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In a Pickle: Curried Pickled Zucchini

Judging from the number of emails to hit my inbox in recent days, we have now officially hit that phase of summer during which zucchini growth achieves warp speed. Mild-mannered backyard gardens turn into round-the-clock squash production facilities and if you're not careful to look under every leaf, you'll wake up one morning to a zucchini the size of a baseball bat. More

In a Pickle: Sweet and Spicy Pickle Relish

I think it's time to shake off the lowbrow reputation that pickle relish has been saddled with for so long and bring out into the limelight. Since it's essentially a chopped pickle, you can use it anywhere that a bit of sliced or minced dill pickle might go. Spread it on a sandwich, stir it into tuna or chicken salad, or even put it out on a cheese tray along with a dish of tapenade. More

In a Pickle: Spicy Dilly Beans

Dilly beans are green beans, suspended in a vinegar-based pickling liquid and seasoned simply with garlic, black peppercorns and either dill heads or seeds. Because beans are sturdy little suckers, they retain their crispness through the boiling water bath process. Even months after canning, dilly beans will be crunchy and intensely flavorful. More

In a Pickle: Bread and Butter Pickles

Each summer, I make a couple small batches of classic bread and butter pickles to eat with tuna salad or tucked into a post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich (don't knock it, it's a delicious combination). I've been told that bread and butter pickles got their name from the role they played during lean times. Tucked between buttered slices of brown bread, even the smallest sandwich had the ability to satisfy your taste buds and leave you feeling as if you'd had a filling meal. More

In a Pickle: Planning for Pickle Season

If you're planning tackling a few pickling recipes this summer for your pantry shelves, it's a good idea to do a little bit of planning now. A little strategic thinking means that you won't find yourself up to your elbows in hot pepper and then realize you're out of jars, lids or the necessary vinegar. More

In a Pickle: Pickled Garlic Scapes

A couple years ago, I finally took the plunge and spiraled a handful of scapes into a jar, added a few spices and vinegar and found that they made a most delightful pickle. In its finished form, it ends up tasting like a wonderfully garlicky dilly bean. If you like the combination of garlic and a snappy pickle, you'll be quite pleased with this one. More

In a Pickle: Pickled Spring Peas

My issue with fresh peas is that they're both labor intensive and, if you're not growing them yourself, quite pricy. And their season is so fleeting. As a preserver, I'm always looking for ways to extend short seasons and make precious ingredients stretch, so I turned my pickling ray on spring peas. More

In a Pickle: Pickled Fiddlehead Ferns

Much like the ramps I wrote about last week, fiddlehead ferns are a fleeting spring delicacy. Found primarily in the wild, they are the fresh growth that appears at the top of a fern frond (only some varieties can be eaten. Make sure to check a reputable foraging guide before picking your own). If left alone, they develop into new leaves for the plant. However, careful foragers can trim a few off each plant during the early stages of their growth for a bright, fresh vegetable. More

In a Pickle: Quick Pickled Ramps

There are few vegetables whose arrival is more heralded than the ramp. Part of its appeal is in its timing. It appears right at that moment when the overwintered potatoes, apples and squash have become soft, spotty and entirely unappetizing. Ramps are green, fresh and taste like a randy cross between green onions and garlic. Here's how to pickle them so you can preserve their flavor much longer. More

In a Pickle: Marinated Artichoke Hearts

I like using frozen artichoke hearts in pasta and will frequently buy them from the grocery store, marinated in flavorful oil. When presented with artichoke dip, I will not say no. And in the springtime, I do love ordering them lightly fried and dressed with lemon juice from an Italian spot in my neighborhood. But despite this lifelong appreciation for the artichoke, it wasn't until recently that I tried to trim a batch and marinate them myself. And like so many things, doing it myself increased my enjoyment many times over. More

In a Pickle: Red Beet Eggs

The finished eggs are bright in both color and flavor. Pickling firms the whites of the hard boiled egg, transforming them into something tangy and substantial. The finished eggs are good eaten on their own, or chopped into a vibrantly colored salad and make a terrific addition to any springtime table. More

In a Pickle: Quick Pickled Sugarsnap Peas

Though I like them raw or gently sautéed until tender-crisp, one of my favorite things to do to sugarsnaps is to quickly pickle them in a gingery, barely sweetened brine. I make them as a refrigerator pickle so that they keep their crunch and eat them with open-face sandwiches or chopped and tossed with grain salads. More

In a Pickle: Pickled Prunes

Prunes get a bad rap. Most people think you need an AARP member card to buy them. Thing is, they start out life as plums and are really no different than a raisin is to a grape. Manufacturers like Sunsweet and Sun Maid have been playing this up, rebranding their prune packaging with words "dried plums." Whether you buy into this new branding or not, I firmly believe it's time to start rethinking the prune. One way to start re-imagining the prune is to pickle it. More

In a Pickle: Spicy Dilly Beans

Carmenrose, if you want to make these as a refrigerator pickle, you need to briefly blanch the beans before combining them with the pickling liquid. They need a little heat to aid in softening and vinegar absorption.

