Pickled Radishes

Pickled Radishes

Radishes are completely underrated.  I swear they are one of those vegetables that people just shy away from because they don’t know what to do with them.  Aside from putting them in salads, is there really a lot you can do with them?  Oh yes…and I just happen to be one of those people who loves them, just about any way.

I think I actually inherited the taste from my father.  I remember him eating raw radishes when I was little – he would just eat them like he was eating a strawberry.  Now, I am happy to eat them like that, although I prefer this way…until I tried pickling them.

The other week I got a huge bunch of radishes in my market basket.  I was just about to break out the bread, butter and salt, when I remembered pickling.  I have been wanting to pickle radishes for quite some time, and here was my opportunity.  I decided to make up my own recipe, using the pickling spices I have in the house, and I am hooked.  They are the perfect little snack after work, and they go great with a cocktail on the weekend.  They were super easy to make also – and just a few radishes really go a long way.

So when I got the next market basket with more radishes – I almost pulled out the pickling spices, but I thought, I can’t stop now – what’s next?  So I roasted them…and yes, those were delicious too.  Radishes…the new incredibly versatile vegetable, who knew?

Ingredients

  • 10 radishes, sliced thin
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pickling spices

Preparation

Place the cider vinegar, water, salt, sugar and pickling spices in a medium saucepan and cook until the salt and sugar dissolves.  Place sliced radishes in two 1/2-pint canning jars, and then poor the cider mixture on top.  Let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate before eating.  They stay fresh for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Pickled Radishes

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Dilly Beans

There was a time where our garden was overflowing with vegetables.  That was when summers in Seattle would actually get above 80 degrees for a period of time.  As I have written in the many of my recent posts, it seems as if global warming is having the opposite effect in Seattle, and we are having more snow in the winter, and cooler weather in the summer.  My husband still has a beautiful garden, and tries to grow what he can, but we certainly don’t have an overabundance of vegetables – which is really too bad given my recent canning obsession.  Fortunately we have plenty of farmers markets in the area that can feed my habit…

One of my very first favorite “adult” cocktails was the Bloody Mary.  First of all, I LOVED tomato juice as a kid, even better would be a can of V8.  I would take that over soda any day of the week.  In fact, when I was young, and my father would take me into his office, they had cans of these in the refrigerator.  I would drink as many as I could while I was there – I can’t believe all the salt didn’t blow me up like a balloon – ok I digress.  So – since I loved V8 so much, this was the perfect cocktail for me.  I also looked forward to a big celery stick that would give me a little snack as I drank my beverage.  One day I specifically remember getting a Bloody Mary with a pickled bean as the garnish – ok, that just about blew my mind, it was so delicious.  When I saw this recipe in Food in Jars, I immediately thought of that cocktail.  I couldn’t wait to try them.  These are incredible.  They are extremely crispy, and have the perfect dill flavor.  They are almost too good – you can easily polish a jar off without even blinking an eye.  In fact, I think my step-father may have done just that.

So thank goodness for the farmer’s markets – and thanks to that nice stand that dealt with me and my obsessive compulsive behavior – picking out the perfect beans to use.  I think if I did that in my husband’s garden, I would drive him to drink…

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds green beans, trimmed to fit your jars
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 4 teaspoons dill seed (not dill weed)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 1/2 cups white vinegar (5%)
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup pickling salt (use a bit more if you’ve only got kosher)

Preparation

Prep your canning pot by inserting a rack to keep your jars off the bottom of the pot, place pint jars in (wide-mouth pints work best here. A 12 ounce jelly jar is also nice, as it’s a bit taller than a standard pint and makes for less trimming) and fill it with water. Bring to a boil to sterilize while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.

Wash and trim your beans so that they fit in your jar. If you have particularly long beans, your best bet is to cut them in half, although by doing so, you do lose the visual appeal of having all the beans standing at attending.

Combine vinegar, water and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. While it’s heating up, pack your beans into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace (distance between the tops of the beans and the rim of the jar). To each jar, add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 clove of garlic and 1 teaspoon dill seeds.

Pour the boiling brine over the beans, making sure to leave that 1/2 inch headspace. Use a plastic knife to remove air bubbles from jar by running it around the interior of the jar. Wipe the rims and apply the lids (which have been sitting in a small saucepan of water at a mere simmer for at least ten minutes in order to soften the sealing compound) and rings.

Process for 5 minutes in a boiling water bath (remember that you don’t start timing until the pot has come to a roiling boil).

