I know…I know Doctor Phil would have a field day in my head…So lets just go with for a little bit anyway:) Hi my name is Peggy and I am addicted to pickling. Acknowledgment is the first step. Actually it is not so funny that so many of our old ways of creating family heirlooms are being lost. Pickling is one of those arts that is being lost in our culture. Born out of necessity to preserve seasonal harvests pickling became a way in which many folks could store food for long periods of time without spoilage. Though the years pickling became the highlight of many county and small towns fairs where folks would compete for those bragging rights and blue ribbons. My mother being one of those blue ribbon picklers. I grew up with several pickle makers in my family…my mom, both of my grandmothers and Gloria my other mother whom lived with and cared for my sister and I since we were babies. Each of these ladies of course made their specialty pickle and each were ferocious competitors over who’s pickle creation was the best. Now a lot of people think of pickles as only made with cucumbers…well believe me you can pickle all sorts of different vegetables and each one has its own distinct flavor and beauty. I spent this morning pickling some of our freshly picked snap beans from the farm. One of my favorites…Pickled Beans…oh yes I am in my element today:) let the pickling begin! Smiling…
I want to share with you how I make my Pickled beans…It doesn’t bother me in the least about sharing my own family recipe for each person that pickles knows no 2 batches are ever the same. And that is really where the art of pickling comes in. You see, you can create whatever you want all you need to remember is just a few basic rules of pickling.
1. Always start with clean, sterilized mason jars! Don’t skimp…they are fairly cheap and you can reuse the jars several times.
2. New canning lids …never reuse old seals or ones that have been used before. never! You can reuse the screw lid tops but, what the heck..just keep with new ones and make a wind chime or something with the old ones:)
3. Pickling salt, don’t use iodized table salt or sea salt…grey salt..rock salt.. kosher salt…USE Pickling salt. (you can find it in the canning section.
4. Use 5% vinegar distilled vinegar or apple cider vinegar…if you like me sometimes I will use a combination of both of these vinegars. The key here is to look at the labels on the vinegar to make sure you have a 5% acidity rate. Vinegar along with the salt is what preserves your pickles and keeps them from spoiling. So very Important…to get the right stuff!
That’s it…nothing major here right? Now your ready for the fun part…creating your own creation:) In this batch I am keeping it simple and fresh. Nothing exotic or spicy. Today it’s all about what I have on hand and growing in the field.
Fresh Dill from the kitchen garden
Russian hard-neck garlic
sweet banana peppers
Candy Apple onions
Pickling spices w/ extra black pepper corns added
I use both the fern and bloom tops of the dill. Both add so much flavor and the head of the dill plant is so lovely in the jars. You can use whatever kinds of spices and fresh ingredients you want. These are your pickles. If you like them hot add some hot peppers or red pepper flakes. ginger, fennel almost anything with be wonderful and all yours.
As far as pickling spices I use store bought premixed pickling spices. Easy and it would cost you a pretty penny to mix all the seasoning yourself…keep it simple.
For the beans I have trimmed the ends and gave them a good wash in the farmhouse sink in cold water. Now they are ready for pickling.
Basic Pickling Brine recipe
4 cups Vinegar
4 cups water
1/4 cup pickling salt
1tbs picking spices
1 tsp sugar
There are a couple things you will need as far as equipment when making pickles.
because pickling involves high-acid ingredients you will need non-reactive pots, utensils and bowls. These are Stainless steel, glass and plastic
1 a stainless steel stock pot for heating the brine.
glass measuring cups
a good plastic long handled spoon.
Other equipment that helps when pickling or canning
A jar lifter and funnel are not necessary things but they are so helpful…filling and then lifting the hot jars.
Once you have your jars sterilized start packing the vegetables, garlic, dill or whatever you want to use into the jars. You need to pack them tight for the contents will shrink a little. Bring your brine mixture to a slow boil and allow it to simmer for 15 minutes or so. I always look for a amber color that way I know my pickling spices are blended into the vinegar and the salt and sugar is all dissolve. Once the brine is ready slowly pour the hot brine into your packed jars. Leave a little head space at the top of the jars. I run a knife blade down the side of the jars to release any trapped air. Wipe the top of the jar with a clean wash cloth to remove any brine preventing a good tight seals once the lids are on.
Sterilize your lids by placing them into boiling water for 7-10 minutes drain and screw lids onto pickle jars. Now you have a couple of options on how you want to store your pickles.
1. You can allow the pickles to cool and then place them in your refrigerate and they will keep for a month or so unopened.
2. You can pull up those big girl pants and prep these pickles for long storage..its easy…and only takes a few minutes and 2 extra steps and 1 additional piece of equipment.
Hot water processing
A hot water canner is really just a big stock pot with a metal grate that fits inside to hold the jars off the bottom of the canner.
Place your jar into the grate and place into canner pot of boiling water. place the lid on the canner and allow to process for 7 -12 minutes depending on where you live…and how far above or below sea level you are. You will need at-least 1 inch of water over the top of your jar once they are submerged into the canner.
This hot water processing allow you to store your pickles in your pantry for months, even longer. Once you open a jar though they will need to be placed in the refrigerator. So dang easy…
Just allow the jars to cool and flip them upside down to get a better seal..I don’t really know if this helps or not…my mom does it…so I do it:)
That’s it…now you can pickle up a storm of vegetables…beans, green tomatoes, peppers even hard boiled eggs…although I am not a pickled egg eater…you can pickle them. Let your pickling creative juices move you and soon you will be sitting right here with…I so in so am addicted to pickling:)
Pickled Beans! Oh yes…I am in heaven people:)