Pickled peppers, and other things

In my house growing up then end of August meant the kitchen would smell of vinegar and there would be giant vats of pickles squeezed into every possible empty space in our all ready too small kitchen. The vinegar smell would last a week at best, but it always meant that by Christmas time we’d have pickles. I think the wait was the worst part, knowing that our supply from last year was dwindling and that we’d have to wait 4 months for the new ones to be ready. It’s been a few years since my mom has pickled (too busy she tells me, but I think it’s mostly due to the fact that there aren’t kids at home to help anymore) and I was getting desperate for something that wasn’t a vlassic – so I decided to do some research and try my own.

After doing a lot of reading, I decided I didn’t want to bother with canning (either water bath or pressure) so I opted to do some refrigerator pickling. I quickly learned that most water bath canning recipes can be used as refrigerator pickling recipes, but it doesn’t go both ways.  In addition to cucumbers, I pickled garlic, tomatillos and jalapenos. I haven’t tried any yet – still waiting for them to get good and pickled, but I’ll be sure to share when I do!

The best thing about refrigerator pickling is that you can pretty much add any type of spices that sound good to you and use any type of vinegar that you like as well as long as you follow the 1 cup vinegar to 1 cup water + 1Tbs. salt measurement. Using a wide mouth jar is usually easiest and the veggies won’t float. Also, if you like a crunchy veggie just pack the vegetables raw, if you like a softer vegetable boil them for a few minutes until you get the level of softness you like.

I’ll include the recipes that I used, but get creative, oh and leave the windows open 🙂

Pickled Tomatillos
(Adapted from Eating Well magazine)

2 1/2 pounds tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed and cut into quarters or eighths
3 cups distilled white vinegar
3 cups water
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
6 habanero or jalapeno chiles, sliced
6 garlic cloves, sliced
3 teaspoons cumin seed

For the brine, combine the vinegar, water, salt and sugar in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until salt dissolves. Let boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Divide the tomatillos, chiles, garlic and cumin seed between 6 pint-sized jars.

Carefully fill the jars with the brine to within 1/2 inch of the top of the rim, covering the vegetables completely. Discard any leftover brine. Place lids on the jars and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving. Pickles will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Pickled Garlic

1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 spicy red chile, sliced thinly
3 sprigs thyme
1 sprig rosemary
2 small dried bay leaves
7-8 whole peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon dried herbes de provence
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
1 cup whole garlic cloves, skins removed

Combine all ingredients except for the garlic in a small saucepan.

Place saucepan over high heat, and bring to a boil. boil for 5 minutes.

Add the garlic cloves to the saucepan, and allow to boil for 30 seconds.

Pour contents of saucepan into a sterilized mason jar, and allow to cool for 45 minutes. When the jar is cool, place the lid on it and store in the fridge.

The garlic will be ready to consume in as little as 2 days, but for the best flavor, allow it to sit in the fridge for about a week before opening. Stored in the fridge, the french pickled garlic will keep for about a year.

recipe adapted from epicurious

Pickled Jalapenos

1 pound fresh jalapeno peppers sliced thinly
2 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt, such as kosher
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons black peppercorns

Place sliced jalapenos and onions  in a glass preserving jar.

In a non-reactive saucepan, bring the other ingredients to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes.

Remove from heat and pour the brine over the peppers. Place the lid on the jar and let cool. Once cool, refrigerate for at least a week before using, if possible. (The longer you wait, the better)

Fridge Pickles (recipe is for 2 pint jars)

6-8 pickling cucumbers (sliced or not – your call)
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup distilled water
1 Tbs. kosher salt
Per each pint jar – 1/2 tsp of whole dried spices such as: coriander, peppercorns, cumin etc.

Add cucumbers to jar

Combine vinegar, water, salt and spices in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil

Pour your just boiled brine over cucmbers

Clean the edges with a towel and screw on the lid

Hide in the fridge for up to three weeks (longer the better)