These beans want to hang out for a least two weeks before eating, to thoroughly develop their flavor.

Makes 4 half-pint jars.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Dilly Beans

Gingery Pickled Beets

This is not what I wanted to post today…I really wanted to post some jam I made with fruit that is abundant in the farmer’s market these days, but the pictures are not ready.  See, with jam, it is a little tricky.  I have been waiting to crack the seal open and try the jam for a couple of weeks, it has been staring at me in the pantry.  I have been very patient though, and trying to let it set.  I read that it can take up to a couple of weeks, and the consistency is almost there.  I know it is going to be amazing, because I tried it as I was putting it into the jars.  I think it might just be my just jam yet, which is awesome, yet sad at the same time.  Unfortunately this fruit is not available all year long, which means it will just be that much more special.

So as you can see, my canning obsession is still in full swing.  In fact, with the farmer’s markets in full on explosion mode, I am really having a hard time.  I told myself a while ago that I can only make one type of jam, and one type of pickle each weekend – anything more is just insane, with all the other things going on in my life.  Now, if this was my full-time job, that would be a different story.  Believe me, the thought has crossed my mind, but I already have a full-time job – and I actually really like what I do, so for now, it is one jam and one pickle on the weekends.

I am a huge beet fan, and I am so excited that they will be around in the farmer’s markets through the fall.  So far I have only made this recipe from Food in Jars with red beets, but I can already tell that the orange-colored beets would be amazing as well.  The ginger really gives these beets a wonderful kick – I seriously could have eaten an entire jar myself.  These are good straight out of the jar, on top of greens with some goat cheese – or in a myriad of other combinations – yes, they are that good.  So – if you are looking for your pickle recipe next weekend, I highly recommend this one.  Not only are they delicious, they look beautiful in the pantry.  See, you actually have to let these sit for a week while they cure, that way you can stare at them in the pantry.  Once a week goes by, you can break them open and enjoy.  They will be a fleeting guest in your refrigerator at that point, so don’t get too used to them…that is until you choose them once again for your weekend pickle.  Thank goodness beets have such a long growing season here.  I may have to start thinking about moving to Georgia…

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs red beets
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons pickling salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 2” piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

Preparation

Scrub the beets, removing the greens and long roots (save the greens, they’re edible!). Place the beets in a pot and cover with water. Simmer over medium heat until the beets are just tender, about 30-45 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. When the beets are cool enough to handle, rub the skins off with your fingers. (Wear plastic gloves or resealable plastic bags on your hands if you are averse to pink-stained skin.) Trim the unwieldy ends, cut the beets into wedges, and set aside.

Prepare a boiling water bath and sterilize 3 regular-mouth 1-pint jars. Place the lids in a small saucepan, cover them with water, and simmer over very low heat.

Combine vinegar, 2 cups of water, salt, sugar, cinnamon stick and ginger slices in a pot and bring the brine to a boil.

Meanwhile, pack the beet wedges into the sterilized jars. Slowly pour the hot brine over the beets in each jar (making sure to include 2-3 ginger slices in each jar), leaving 1/2” headspace. Gently tap the jars on a towel-lined countertop to help loosen any bubbles before using a wooden chopstick to dislodge any remaining bubbles. Check the headspace again and add more brine if necessary.

Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Let the pickles cure for at least 1 week before eating.

Makes two 1-pint jars.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Gingery Pickled Beets

Pickled Sugar Snap Peas with Ginger

I am a little pre-occupied this week, with a lot of different things.  Sometimes my life really does feel like a three-ring-circus, and this is definitely one of those times.  Tonight my husband was trying to talk to me, and I was so deeply engrossed in thought, I didn’t even hear him, even though he was less than two feet away.  After hearing what I was thinking about, he agreed that I had a lot going on.  I have to say, I am usually at my best during these times…and I am counting on that to be the case again this week.  When I was in college, I was never one of those all-nighter type people – I had all my work done before the deadlines, and never crammed at the last-minute.  I thrive on the last-minute push now, it excites me and almost energizes me.  Funny how things change…

So last night was like the eye of the hurricane.  You know, that eery calm that happens in the middle of a storm?  That was me last night – it was almost too calm.  My husband and I were in the office, he was starting his second work day, as I was catching up on some email.  The girls were in their beds reading, and everything was quiet.  All of a sudden we heard this loud crash, that lasted for quite a while, and then the crying started.  We both called out and started running up the stairs, and our youngest daughter had knocked over her night stand light and the bulb exploded.  I have never seen a light bulb shatter like this, but there were shards of glass everywhere.  She was mostly upset that her light was broken and I knew that unless she had a working light, she would never go to sleep.  My husband worked on cleaning up the room, while I worked on getting the base of the light bulb out of the light.  Fortunately I was able to change the bulb, and all is well that ends well…that is until tonight when she cut her foot on a piece that we missed – but I got that one handled too – and I think we are done.

