The summer zucchini crop is arriving at Brooklyn farmers markets, and this is a great vegetable to substitute for cucumbers when making bread and butter pickles. Zucchini retains the same crunch and crispness as cucumber when pickled, but it has an earthier flavor that makes it a great addition to sandwiches. And it goes great with cheap beer, as do most pickles. I adapted a recipe from The Joy of Pickling here, by cutting quantities in half and adding hot pepper flakes to complement the sweetness. Sure, the apartment stinks liked boiled vinegar, but in three weeks we’ll have two mason jars full of bread and butter zucchini.
Makes about 2.5 pints
- 2 pounds zucchini, 1 inch in diameter, sliced into 3/16-inch rounds (about 1 quart)
- 1/2 pound small onions, sliced into thin rounds (about 1 cup)
- 1/4 cup pickling salt (sea salt works well)
- 2 cups cider vinegar
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons whole yellow mustard seeds
- 1 tablespoon whole celery seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
Put the zucchini and onions into a bowl and toss the vegetables with the salt. Cover the vegetables with ice cubes from 2 ice trays. Let the vegetables stand at room temperature for 2 hours.
Drain the vegetables well. In a nonreactive pot (stainless steel is best here), bring to a boil the vinegar, sugar, and spices. Add the vegetables and, over medium heat, slowly bring them to a boil, stirring frequently. Simmer them for 5 to 7 minutes, until the bright skin of the zucchini turns olive.
Ladle the vegetables and liquid into pint mason jars – sterilize in very hot water in the sink first – leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Close the jars with hot two-piece caps. No need to hot water process, you can stick them in the fridge for 3 weeks before eating the pickles. After opening a jar, store it in the refrigerator.
It’s almost summer, and after a year-long sabbatical (due in large part to having to pickles 60 jars of beets for my wedding last year), the pickling has once again begun. This means the apartment once again smells like boiled vinegar. This means fresh produce is necessary. And this means pickles, and plenty of them. Pickling is possibly the easiest thing to do in the kitchen, aside from maybe drinking beer, so I’ll be posting my adaptations of recipes here. This one comes courtesy of Karen Hursh Graber, who is something of an expert on the cuisine of the Puebla region of Mexico. I adapted her recipe as follows:
- 1 pound jalapeño chiles, washed and stems left intact
- 6 tablespoons olive
- 1 head garlic, cloves separated, left unpeeled, and sliced lengthwise
- 3 cups cider vinegar
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ tablespoon sugar
I left out the onion and carrots here, but only because my kitchen was understocked. Yes, pure laziness. They should be in here. I also omitted marjoram and used cider vinegar – I just like cider vinegar for pickling. For this recipe, I think white vinegar is too bland, and the sweet tartness of cider vinegar should suit it just fine. These are refrigerator pickles, no need to hot water seal your jars, although you should sterilize them in your sink.
Cut an X into the tip of each jalapeño.
Heat the oil, add the garlic and jalapenos and sauté for about 5-10 minutes over medium high flame.
Add the vinegar and remaining ingredients and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Ladle the mixture into sterilized glass jars, cover and refrigerate. Makes 3 pints.
I love pickled eggs. I was trying to decide if I should do some beet-infused eggs this time around, but then I came across a recipe for British pub eggs, using malt vinegar. These should be sweet and spicy, thanks to the addition of jalapeno, allspice, and cinnamon. I’ll know for sure in two weeks.
Vinegar and spices simmering.
Hard-boiled eggs and beer.
Adding the vinegar.
Summertime pickling is underway.
Kosher spears ready to ferment.
Hot water processing.
See you in a month, pickles.
This past Friday night, Hannah and I hosted our first Pickle Party. The selection included:
1) Olive oil pickle chips – cucumber vinegar pickles topped off with a few tablespoons of oil, which helps preserve the seal of the jar, but also adds a nice flavor to the batch.
2) Polish mushrooms – the addition of Allspice nuggets dominates the flavor here, but these button mushrooms were tasty.
3) British pub onions – a malt vinegar pickle. These were a bit too onion-y for my taste, but went well with cheese. I think they’ll be good to cook with as well.
4) Soy-cured beef – a Korean recipe, not really pickled, as such. Basically, this is beef simmered for a long time with soy sauce and sugar. One of my faves thus far.
5) Pickled eggs – not as spicy as I would have liked, but this is another fave, pickled in white wine vinegar.
6) Pickled asparagus – pickled in red wine vinegar and spiced with nutmeg, these were very nice.
Beverages included a variety of beer, champagne, wine (Eastern European selections), and, ultimately, as always, some whiskey. Most of the pickles were consumed, so it will soon be time to ferment a new batch. I can’t wait.
My second batch of pickles is a jar of bread and butter chips. For these, I sliced up pickling cucumbers and onions and used a warm cider vinegar solution with pickling salt, turmeric, sugar, mustard seed, and celery seed. They turned out to be quite good, although they are more sour than sweet. You have to eat them and not think of them as typical bread and butters, since they really don’t have the sugar content of store-bought b’n’b’s.
This past Christmas, my girlfriend, Hannah, gave me The Joy of Pickling. As an avid pickle eater and appreciator, I couldn’t wait to begin micro-pickling. Of course, life being what it is, it took me more than six months to make my first batch. I chose an easy kind, the first recipe in the book, half sours. The results? Definitely not the best pickles I’ve ever had, but not bad for a first attempt. It was quite easy as well. These are brine pickles, so I combined sea salt and water with dill seeds, dill sprigs, coriander seeds, garlic, and a serrano pepper in a mason jar, and left it out for a week. After popping it in the fridge for three days, the pickles were ready to eat. The serrano peppper definitely gave them a zing, but they were crunchy, dill-infused, and pleasantly tart. Here are some pics: