Posts Tagged ‘pickling’

PICKLING BEETS

Posted: May 10, 2017 in beets, Food, pickling, Recipes
Tags: , , ,

Growing up in a Lithuanian family, there was a small group of foods that I had to love to survive, since they constantly appeared on the dinner table: potatoes, cabbage, mushrooms, herring, and beets. Fortunately for me, I loved them all, despite my Mom’s desire to boil everything to death.

One of the many uses for beets, besides a cold summer soup and a hot winter soup, was pickling. Pickled beets are an excellent side dish for any hearty meat dish. (I love ’em with kielbasa!)  Store-bought pickled beets pack way too much sugar in every jar, so it was time to make my own. The addition of hard-boiled eggs to the mix is a personal one. If you don’t like ’em, leave ’em out and add more beets.

A real time saver is a product called Love Beets, which you can find in any supermarket. If you use them, you can skip the roasting of the beets altogether.

beets

 

4 to 8 beets, scrubbed (your favorite variety)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 red onion, sliced
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled (optional)
6 fresh dill sprigs

Pre-heat the oven to 450. Wrap the beets in foil and roast for about an hour, until tender. When they’re cool enough, carefully peel and quarter them.

In a medium saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, garlic, sugar, peppercorns and salt. Bring it to a boil and simmer over moderately high heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Let the pickling liquid cool to warm, about 15 minutes.

In a heat-proof glass jar or container, layer the beets, onion, eggs and dill sprigs and then cover with the pickling liquid. Let it stand at room temp for 2 hours, then place it in the fridge overnight.

They stay fresh for a week, but they won’t last that long!

My friend, Cindy, has cucumber overload in the home garden right now. Thanks to her for requesting a re-post of this recipe.

I don’t have the patience to boil Mason jars and lids and all that crap. But I love me my pickles, especially when I’ve got a cucumber surplus in the garden. These won’t last beyond the season, but if you want fresh pickles in a hurry, this is a great method to use.

No water is needed! The salt extracts just enough moisture, like when curing meat, to make it work.

pickles

 

 

6 fresh cucumbers
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt (I like Fleur de Sel)
handful of fresh dill
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced

 

Get a large plastic Ziploc bag.  Add the salt, dill and garlic and gently mix everything in the bag.

Cut the ends off the cucumbers and then slice them lengthwise, in half or in quarters. Add them to the bag and gently mix again.

Squeeze to remove air from the bag, close it tightly and place it in the fridge overnight. The pickles will be ready to eat the next day, but they’re even better after 48 hours.

 

 

 

 

The home garden is already showing signs of activity. Overwintered kale and arugula plants are springing back to life, enough for a quick salad. Cool weather seeds that I’ve sown early: peas, turnips, radishes, broccoli raab, and others are sprouting. But nothing says the gardening season is here like my patch of homegrown asparagus taking off!

asparagus2013

Asparagus is really easy to grow. You just need the space, and the plants practically do the rest. Space them about a foot apart, and before you know it, you will have a vast network of tasty stalks sprouting through the soil every spring. They are so much better than anything you can buy in a supermarket.
In the start of the growing season, the stalks don’t even make it into the house. I cut them and just eat them straight out of the garden. Eventually, they make the move to the kitchen, where I love to simply place them on a baking sheet and drizzle a little olive oil over them. Salt and pepper…and then in a 400-degree oven until they’ve caramelized.

Midway through the season, I have so much asparagus that I just don’t know what to do with them all. My friends don’t want anymore and I can’t bear to throw them into the compost pile. So I pickle them…a really easy process that ensures I’ve got delicious asparagus year-round.

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PICKLED ASPARAGUS
Several bunches of asparagus spears
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 cups water
20 peppercorns
Garlic cloves, peeled
Salt (1 teaspoon per quart-sized Mason jar. Use less for smaller jars.)
Bring the vinegar, water, sugar and peppercorns to a boil.
Trim the bottom of the asparagus spears so that spears are just slightly shorter than the height of the quart-sized Mason jar you will use. Or cut into pieces that will fit smaller jars.
Pack the jars as tightly as you can with asparagus spears. (They will shrink when processed.) Add the garlic clove and 1 teaspoon of salt to every quart-sized Mason jar…less for smaller jars.
Fill jars with the vinegar mixture and seal.
Process the jars for 10 minutes. Let them cool before placing in refrigerator.

WHY DOES YOUR PEE SMELL WHEN YOU EAT ASPARAGUS?

Asparagus contains a sulfur compound called mercaptan. It is also found in onions, garlic, rotten eggs, and in the secretions of skunks. The signature smell occurs when this substance is broken down in your digestive system. Not all people have the gene for the enzyme that breaks down mercaptan, so some of you can eat all the asparagus you want without stinking up the place. One study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology found that only 46 percent of British people tested produced the odor while 100 percent of French people tested did. (It has to do with your DNA.)

