water bath for 10 minutes. Remove and let set over night. Check to make sure all are sealed. If not replace domes after recleaning rim. Reprocess. If you notice on the jars, there are no rings on them. After I finish processing and reprocessing if necessary. I remove the rings and wash them in soapy water. After they dry I put them in a plastic bag and keep with my jars of pickles. When I need a jar, I put a ring on it. This is to keep your jars looking best. The vinegar will make the rings rust and make everything look yucky. So this little step keeps everything looking at it’s best.
To make Dill Pickles just leave out the garlic. If you like sliced pickles instead of whole pickles, slice at beginning before salting. That is simple enough. It is not a fast process, but these kind of pickles take a long time to do. If you take the time you will enjoy the results of your patience. There are other methods that don’t take as long and you keep them in the refrigerator. I have never tried that way, if you want the quickie re fridge method just send me an e-mail and I will send you the recipe. I know I say that a lot, but there is just so much space and so very many different recipes.
I am going to bring my first blog on Pickles to a close with a favorite thing on salad bars Pickled Beets. I don’t know of many families that don’t love cold pickled beets. They add more than color to your plates; they add a great taste. I am sorry to say that many salad bars have beets, but they are not pickled. They are just out of a can. What I am giving you is a recipe that has been tested many times and never fails.
Pickled Beets: 3 cups Vidalia onions, sliced. 4 quarts beets, peeled, cooked, sliced or 2 No. 10 cans (my choice). 2 cups beet juice, saved from No. 10 cans. 7 cups white vinegar. 4 cinnamon sticks. 1 tablespoon whole cloves. 1 tablespoon whole allspice. 1 tablespoon pickling spice. 1 tablespoon salt (kosher or canning). 1 tablespoon peppercorns. Combine vinegar, beet juice (if using cooked beets use 2 cups water from cooked beets), sugar, cinnamon sticks and spices in a spice bag and salt in large sauce pot. Simmer 15 minutes. Remove spice bag and cinnamon sticks. Pack beets and onion slices into 16 ounce canning jars. Pour hot liquid over beets. Be sure to leave 1/2 inche air space on top. Remove air bubbles with probe. Process in boiling water bath for 30 minutes. Check after cooling for unprocessed jars and repeat. These are another thing that I remove the rings. I love to put the jar in the fridge and get it cooled and eat with potato salad, fried chicken and corn bread. But they go with just about everything. They are so good and good for you. They have all kinds of vitamins (I won’t go into those, look them up if interested).
All these pickles take time and a lot of work, but they taste so very good. I hope you will give one a try. Who knows you may start a family tradition.
It is that time again, I have run out of space for this edition of CanUCanIt. I would like to ask for ideas; things you want to read about. Things you might have tasted and would like to make yourself. Maybe even something you remember from growing up that still holds a special place in your heart. Let me know what it is, I will try to come up with the best way I can find to help you with your wants or needs. I will try to help you along, just tell me what you need.
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