I have so many recipes saved up that I would love to show everyone. Plus I have been cooking so many more totally new recipes lately, part of that is because of my 101 in 1001 List, and partly because I felt like I was getting in a food rut, cooking the same 5 meals every week. I can't promise that I will post every week, or that every recipe will be this mind blowing, epiphany-creating creation, but I'm hoping that you'll like them and use them at home.
Are you ready for our first go at this?..... Our very first FOOD FRIDAY recipe is going to be.... Dun Dun Dun!
Now you might be thinking, "Please lady, I buy my jar of Vlasic's a the store every month, and I'm perfectly happy doing that." And that's fine! Eat those Vlasic's up, they're delicious, I buy them too. But you know what else is delicious? Pickled beets, and pickled cauliflower, and pickled garlic, and pickled EVERYTHING, or at least I think so. A few months ago, I had never made them at all, but now I make them pretty frequently and add them into so many things.
One batch I made recently, I made three different types of pickled veggies. I did garlic, onions and beets, three things that are great on their own and great pickled too. I didn't combine them (though that's not a bad idea!), instead I kept them in individual jars. I want to be clear though, on the type of pickles I'm talking about making. Pickling is a natural way to preserve stuff, but it won't last forever. You can get a couple of weeks out of each jar that you make, as long as it stays in the fridge. If you want them to last much, much, much longer, you can go ahead and can your pickles. While canning is a wonderful idea, I don't have the know-how, time or energy to do it.... so I make quick, refrigerator pickles that stay just lovely for about 3 weeks.
Anyway, let's get to the recipes. I'm going to give you the basic recipe that I used, which can be used to pickle pretty much anything. In my pictures I pickled garlic, onions and beets, but use what you like to eat.
What you need:
1. Air Tight Jars (I used these jars from IKEA because they were perfect sized and cheap!)
2. Small Pot
3. 2 cups of vinegar (you can use pretty much any kind, except balsamic... I used plain ol' white vinegar)
4. 2 tablespoons of white sugar
5. 3 tablespoons of whole spices (again you can use whatever you like, but make sure they are in their whole form, not ground or dried. You want three tablespoons of spices total, but the combination is up to you. I used a tablespoon of whole peppercorns, a tablespoon of coriander seeds and a tablespoon of mustard seeds. But you could add fresh dill, cloves, anise, really anything you like the flavor of. In my pickled garlic jars, I added two habanero peppers to make them a bit spicier)
6. About 1 - 1 1/2 cups of whatever food you are pickling (for this batch I got garlic cloves and peeled them all myself, I also used 3 beets that were on the smaller side for the beet jar, and I used these awesome red pearl onions for the pickled onions I was making)
How to do it:
First you will need to bring a big pot of water to a boil, to sanitize your jars. Get the water to a rolling boil, and then put the jars, their lids (if they aren't attached) and any other jar components in the water. This makes sure that other bacteria isn't added to your pickled food, which would spoil it faster, and they wouldn't last as long. After they have boiled for about 3 minutes or so, take them out and let them dry and cool down on a clean towel.
The next step is to prep whatever you are going to pickle. Because we are doing quick pickles, you have to get the food soft enough to absorb some of the brine, because it won't be sitting in it for months. This typically means that it needs to be par-boiled until it is soft before you put it in the jars. For the beets that I made, I had to boil them the longest of anything, and it took about 25 minutes for them to get soft. You want them to still be pretty firm, but just somewhat softened on the outside. For the garlic that I pickled, I boiled them for about 4 minutes. The onions are thin enough on their own, that they didn't need to be boiled ahead of time, but they do need to be peeled. Peeling the garlic and onions was the worst, most time consuming part of the whole thing! It isn't difficult, just tedious, but it's a necessary evil. Next time I do onions, I'm just going to slice large red onions, so I only have to peel 1 or 2 of them instead of like 50 of them.
I kept the onions whole, because they were so small, same for the garlic. For the beets though, I sliced them up, so that the brine could get in there more easily. "Softer" foods you could leave in bigger pieces, but "harder" foods, should be cut into bite sized pieces.
Once your food is prepped and ready, add it to the jars. Get as much in there as you can. When you pour the liquid over it later, it will fill all of the nooks and crannies around the food that is in there. I wish I would have put some more onions in my onion jar, but I only bought one package of them and I was making these at midnight and didn't want to wait until the next morning for me to go get more.
After you get the stuff in the jars, it is time to add the brine.
In your small pot or saucepan, add in the vinegar, spices and sugar. Bring to a rapid boil, when the sugar is dissolved completely, remove it from the heat. Pour the hot mixture over the food that is prepped and in the jars. Make sure the whole spice pieces get in there as well as the liquid. They help flavor your pickles as they sit.
Once the jar is totally full, seal it up and let it sit. Don't put it in the fridge until it has cooled down to room temperature, because the shock of hot/cold can sometimes cause the glass of the jars to crack.
Now the hard part.... WAITING!You have to wait about a week for them to pickle, but then you can eat all you want. I honestly think I ate a whole jar of beets in about 2 days, they were SO good. We added the pickled garlic to salads, sandwiches, hamburgers, and added the pickled onions to tacos, salads, burgers, and so many other things. They came out delicious and are so easy and inexpensive to make. I can't wait for this fall to try some other things like carrots and cauliflower.
And there you have it! Easy, quick, refrigerator pickles. Let me know how yours come out, I would LOVE to hear about it. What spices did you try? What did you pickle? Give me the details people!