ANDIE'S ABSOLUTELY ADDICTING BREAD & BUTTER PICKLES
Here’s the thing about pickles: if you’ve never made them, they may seem to be an overwhelming (and possibly mysterious) project. Our listener Andie – who has offered some really valuable help to the show several times in the past – has sent this recipe which provides an opportunity to “try your hand” at pickle-making without much effort. Andie suggests that making a small batch, and storing the pickles in the refrigerator (without “processing”) can get you started painlessly. Our Producer Lisa says that the result is so delicious that you won’t be able to keep these pickles on hand - even for the 3-4 months that they’ll safely keep!
The basics are slicing the cucumbers and other veggies, tossing them with salt and crushed ice and allowing them to stand for awhile to become extra-crisp. You then make a simple, sweet and spicy syrup, (Andie does this in the microwave), rinse your crisp veggies, put them in a jar, pour the syrup over, and keep them in the refrigerator until they’re “pickled” – turning the jar upside down each day. In about 2 weeks you’ll have pickles – now how much easier could that be? If you are inspired, I hope you’ll try these – and enjoy!
MAKES ABOUT 1 QUART.
FOR THE PICKLES:
4 to 6 pickling cucumbers (cucumbers should be not much larger than 1 inch in diameter, and
4 to 5 inches long)
1/2 to 3/4 of one, medium size onion.
1/2 red bell pepper.
1/4 cup, pickling salt (coarse kosher salt)
2 quarts, cracked ice
water to cover
2 tablespoons, mustard seed.
1 heaping teaspoon, celery seed
FOR THE SYRUP:
1 1/2 cups, vinegar
*NOTE: Use cider or distilled white vinegar, do not use wine vinegar.
1 1/2 cups, sugar
2 heaping teaspoons, pickling spice mix.
PREPARE THE PICKLES:
Carefully wash the cucumbers and bell pepper. Slice all vegetables very thin, using a food processor with a narrow slicing blade, or by hand, or using a V-slicer or mandoline. Toss the sliced vegetables together in a glass or crockery bowl large enough to hold twice the volume of the vegetables. Sprinkle the salt over the vegetables, add the cracked ice, toss again to blend all ingredients and add water to just barely cover the vegetables. Place a heavy plate on top of the vegetables to keep them below the top of the liquid.
*Set aside for 4 hours.
PREPARE THE SYRUP:
Place the vinegar, sugar and pickling spices in a 4-quart Pyrex or other microwavable container (the large Pyrex measure works very well)
Microwave on high for 15 to 20 minutes. [If a microwave is not available, simmer the syrup in a narrow saucepan on the stovetop, over low heat, for the same length of time.] Allow the syrup to cool. Strain the syrup and discard the spices.
ASSEMBLE THE PICKLES:
Place one wide-mouth quart canning jar (or two wide-mouth pint jars) with their lids in a pot of water to cover, place over medium heat and bring the water to a simmer (180 degrees). Remove the pot from the heat and allow jar(s) and lid(s) to remain in the hot water until needed.
*After the 4 hours are up (crisping the vegetables as described above) pour the vegetables into a large colander and rinse well. The cucumber slices should taste only slightly salty. Return the rinsed vegetables to the bowl, add the mustard seeds and celery seeds and toss well until evenly distributed. Set aside.
Return the syrup to the microwave, microwave on high for 8 to 10 minutes [or heat the syrup on the stovetop] until an instant read thermometer shows the temperature of the syrup is 190 to 200 degrees.
Place the vegetables into one wide-mouth quart jar, or in 2 wide-mouth pint
jars that have been scalded as described above. Pour the syrup over the vegetables, place the lids on the jar or jars, tighten well and place in the refrigerator overnight.
The following day, turn the jar upside down - then continue to turn every day for 2 weeks. (This is to insure that the pickles are evenly flavored)
After 2 weeks open the jar and taste. The pickles should be ready to eat.
Pickles will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 months.
( RG2154 )
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