PICKLED BEETS

Posted: August 23, 2015 in beets, Food, pickling, Recipes
Tags: , , , ,

Growing up in a Lithuanian family, there was a small group of foods that I had to love to survive, since they constantly appeared on the dinner table: potatoes, cabbage, mushrooms, herring, and beets. Fortunately for me, I loved them all, despite my Mom’s desire to boil everything to death.

One of the many uses for beets, besides soups, was pickling. Pickled beets are an excellent side for any hearty meat dish. (I love ’em with kielbasa or steak!)  I add hard-boiled eggs and hunks of onion to the mix because I like them. If you don’t like ’em, leave ’em out and just add more beets.

I combined store-bought already-cooked beets (the brand is called Love Beets) with Chiogga beets that I grew in my own garden and peeled and roasted before pickling.

image

 

 

4 to 8 beets, scrubbed (your favorite variety)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
2 Vidalia onions, quartered
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
6 fresh dill sprigs

Pre-heat the oven to 450. Wrap the beets in foil and roast for about an hour, until tender. When cool enough, carefully peel and quarter them.

In a medium saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, garlic, sugar, peppercorns and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer over moderately high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Let the pickling liquid cool to warm, about 15 minutes.

In a heat-proof glass jar or container, layer the beets, onion, eggs,  and dill sprigs and then cover with the pickling liquid. Let stand at room temp for 2 hours, then place in fridge overnight.

They stay fresh for a week, but they won’t last that long!

image

Whether it’s the Italian Giardiniera or the French spelling of Jardiniere, it’s a delicious mix of vegetables that get their kick from soaking in a vinegar-mustard seed brine. My Mom used to make Chow-Chow, which is similar, using vinegar and yellow mustard. Either way, I love the taste of this veggie medley that really has no rules: use whatever your favorite vegetables are, brine them, and enjoy.

I got carried away and used a gallon-sized glass jar for this recipe, perhaps far too much for most applications. This recipe has been reduced to fit a quart-size Mason jar.

 

image

2 cups white vinegar
1/4 cup granulated sugar (I use organic cane sugar)
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1/2 head organic cauliflower, chopped into small florets
1 medium yellow onion, sliced thin
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2″ dice
1 celery stalk, sliced very thin
1 carrot, peeled and sliced thin
1 garlic clove, through a press
1 tablespoon whole yellow mustard seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 cup olive oil

 

In a non-reactive saucepan, bring the vinegar, sugar and salt to a boil, just until all the ingredients have dissolved. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature.

Chop the cauliflower, onion, pepper, celery and carrot, placing them into the Mason jar. Feel free to use more of what you love and less of what you don’t!

Once the vinegar mixture has cooled, add the garlic, mustard seeds and oregano to the mixture and stir to combine. Pour this mixture into the Mason jar of veggies, seal the jar and shake the jar to thoroughly mix everything.

image

 

Store in the fridge. It’ll be ready to eat in a couple of days…if you can wait that long!

The home garden is already showing signs of activity. Overwintered kale and arugula plants are springing back to life, enough for a quick salad. Cool weather seeds that I’ve sown early: peas, turnips, radishes, broccoli raab, and others are sprouting. But nothing says the gardening season is here like my patch of homegrown asparagus taking off!

asparagus2013

Granted, a few shoots breaking through the soil doesn’t qualify as “taking off,” but it’s an exciting time of the year in the home garden.
Asparagus is really easy to grow. You just need the space, and the plants practically do the rest. Space them about a foot apart, and before you know it, you will have a vast network of tasty stalks sprouting through the soil every spring. They are so much better than anything you can buy in a supermarket.
In the start of the growing season, the stalks don’t even make it into the house. I cut them and just eat them straight out of the garden. Eventually, they make the move to the kitchen, where I love to simply place them on a baking sheet and drizzle a little olive oil over them, salt and pepper…and then in a 400-degree oven until they’ve caramelized.

Midway through the season, I have so much asparagus that I just don’t know what to do with them all. My friends don’t want anymore and I can’t bear to throw them into the compost pile. So I pickle them…a really easy process that ensures I’ve got delicious asparagus year-round.

asparagus

Several bunches of asparagus spears
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 cups water
20 peppercorns
Garlic cloves, peeled
Salt (1 teaspoon per quart-sized Mason jar. Use less for smaller jars.)
Bring vinegar, water, sugar and peppercorns to a boil.
Trim the bottom of the asparagus spears so that they are just slightly shorter than the height of the quart-sized Mason jar you will use. Or cut them into pieces that will fit a smaller jar.
Pack the jars as tightly as you can with asparagus spears. (They will shrink when processed.) Add a garlic clove and 1 teaspoon of salt to every quart-sized Mason jar…less for smaller jars.
Fill the jars with the vinegar mixture and seal.
Process the jars for 10 minutes. Let them cool before placing them in refrigerator.
image

THE AGE OLD QUESTION: WHY DOES YOUR PEE SMELL WHEN YOU EAT ASPARAGUS?

