Sometimes you get stuck in a rut and overwhelmed with life. As my absence attests, I was victim to both situations. Thanks to a new job and the support of friends (thanks Diane and Kiran), I am inspired to post today. It is beautiful in Houston (75 degrees!) so we had a nice trip to the farmers market. The pickling cucumbers were abundant and a good deal, so I picked up a small bucket to turn into spicy tart pickles.
If you are interested in canning, I recommend The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest. It has tons of information on pickling, canning, jamming. jellying, drying and any other form of preservation. If you haven't canned or pickled before, it has lots of key information to doing so safely. The pickle recipes tend to be large volume, but you can do some math to reduce the recipe or improvise. You can either make these pickles in regular jars and refrigerate or use sterile canning jars and water seal them.
Here is a good basic Pickling Spice recipe:
2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
2 teaspoons whole allspice
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons dried dill weed
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
To make pickles:
Use as many pickles as you like: whole, quartered or chopped. Pack them into jars. Add at least two tablespoons of pickling spice per jar. For spicy, garlicky pickles, I added 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes and 3 cloves minced garlic per jar.
Boil (microwaving works well) enough vinegar to top the cucumbers within 1/4 inch of the jar's opening. If you like them really tart, use white vinegar. If you want a more mellow taste, use 1/2 white vinegar and 1/2 apple cider vinegar. Cover cucumbers with vinegar, place the tops on the jars and refrigerate or water seal them. They should be ready in about 24 hours, but for a deeper flavor I like to let them sit for several weeks.
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