Just when you thought you were up to date on pickles, this blog is going to take you where you never thought you could pickle. We are going to use items that you use in your every day cooking and eating, but never thought to pickle. You may have heard of some of these items. Well I am going to tell you how to make them. You will be surprised at the taste and ease with the pickles you will make. Not just you, but your family and friends will enjoy. Enough talking and putting off, let’s get to Pickling!
Kick off Pickling with Watermelon, The great taste treat of summer. Wait don’t put the left over rinds in the garbage after you have eaten all the juicy red melon. This is the starting point for pickles. Carefully peel all the green skin from the melon rind. Don’t use any of the red “meat’ of the melon. Take a spoon and clean the rind, it doesn’t have to be completely cleaned. A little red showing makes for prettiest pickles. Cut the rind into pieces about 1 inch square. For really fancy pickles use different cutters for a variety of sizes and shapes. Use small cookie or biscuit cutters. Now you are ready to start pickling.
Watermelon Rind Pickles (Not Preserves): One large Watermelon makes about 4 to 5 quarts or 8 to 10 pints. 4 quarts cubed melon. 1 cup canning salt or kosher salt (not table salt, the iodine in table salt will turn your edges dark). 1 gallon cold water. 7 cups sugar. 1/2 cup thinly sliced lemon (about 1 medium). 1 tablespoon whole cloves. 1 tablespoon whole allspice. 1/4 teaspoon mustard seed. 3 sticks cinnamon. 2 cups vinegar.
Dissolve salt in water; add rind and let stand 6 hours or overnight. Drain; rinse. Cover rind with cold water in a large sauce-pot. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes; drain; set aside.
Tie spices in a spice bag. Combine sugar, lemon slices, spice bag and vinegar in a large sauce-pot. Bring mixture to a boil and cook 10 minutes. Add rind, simmer until rind is transparent. Remove spice bag. using a slotted spoon. carefully pack hot rind into canning jars (only use real canning jars, all others could lead to disaster). Fill to almost the top of jar, carefully ladle liquid into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Remove air bubbles. Clean the jar rims with a damp paper towel. Finger tighten two-piece caps. Too tight and air can’t escape, not tight enough and water leaks in and spoils your hard work. Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canning pot. Remove from boiling water and place in a spot that will keep them from being disturbed. Next day check for sealed jars, if not the ones not sealed have to be reprocessed. Remove 2 piece lid saving the ring, it can be reused. Re-clean the rim with a damp paper towel then place a new dome on top of the jar. Then tighten the ring and rewater bath.
This is the recipe for Pickled Watermelon Rind. Watermelon Rind Preserves are a completely different taste. They use a different recipe. They are often confused. We had many occasions that people came into our booth at a show somewhere and asked for one and thought they picked the one they remembered from growing up. The Watermelon Preserves will be in a later blog so keep watch.
Wow! That was a strong way to kick off this blog. Let’s keep it going with one of my families favorite pickles.
SPECIAL NOTE!!!!! Don’t open any pickle jar for at least 2 weeks after processing. You have to give them time to do their magic.
Dilly Beans: People love to eat green beans, in fact I think it is the number one vegetable consumed. We are not going to snap them, cut them, cook them. We are going to use fresh green beans, the kind you get at a farmers market or really good grocery. First you need to wash the beans in running cold water, them look for any that are off (you know what I am talking about). Next is to clean off any extra bean tops, the part that connected it to the vine. All done? Next take a long bean and put it in a canning jar. Using your finger or thumb to mark off how tall the bean needs to be for canning. That length is the jar height minus 1/2 inch. Place beans on cutting board and cut several at at a time using the bean you cut for correct height. Save the pieces for cooked green beans or a jar of Dilly Bean Pieces. All done. They are ready for the next steps on the road to eating enjoyment. One more thing, use real canning jars, pint size. You can buy them at Wal-Mart, many grocers, old-fashioned hardware stores (not super hardware stores). Wash and rinse the canning jars in HOT water. Let dry on clean dish towel, drying rack or paper towels. This is done to protect from adding anything to your dilly beans that you don’t want.
4 pounds green beans, cut to size of jar minus 1/2 inch. 3 cups white vinegar. 3 cups water. 2 teaspoons cayenne powder, 1 /4 teaspoon to each jar. 7 garlic cloves, 1 for each jar. 7 sprigs dill, fresh, 1 per jar. 4 teaspoons dill seeds, 1/2 teaspoon per jar. 2 teaspoons dried red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon per jar. 6 tablespoons salt – kosher or canning. Some recipes call for two or three peeled garlic cloves.
Adding the garlic gives your pickles a Kosher Dill flavor vs just a pickle flavor. This remains true for pickling other items as well.