Asparagus contains a sulfur compound called mercaptan. It is also found in onions, garlic, rotten eggs, and in the secretions of skunks. The signature smell occurs when this substance is broken down in your digestive system. Not all people have the gene for the enzyme that breaks down mercaptan, so some can eat all the asparagus they want without stinking up the place. One study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology found that only 46 percent of British people tested produced the odor while 100 percent of French people tested did. (It has to do with your DNA.)

I don’t have the patience to boil Mason jars and lids and all that crap. But I love me my pickles, especially when I’ve got a cucumber surplus in the garden.

This is such an easy way to make great pickles, it’s almost unbelievable…and no water is needed! The salt extracts just enough moisture, like when curing meat, to make it work.

pickles

 

Ingredients:

6 fresh cucumbers

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt (I like Fleur de Sel)

handful of fresh dill

1 clove garlic, thinly sliced

 

Get a large plastic bag.  Add the salt, dill and garlic and gently mix everything in the bag.

Cut the ends off the cucumbers and then slice them lengthwise, in half or in quarters. Add them to the bag and gently mix again.

Squeeze to remove air from the bag, close it tightly and place it in the fridge overnight. The pickles will be ready to eat the next day, but they’re even better after 48 hours.

 

 

 

 

PICKLING BEETS

Posted: November 6, 2013 in beets, Food, pickling, Recipes
Tags: , ,

Growing up in a Lithuanian family, there was a small group of foods that I had to love to survive, since they constantly appeared on the dinner table: potatoes, cabbage, mushrooms, herring, and beets. Fortunately for me, I loved them all, despite my Mom’s desire to boil everything to death.

One of the many uses for beets, besides a cold summer soup and a hot winter soup, was pickling. Pickled beets are an excellent side dish for any hearty meat dish. (I love ’em with kielbasa!)  Store-bought pickled beets pack way too much sugar in every jar, so it was time to make my own. The addition of hard-boiled eggs to the mix is a personal one. If you don’t like ’em, leave ’em out and add more beets.

beets

Ingredients:

4 to 8 beets, scrubbed (your favorite variety)

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 cup water

3 garlic cloves, crushed

3 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns

1 tablespoon Kosher salt

1 red onion, sliced

4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled

6 fresh dill sprigs

Preheat the oven to 450. Wrap the beets in foil and roast for about an hour, until tender. When cool enough, carefully peel and quarter them.

In a medium saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, garlic, sugar, peppercorns and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer over moderately high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Let the pickling liquid cool to warm, about 15 minutes.

In a heatproof glass jar or container, layer the beets, onion, eggs and dill sprigs and then cover with the pickling liquid. Let stand at room temp for 2 hours, then place in fridge overnight.

They stay fresh for a week, but they won’t last that long!

The home garden is already showing signs of activity. Overwintered kale and arugula plants are springing back to life, enough for a quick salad. Cool weather seeds that I’ve sown early: peas, turnips, radishes, broccoli raab, and others are sprouting. But nothing says the gardening season is here like my patch of homegrown asparagus taking off!

asparagus2013

Granted, a few shoots breaking through the soil doesn’t qualify as “taking off,” but it’s an exciting time of the year in the home garden.
Asparagus is really easy to grow. You just need the space, and the plants practically do the rest. Space them about a foot apart, and before you know it, you will have a vast network of tasty stalks sprouting through the soil every spring. They are so much better than anything you can buy in a supermarket.
In the start of the growing season, the stalks don’t even make it into the house. I cut them and just eat them straight out of the garden. Eventually, they make the move to the kitchen, where I love to simply place them on a baking sheet and drizzle a little olive oil over them. Salt and pepper…and then in a 400-degree oven until they’ve caramelized.
Midway through the season, I have so much asparagus that I just don’t know what to do with them all. My friends don’t want anymore and I can’t bear to throw them into the compost pile. So I pickle them…a really easy process that ensures I’ve got delicious asparagus year-round.

PICKLED ASPARAGUS
Ingredients:
Several bunches of asparagus spears
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 cups water
20 peppercorns
Garlic cloves, peeled
Salt (1 teaspoon per quart-sized Mason jar. Use less for smaller jars.)
Bring vinegar, water, sugar and peppercorns to a boil.
Trim bottom of asparagus spears so that spears are just slightly shorter than the height of the quart-sized Mason jar you will use. Or cut into pieces that will fit smaller jars.
Pack jars as tightly as you can with asparagus spears. (They will shrink when processed.) Add garlic clove and 1 teaspoon of salt to every quart-sized Mason jar…less for smaller jars.
Fill jars with vinegar mixture and seal.
Process jars for 10 minutes. Let cool before placing in refrigerator.
 WHY DOES YOUR PEE SMELL WHEN YOU EAT ASPARAGUS?Asparagus contains a sulfur compound called mercaptan. It is also found in onions, garlic, rotten eggs, and in the secretions of skunks. The signature smell occurs when this substance is broken down in your digestive system. Not all people have the gene for the enzyme that breaks down mercaptan, so some of you can eat all the asparagus you want without stinking up the place. One study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology found that only 46 percent of British people tested produced the odor while 100 percent of French people tested did. (It has to do with your DNA.)