In a different part of the circus, I am working on a big baking project this week,  and I am not allowing myself any additional baking until it is done.  So, what did I do this weekend?  I made more pickles from Food in Jars.  This time pickled sugar snap peas – I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity.  The farmer’s markets are overflowing with amazing produce, and these are so delicious.  The mint and ginger add such a unique flavor – I don’t even like sugar snap peas, but these I could eat all day.

I am really excited about my big baking project that I will finish on Saturday, but more importantly I am excited about why I am doing it…I can’t wait to tell you all about this special occasion.  Until then, I am energized, and balancing the those plates in the air, just like a true circus performer.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound snap peas
  • 1 1/2 cups rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 inch of ginger, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
  • 4 sprigs fresh mint

Preparation

Wash the snap peas well. Using a paring knife, trim both ends and remove the tough string that runs along the back of the peas.

In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, honey and sea salt. Heat until the honey and salt are entirely dissolved.

Preparare 4 half pint jars.  Place 1-2 ginger slices in the bottom of each of the jars.  Divide the green onions and the mint leaves evenly between the jars.

Pack the prepared snap peas into the jars. If they don’t all fit, set the aside. You may be able to sneak them in once the pickling liquid is poured.

Pour the hot vinegar over the snap peas. Gently tap the jar on the counter to release any air bubbles.

If you had any remaining peas, try and pack them into the jar at this time.  Place a lid on the jar.  Let the jar rest until it has cooled to room temperature.  Refrigerate.  Let these pickles sit in the vinegar for at least 24 hours before eating.  They will keep up to 1 month in the refrigerator.

Makes two pints.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Pickled Sugar Snap Peas with Ginger

Dill Pickles

There was a time where our garden was overflowing with vegetables.  That was when summers in Seattle would actually get above 80 degrees for a period of time.  As I have written in the many of my recent posts, it seems as if global warming is having the opposite effect in Seattle, and we are having more snow in the winter, and cooler weather in the summer.  My husband still has a beautiful garden, and tries to grow what he can, but we certainly don’t have an overabundance of vegetables – which is really unfortunate given my recent canning obsession.

This week I was visiting my family on the East Coast, and my best friend from high school (well, her husband), has an incredible garden.  With the hot weather, their garden is definitely exploding.  She came to the beach and brought me just a sampling of their harvest – and I went nuts when I saw the small cucumbers.  Little did she know, my mind went immediately to pickles – she looked at me a little odd because they just eat them raw – but I couldn’t wait to make some pickles.  I found this recipe on the Food in Jars blog (my latest favorite blog) – and the stars aligned.  Not only did I have just the perfect amount of cucumbers per the recipe, this was an easy refrigerator pickle, so I knew it would take me no time at all to put together.  The only risk was finding the Dill Seed – and fortunately my mother’s local grocery store carried it – I had to go to 4 markets in Seattle before I found some!  I made these pickles in about 1/2 hour – and they were the best pickles I have ever had.  No joke, and I am definitely a pickle connoisseur.  Everyone just LOVED them – and would you believe just a few days later, they are already gone?  I can’t wait to go back to Seattle and make some more – as soon as I can find some little pickles at the farmer’s market – or maybe a road trip to Eastern Washington?  Boy, I seriously have a problem if I am even considering driving 5 hours to get some good canning cucumbers…

Ingredients

  • 1 quart Kirby cucumbers (approximately 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup filtered water
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons dill seed
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 spring onions (whites only), chopped

Preparation

Wash and dry Kirby cucumbers. Chop ends off and slice into spears. Set aside.

Combine vinegar, water and salt in sauce pan and bring to a boil.

Equally divide the dill seed, garlic cloves and chopped onion between the two jars. Pack the cucumber spears into the jars as tightly as you can without crushing them.

Pour the brine into the jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Put lids on the jars and let them cool on the counter top. Once they’re cool, put them in the refrigerator. Let cure for at least a day before eating. Pickles will keep in the fridge for up to a month.

Makes two pints.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Dill Pickles