Gloucester Daily Times
Almost everyone has had a pickle, but not nearly as many try to make them.
For some, the task seems daunting, but Jane Ward helps demystify the pickling process and revels how easy it really is.
Not only is pickling fun, it is a great outlet for experimenting with spices, and a convenient technique to learn to prevent perishable foods from spoiling and making them last. “It is a great way to keep a bit of summer all the way through the winter,” says Ward.
In just a few easy steps you can pickle anything from vegetables, like beets and cucumbers, to fruits such as strawberries and lemons. The best part about pickling is the endless amounts of options.
Pickling allows you to customize your own recipe and discover which combinations you like best. For example, Ward suggests that if you like sweeter pickles you can add a stick of cinnamon, or some sugar to your jar. For hotter pickles, you can use red pepper flakes or dried chilies to really spice up the brine.
There is no reason to not try and make your own jar of pickles; it is easy, fun, and fast. They also are perfect and personal gifts to offer your friends and family. Even though jars that are sealed in a hot water bath can last up to a year on the shelf, but Jane insists that after your friends and family get a taste of your canned creation, that they won’t be lasting long at all.
You can pickle any fruit or vegetable you prefer: strawberries, lemons, cucumbers, beans, or beets.
Suggested spices are: cinnamon, allspice, pickling spice, bay leaves, peppercorns, garlic, mustard seed, coriander seed, juniper berry, and crushed red pepper
There are two different kinds of brining, vinegar and salt. In vinegar brining you can use any vinegar you desire, like wine or cider vinegar. In salt brining you should use kosher salt.
1. Bring your desired brine to a boil.
2. Fill the jar with your desired fruit or vegetable.
3. Add the desired spices and seasonings.
4. While it is still hot, fill the jar with the brine leaving about 1/4 of an inch of space at the top.
5. Place your finished jars in a hot water bath. In the bath, the covers will expand and create an airtight chamber inside the jar. To make refrigerator pickles let the jars cool then place in your refrigerator and contents will be ready to eat in a few hours.
Your pickles will last 6 months to a year.
Recipe curtesy of Jane Ward, 2012.