What better way to spend a beautiful summer long weekend than indoors.
OK, well that doesn’t sound like the most appealing but eating locally can totally extend in the winter months!
Why not capture the summertime in summer veggies. Imagine a cold winter day and cracking open a jar of dill pickles you got fresh from 6 months ago!
Advice for first time preserving.. Make what you think you’ll eat in the winter! And don’t be afraid.. Pick up a book like the one above or check out any local workshops.. And preserve what’s around you!
Here’s a general recipe for pickling vegetables. Choose your culprit (usually a hard veg like carrot, cauliflower, cuke, beet, bean), get some mason jars and follow these simple steps! Most of the time you need is just to wait for the water to boil and wait a few days for the pickles to pickle!
Equipment: one very large pot, canning tongs, 4 1L mason jars, inert for pot to elevate jars (DIY canning kit)
Ingredients: 8 cups of veg your choice, vinegar, salt, sugar, pickling spices, additional flavours that compliment your chosen vegetable.
Step 1: Make yer brine!
All Purpose Brine
6 cups vinegar
3 cups water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup salt
Boil in pot for 10min.
Step 2: Sterilize jars.
This is done by boiling your mason jars and your new lids (the two piece canning lids you get with them) fully submerged in water for at least 10 min. Cover the pot with a lid to prevent water from evaporating.
Step 3: Prepping and packing your vegetables.
Wash and cut your desired vegetable in any size. Ideally in a way that you can fit the most in your jar as possible. This way you need less brine per jar.
Remove jars and lids from the pot onto a towel.
To each jar add your desired seasoning. A general pickling spice blend is available at most health food stores and gives you that classic bread and butter pickle flavouring.
For more simple additions, think of what would go nicely with your vegetable. The following is per 1L jar.
Cucumber : 1 sprig of fresh dill (with flowers if possible for more concentrated flavour), 2 large cloves of garlic
Carrot spears: 1″ piece peeled ginger and 1 lemon wedge
Cauliflower: 1/2 tbsp pickling spice and small piece of beet to make them pink!
Step 4: Sealing your jars.
Once you’ve packed your jars, make sure there is an inch of space between the top of the jar and veggies. Pour the hot brine into your jars until it covers your vegetables.
*Important* Place a knife in each jar and move the vegetables around to unlock any bubbles that have been trapped between your veggies. This prevents bacteria from staying in the jar.
Carefully put the lids on and place back into your large pot of boiling water for 15min. This ensures further sterilization as well as it infuses the flavours of your brine into your vegetables.
Step 5: Eat
Your pickles will develop flavour between two days to two weeks. Experiment with what flavour you like best! Refrigerate after opening.
Unopened.. leave in a cool dry place out of sunlight and this should stay preserved for at least a year!
—more to come!—