I'd love to be a canning, preserving, and pickling kind of gal. I love the self-sufficiency of it, or the idea of it. I've read books and websites and even jarred chutney with a friend one time but still don't have confidence in myself. The possibility of something going wrong and canning something that isn't safe to eat is definitely intimidating!
But when we got pickling cucumbers in our Chow Locally share last week I decided to give pickles a go. Pickles seem straight forward enough and as I started reading recipes there were several that did not include boiling water baths. (Because the vinegar content is so high I think there's less risk of bacteria = less scary.)
What I wanted was a hot garlic dill pickle so I used a recipe that was included with our share and modified it by adding onions, extra garlic, jalapeno, and fresh dill. I was a bit worried that I went overboard on the extras and that I might create an atomically hot pickle...
I filled the jars with the sliced cukes, onion, garlic, dill, and jalapeno and then poured the hot vinegar-water-spice mix to fill up the jars (leaving just a little bit of room at the top). Then I closed the jars and let them sit on the counter to cool. After about 20 minutes I heard the pop! of the lids sealing - it was very exciting. Then I put the jars in the fridge and let them sit for two days before trying them...
...and they are awesome!! They are not atomically hot but have a nice kick to them. They actually taste like pickles. I'm feeling pretty proud and like I could probably survive Laura Ingalls Wilder style out on the range with my pickling skills. OK, maybe not. But I do feel like I might want to try some more canning/preserving in the future. And I definitely want to make more pickles!
Quick Pickles with a Kick
4 pickling cucumbers, sliced
Add water, vinegar, sugar, salt, coriander, mustard, and red pepper to a small saucepan. Cook for about four minutes or until sugar is dissolved.
Divide the onion, jalapeno, dill, garlic, and sliced cucumbers between two clean glass jars, layering ingredients as you go. (I used two small glass jars, 12 oz. size I think)
Pour hot liquid over cucumbers. Cucumbers should be completely covered with liquid.
Put the lids on the jars and twist closed. Let cool to room temperature (listen for the pop!) and then place in refrigerator.
Let sit 24 hours or longer. Bask in your self-sufficiency as you enjoy your homemade pickles.