Winter time is when you get out the flannel comfy pants and sheets, and say goodbye to the mass amounts of fresh produce. The CSA’s stop delivering, some of the local farmer’s markets close up until next year, and it’s the time to batten down the hatches and hole up for a few months. Right now I’m staring out my window, watching the last of my magnolia leaves flutter to the earth. It’s gray and misty, but still alive with zipping hummingbirds, chirpy finches and chickadees, and some likely mentally-imbalanced squirrels that seem to do some weird stuff in the yard (repeated somersaults at the base of a bush? sprint-jump-dive-rolls in the grass?). I love watching my critters. I’ve even successfully hand-fed a hummingbird! We have a little family who visits all the time, very territorial about our yard and feeders. Hours of entertainment! And they stay through the winter, so I know I’ll always have some hijinx to watch out the window.
Anyway, back to the topic! If you’re big on eating only local, then you’ve probably discovered canning – a way to keep summer and fall produce a little longer. My mother-in-law is a canner – she makes the best pickled jalapenos and various jellies (mmm… red currant!)! I’ve always enjoyed the fruits of her labor, but for me, I’ve never been big on doing it myself. Too much stuff to keep around, and not enough room (for equipment or resulting cans). But then I realized, I only need that stuff if I’m going to do LOTS of canning and want to keep stuff outside of the fridge. Realizing I can make just 1 jar of jam or pickles changed my mind about it all. So I started experimenting. The pickle recipes I kinda made up, but the kimchi I got from a website, which I will point to below. Note that my methods aren’t shelf stable – so they have to be kept in the fridge. I’ll also be posting in the near future about some jams I made (plum & apricot), so stay tuned!
Mmmmm… Dill pickles. I don’t even think I need to say any more.
For this recipe, you can up the amount of vinegar/etc to however much you need to cover all your pickles. What I’m putting here is for about 4 jars.
- 1.5 C white vinegar
- 1.5 C apple cider vinegar
- 3 C water
- 2.5 T pickling salt
- 2 t sugar
- pickling cucumbers, whole or cut in slices or spears (however you like it!)
- Lots of dill flower head things, plus maybe some regular dill sprigs (the flower heads pack a lot more flavor than the sprigs, so you can use less)
- 1-2 t peppercorns per jar
- 1-2 t coriander seeds per jar
- 1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes per jar
- 1 Thai red chili per jar
- 1 garlic clove per jar
Prep your jars: Put the garlic, peppercorns, coriander seeds, and crushed red into each jar. Put some dill in. Add in as many pickles as will fit (jam it in), lacing in the Thai chili in the middle, and another sprig or two or three of dill throughout.
In a saucepan, bring the first 5 ingredients to a boil. Pour over the pickles (while super hot) leaving about a 1/2″ of room at the top. If using actual canning jars/lids, you can seal them and then turn them upside down (while still hot) and leave like this to cool. It’ll give a seal to the canning jars (though you still need to keep them in the fridge). Once cool, put them in the fridge and eat whenever! They last a long time. And not boiling them in a water bath keeps them extra crunchy.
I like me some sweet pickles. They seem easy enough, so I tried ’em, and they turned out pretty good! Unlike the dill pickles, though, these don’t last that long – as they’re a lot of sugar and not much salt so don’t make too much at a time.
- 2 C rice vinegar
- 2 C sugar
- 1 t pickling salt
- 1 t crushed red chili flakes
- pickling cucumbers, cut into slices/rounds
- carrot, cut into matchsticks
Same method as with the dills, put the cukes and carrots into the jars. Bring the vinegar, sugar, salt, and chili flakes to a boil, pour over the cukes/carrots and let cool. Eat!
There are a bajillion recipes for kimchi out there… I figured I’d start with a moderately easy version – and I found it here. Simple to follow, though required a HUGE bowl to mix everything in. 🙂 Not sure if it’s “the one” recipe (as I think it was too much fish sauce), but that’s not stopping us from devouring it.
Do you have a fave recipe for pickling stuff??