Pickles, pickling and you

You don’t need to get yourself into a pickle. Canning your cukes is easy when you know how!

First, get out to your farmers market and get yourself some beautiful baby cukes.

Kirby or Persian cucumbers are the best variety to choose as they hold up their crunch factor without becoming soft and mushy. No one wants a soft or mushy pickle.

So why pickle you ask? Well first, you will know exactly what is going into your pickles, there will be no weird additives or unlabelled shenanigans in your final product.

Second, fermentation. This gives your gut the healthy bacteria that it needs to flourish and keep your immune system healthy.

Third, it is easy!

You can can your pickles using a hot water bath method, or you can just jar them and put them in the fridge. Canning will allow you to store them for about a year.

Did you know that you can also pickle other veg? Okra and green beans are always favorites, but garlic scapes and carrots work well too. Get creative and try pickling other veg from your garden. What ever veg you choose should be ripe and firm to the touch.

Grab some dill, some garlic, vinegar and cukes and let’s get into a pickle!

The Brine

A basic brine will be made of equal parts vinegar and water mixed with salt. It then gets poured over the cucumbers and turns your veg into pickley goodness! You can of course eat them straight away, but the longer you leave them soaking in the brine, the better the flavor!

Keeping the ratios the same you will be able to make more or less brine depending on the amount of veg you would like to ferment. You can also play around with different spices and vinegars. Experiment with cider or homemade vinegars, mustard seed, red pepper flakes.. .the possibilities are endless!

To Process or Not to Process

If you want to keep your pickles for up to a year, you will need to process them. If you just want to reach into the fridge and grab some on the go you will not.

You can make the recipe below and decide which you will want to do, process or not. If you want to keep them for up to a year, then you will need to hot water bathe them for about 5 minutes. The only downside is that the hot water will cook the pickles a little bit and sometimes make your pickles a bit soft. If you would like them to stay crunchy, just skip the hot water bath and them in the fridge. They will keep for several weeks in the fridge.

So there you have it, easy breezy pickle making. What kinds of veg will you try to get into a pickle?

Print Recipe
Make Dill Pickles!
Course preserves
Cuisine Pickling
Servings
Ingredients
Course preserves
Cuisine Pickling
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Get your jars ready: If you are going to can your pickles you will need to boil and sterilize the jars and their lids. If you are planning to make refrigerator pickles, washing the jars and lids is fine.
  2. Prepare the cukes: Wash and dry the cucumbers. Be sure to trim away the blossom end of the cucumber, as it contains enzymes that can lead to limp pickles. You can leave the cucumbers whole,  or cut them into spears, or whichever shape you like.
  3. Spice up your veg: Divide the spices of your choice between the jars
  4. Pack the cucumbers: Pack the cucumbers  into the jars. Leaving about 1/2 inch below the top of the jar. Pack them in as tightly.
  5. Pickling brine: Combine the vinegar, water, salt and other spices in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil. Pour the brine over the cucumbers. Fill each jar to within 1/4-inch of the top.
  6. Remove the air bubbles: Gently tap your jars against the counter a few times to remove all the air bubbles. Top off with more brine if needed.
  7. Tighten the lids: Place the lids over the jars and screw on the rings until tight.
  8. If Processing: For longer shelf life your pickles will need a hot water bath. Fill your canner with enough water to cover the jars by a full inch. Boil the water, place jars into boiling water, wait for water to return to a boil and keep them in there for 10 minutes. Once they are finished, use tongs and carefully take jars out and let them cool.  
  9. Cool and refrigerate: Let the jars cool to room temperature. If you processed the jars, they can be stored on the shelf. If unprocessed, store the pickles in the fridge. The pickles will improve with flavor as they age — try to wait at least 48 hours before cracking them open.
Recipe Notes

Storing canned pickles: Canned pickles will keep for at least a year on the shelf and for several weeks in the refrigerator once opened; refrigerator pickles will keep for several weeks.

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Ah, Christmas parties!

mmm delicious chicken

Tis the season to get together with friends and family to celebrate the season! I went to celebrate with family and was asked to bring a main dish. This buttermilk baked chicken is what I decided to bring to the festivities! It is delicious and juicy.

Print Recipe
Baked Buttermilk chicken
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Grease your pan well or add parchment paper.
  2. Mix together buttermilk, lemon juice, spices, garlic, salt, and pepper to a large freezer bag. Add chicken and coat with mixture. Seal bag ensuring all air is removed from bag and place in the refrigerator for 3 hours or up 12 hours.
  3. Mix Panko bread crumbs and seasoning of your choice together.
  4. Beat egg in separate bowl.
  5. Remove chicken from the marinade, letting the excess drip off.
  6. Dip in egg mixture to coat, then into the panko bread crumbs. Doing this in small batches I find works best to keep the coating adhering to the chicken.
  7. Place in the pan and bake for 45 minutes until golden and crisp.
Recipe Notes

Enjoy this juicy and flavorful chicken.

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Chicken Tangine

Mmmm chicken tangine, my new favorite dish!

The slow cooking of this dish allows the moisture in this dish to be reabsorbed into the chicken and the vegetables leaving you with a complexity of flavors and moist chicken. This dish is full of flavor to savor and will keep your guests coming back for more!
The original recipe by Mark Bitten can be found here: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/25/dining/the-minimalist-a-shortcut-to-morocco.html

Mark says to enjoy this over couscous, I put it over quinoa, but rice would work well too.

Print Recipe
Chicken Tangine
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Moroccan
Servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Moroccan
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Put oil and butter in a large skillet or casserole, which can be covered later, and turn heat to medium high. When butter melts, add onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until it softens, 5 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, a large pinch of salt and spices. Cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, raisins and vanilla, and bring to a boil. (If mixture is very dry, add about 1/2 cup water.) Taste, and add salt as necessary.
  2. Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt, and nestle them into sauce. Cover, and 5 minutes later adjust heat so mixture simmers steadily. Cook until chicken is very tender, 45 minutes to an hour. Taste, and adjust seasoning. Then garnish, and serve with couscous.
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