Make Your Own Pickles
The love of gardening and growing my own vegetables and fruit has led me to some wonderful ideas for making my own preserves and pickles. But there is one book that stands out and it is from this that most of my pickle recipes are taken.
Called 'Putting Food By' it is a sizable book by Ruth Hertzberg, Beatrice Vaughan and Janet Greene and it covers everything from canning, bottling, freezing and drying to root-cellaring and curing. Published 1973-4 by Stephen Greene Press in Vermont, USA, it has been in my possession for over 25 years and every year it is used repeatedly to make the finest pickles you can imagine.
The variety and quality is superior to anything on the market and, because I use my own home grown produce, they are all that much better. That's why this lens is being written. It is to show the audience that you can do it on your own and save heaps of money by doing it. Even if you don't have a garden you can buy fresh produce from a farmer's market and it is usually just as good.
By the way there are some great recipe lenses here as well.
There is Nothing like Fresh Vegetables
So what do you grow?
Just some of the things I grow
My garden comprises over 30 different fruit varieties on a normal size suburban block. One day a friend would not believe that many were possible so he went around and counted them. He came back with 36 as the final number but he had included the pumpkins, zucchini and cucumbers in the tally, which I had left out. Of course he is right, these are fruits as the seeds are inside.
The zucchini and cucumbers make the best pickles and there is nothing like your own display of healthy produce to turn the appetite on at meal times. It was that same friend's children who would swing open the pantry doors to gaze at my jars of pickles and jams. They announced to a rather large audience that "it is better than TV"
Well thanks kids. Of course they always got some to take home so that was an incentive to praise my work. But it is a labor of love for when others enjoy the things you make as much as you do then you just go on making them.
Fresh Vegetables are the best - Home Grown are Tops
Few people these days seem to take the trouble to grow their own fruit and vegetables. In my opinion they don't know what they are missing
If you have a choice would you grow your own fruit and vegetagles?
It was the biggest cucumber I could find
And I was thoroughly enjoying it.
Pregnant lady enjoying a dill cucumber
One day when my son was just 4 to 5 months old it seemed a good idea to take him for a walk in his pram. At that stage my shop was in the main street of Bondi and my mum was minding it for me. She loved it as it was a baby shop with all the pretty gear and clothes for little ones.
As we walked the urge for a pickle came over me and the deli was on the way back. Stopping by there the large jar of dill cucumbers was perched on the counter and my mouth was watering for one. The assistant wrapped it in a piece of white paper as I said I wanted to eat it straight away. So off we went back to the shop with me munching happily on the biggest cucumber you could imagine
As soon as she saw mum blurted out "Norma, you're pregnant."
"What!" I remarked back.
"Well look at you eating that thing." She said as I continued munching away hardly drawing a breath. It was the most delicious thing that had passed my lips for days. Of course she was right. Nine months later my beautiful daughter was born.
My dad always told a story of a woman he knew who craved strawberries when she was pregnant but she never got them. When the baby was born he had a strawberry like patch on his shoulder and he always swore blind that if you did not get what you craved for during pregnancy your baby would have a birth mark resembling it. I could not have imagined my daughter having a huge cucumber stuck on her face or body somewhere, so I was glad the shop sold this essential piece of salvation.
Another Pickled Cucumber Method - Demonstration of cold pickles
It was my first one
The funny thing was that I hated cucumbers. Not since a child had one passed my lips and yet the beautiful taste of this wonderful vegetable was my life saver. So when this recipe came my way it did not take me long to master it. I adjust the recipe according to the amount of fruit on hand.
Dill Cucumber Pickles
17 to 18 pounds of pickling cucumbers (3 to 5 inches) - I prefer to use apple cucumbers
2 gallons of 5 percent brine (3/4 cup pickling salt per gallon of water)
6 cups vinegar (white)
3/4 cup salt
1/4 cup sugar
9 cups water
2 tablespoons whole mixed pickling spices
14 teaspoons whole mustard seed (2 in each quart jar)
7 to 14 cloves garlic (1-2 per quart jar) 21 dill heads (3 per each quart jar)
OR 7 tablespoons dill seed (1 per quart jar)
Put washed and brush scrubbed cucumbers in a non corroding crock or kettle and cover with the brine. (I use a good quality large plastic bucket). Let stand overnight, then drain and pack cucumbers in clean, hot quart jars. Add the mustard seed, dill and garlic to each jar.
Combine vinegar, salt, sugar and water; tie pickling spices loosely in a clean, white cloth and drop into the mixture. Bring to the boil. Take out the spice bag and pour boiling liquid over cucumbers in jars, leaving 1/2 inch headroom. Adjust the lids and process in a Boiling Water Bath (212 F) for 20 minutes. Makes about 7 quarts.
(Putting Food By 1973 p209)
Dill Cucumbers are Great - Other Pickles fail by comparison
There is nothing like a good dill pickle with snitzels or barbecues. Some people eat them straight from the jar. They also go well with cheese on a sandwich or in a salad. Try them to on hamburgers and pizzas. There is really no limit to the way they can be used as an accompaniment to food.
Do you like dill cucumbers?
Another Great Favorite
You really must try this recipe. The beans are superb and they come straight from my garden for this special. eat them with cheese and buns for a ploughman's lunch or have them as a side dish with barbecues or other meats.
Dilled Green Beans
3 pounds whole green beans
11/2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper
6 garlic cloves
6 dill heads or 2 tablespoons dill seeds
31/4 cups vinegar
31/4 cups water
6 tablespoons salt
Wash beans; cut off ends. Pack lengthwise in clean, hot, pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch headroom. Add 1 clove of garlic, 1 head of dill (or 1 teaspoon of dill seed) and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper to each pint jar. In an enamel kettle mix water, vinegar and salt; bring to boil and pour boiling hot over beans. Leave 1/4 inch headroom. Adjust lids and process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes (212* F).
Full flavor develops after about 2 weeks.
(Putting Food By 1973: p210)
Dill Beans - Another way to make them
Dill Beans go with Just About Anything - But my favorite is with bread and chesse
Some people call that combination a ploughman's lunch. It is a wonderful midday snack for a hot day and the dill beans add just the right touch.
Have you ever had dill beans?
These Zucchini Pickles are the Best
Have you heard of pickled cucumbers?
It is only through this dish that you come to realize how closely associated cucumbers and zucchinis really are. These are my stand by pickles to have on cheese for a quick snack, on pizzas, hamburgers, and many Chinese dishes these lovelies willl enhance and add pleasure.
The first thing I do every spring is to get my zucchini bushes going. Usually around 6-10 to get me through the season, as they are great with just about all summer foods. But towards the end of the season, when the big crops are on, pick them while reasonably small for the best results.
2 quarts thin slices of zucchini (small and unpeeled)
2 medium onions peeled and sliced thinly
1/4 cup salt
2 cups vinegar (white)
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon celery seed
2 teaspoons mustard seed
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Combine zucchini and onions. Sprinkle with the salt, cover with cold water and let stand 2 hours. Drain; rinse with fresh water, and drain again.
Combine remaining ingredients in enamel kettle and bring to the boil. Let boil for about 2 minutes. Add zucchini and onions, remove from heat, let stand for 2 hours.
Bring again to boiling and cook for 5 minutes. Ladle hot into sterilised hot pint jars and process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes to ensure a seal. Makes about 4 pints.
(Putting Food By 1973 p213).
Zuccini Recipes in Spanish - But you can get the hang of it OK
Still images from Dreamstime - click here
© 2009 norma-holt