Combine vinegar, water, and salt bring to boil. To each jar add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder, 1 clove garlic, fresh dill and 1/4 teaspoon dill seed, 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes. Pack prepared jars with beans and pour hot liquid over top of the beans, be sure to leave 1/2 inch air space on top. Make sure all beans are covered with liquid. Take probe or long plastic spoon handle and remove excess air bubbles (this is important). Process 20 minutes in water bath. Use a real canning pot for this. Anything else and you are headed for trouble. They are available at the same locations as the jars. It is just a little more, but makes a huge difference in success or failure. Remove the jars from the boiling water and carefully place jar in a place that will be undisturbed for 24 hours. At that time check jars to see if the all sealed. That means the dome of the top is depressed in. If not you need to re clean the top and place a new dome on. Then reprocess the jars………….. If you like to serve your dilly beans at a party, snap the beans into smaller pieces (the size a tooth pick works well with).
I have to tell you how Mary Lynn and I first found out about Dilly Beans. We were in a bar in New Orleans, not far from Jackson Square. Enjoying everything about the place. We noticed the bar tender making many Bloody Marys, so we asked why. Was it a double secret recipe or what??? He told us he garnished each tall glass with 3 or 4 dilly beans and not celery like most bars. He said that the beans had multiple positive effects. First being the customers really liked them, second they made people drink more than just using celery. Finally he said the most important reason, it kept his garbage from being full of celery stalks. Next he gave us several to sample. We were hooked!! Of course we ordered another round of drinks. Then we set out to find the best recipe possible. Well the above recipe, is tried, true and tested. If you are not sure about Dilly Beans ask my niece Stephenie.
Pickled Garlic: 15 cups garlic cloves, peeled & blanched. 1/2 gallon white vinegar. 3 cups sugar. 3 teaspoons salt, kosher or canning. (You can buy garlic that is peeled and ready to use in some wholesale stores such as Sam’s. Each pint jar of garlic has approximately 4 cups of garlic.
Add vinegar, water, sugar and salt to pot and bring to boil. Pack 16 ounce canning jars with blanched garlic cloves. Pour hot liquid over top leaving 1/4 inch air space. Take probe and remove excess air. Process in water bath 15 minutes. Use all the canning techniques above for cleaning and processing. This is another party favorite. It tastes like nothing you would expect, it is sweet with a much milder flavor than raw garlic.
I am running out of numbers and space so I will finish this blog with my all time favorite. This pickle was on my Grandmother’s dinning table for dinner and supper. If you are not from the south, we call lunch dinner and the evening meal we call supper. Every time I eat pickled okra I remember her. She was the person that started my doing home canning at the age of 3. I would help her do her canning (or as she would say, putting up). She taught me some valuable lessons that we have carried forth in our lives ever since. We based our business on those principles, and for 15 years we were so successful, that we could not keep up. Also this is a little Southern language lesson. I will try to give you more in future blogs. Well again, enough talking, on to our last recipe.
Pickled Okra: So many people are turned off Okra because of the slimy ooze you get from slicing them. Pickling them does away with this.
12 pounds okra, 1/2 bushel. 1 gallon cider vinegar. 1 gallon water. 1 1/2 cups canning salt. 24 cloves garlic, peeled. 24 sprigs fresh dill. 12 teaspoons dill seeds. 12 teaspoons dill weed. Dried is OK if fresh is not available, just use less. The drying process concentrates the flavor. Don’t want to make this much, cut recipe in half. Also a hot pepper in the jar really gives it a great taste and not a whole lot of heat. But remember, heat is relative. Some folks can eat any kind of pepper and some folks think ketchup is hot. So if you fall into the latter group, leave out the pepper.
In each jar put 1 sprig dill, 1 clove garlic, 1/2 teaspoon dill seeds, and if fresh dill is not available, 1/2 teaspoon dill weed. Scrub and rinse okra well. Trim tops. Pack okra into jars careful to stay below line. Meanwhile heat the vinegar, water and salt to boil. Keep on low while you fill jars. Remember not to go above the line (1/2 inch below top of jar). Tap out any air bubbles. Process in water bath for ten minutes. When you take the rack out of the water let the tops “pop” before you try to move them to the cooling rack. Age for 2 weeks . The chill overnight and enjoy! Can’t compare this pickle with any other for tastes and texture. Don’t be shy, go ahead….eat one!!!
If you like Salsa, no not the dance!!!! The chip & eat kind. Check my new blog series dedicated to just that subject. It is located at www.canusalsa.com
If you like this blog and would like more ideas about making thing you buy in the store, let me know and I will do a whole blog about these type of items.Don’t forget…. let me know what you would like to make or any ideas you have for the next blog. I do take request. I don’t even have a “Tip Jar”.
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