Dinner Tonight: One Pot Kale and Quinoa Pilaf (via Food52)

Just wanted to make note that though this recipe was published on Food52, the original poster is Deena Pritchep. She's a food writer and NPR contributor based in Portland, OR. Her terrific blog can be found here: http://mostlyfoodstuffs.blogspot.com/.

In a Pickle: Quick Pickled Sugarsnap Peas

@John Wozniak, to be perfectly honest, I bare retouched those photos at all. There's something about that yellow colander that makes greens look super vivid.

In a Pickle: Pickled Asparagus

@erinlovestoeat, pickled asparagus retains that essential, grassy flavor of asparagus, but also has a puckery kick. You can't roast, but you can toss it in grain salads, serve it with cheese, eat alongside a sandwich or use it as @cheeseheadhero suggests. In a bloody mary.

In a Pickle: Dilly Pickled Carrots

I'm so happy to hear you like those pickled red onions!

A Beginner's Guide to Canning

@erinlovestoeat - I actually prefer using the canning pot as a means to heating up jars in preparation for canning. That's the process detailed in the post above. No mention at all about dishwashers.

A Beginner's Guide to Canning

@KHICKS - For high acid foods, all you need is a stock pot. No need to get a pressure canner in the beginning of your canning journey. It sounds like your gumbo pot will work just fine.

@SonyaLynne - Thanks for your kind words. I'm delighted to hear you find my blog useful!

A Beginner's Guide to Canning

Hey folks! Here are the answers to the questions you've all asked so far.

@mrw1972 - You remove the rings, because it allows you to know sooner rather than later if something is wrong with your product. If you’ve got spoilage occurring in a jar, storing it without the ring means that any growth taking place in the jar will dislodge the lid and alert you to the problem.

@hungry for the next meal - The reason you simmer the lids is not to sterilize them but instead to soften the sealing compound. If you don't get the compound soft, you risk a poor or failed seal.

@kewarken - My apologies for the mistake. I was simply repeating what was taught me by a master food preserver.

@J.W. Hamner - If you don't have a recipe for a particular product, it's best to do a search and see if you can't find one that's already been tested for boiling water bath canning. Not every pickle is safe for pickling.

@CEBakes - The reason Clear Jel is recommended over cornstarch is that cornstarch isn't stable in the face of higher temperatures. Clear Jel provides a stable consistency.

@ex_snob - You screw the bands on until they're just secure. They shouldn't be super tight, so that there's enough space for the air to escape during cooling. The best way to do this is to just use your fingertips to tighten the rings, not the force of your whole hand. It's called "fingertip tight."

The jars should be entirely submerged in the water, with at least an inch of water covering them. Make sure to use a deep enough pot so that you still have about an inch of space so that the water doesn't boil over.

In a Pickle: Salt Preserved Meyer Lemons

@Ciaoileana - Thank you!

@fishsaucey - These would be great in that salted lemonade.

@J.W. Hamner - I like chopping them up and adding them to grain salads. Mash a bit of the flesh into a vinaigrette. They're quite versatile.

@jfb1138 - Their rind is a little thinner and then end up being slightly less puckery. I prefer them to standard preserved lemons.

@filthyS - That's a vintage bailing wire Ball jar. You can typically find them on eBay or in antique stores.

@savillel - Sounds delicious!

In a Pickle: Pickled Kumquats

You're welcome to try it! I can't guarantee the results though, since it essentially becomes a new recipe when you change it like that.

In a Pickle: Pickled Oyster Mushrooms

Yep, you certainly can!

In a Pickle: Marinated Carrots with Mint

@lastbatch, this isn't a recipe designed for canning. It's simply a quick pickle.

In a Pickle: Pickled Cranberries

Happy_Baker, do you have Penzeys in your area? They're always a good source for spices. Even if you can't find the juniper berries, don't let that deter you from making this pickle, just sub in a bit of fresh ginger for a slightly different flavor profile.

In a Pickle: Pickled Garlic

Syannelevovna, I would imagine that some of what you're seeing is absorption. If the seal truly is tight, there's no other place for the brine to go. However, I've not noticed anything similar in any of the batches of pickles I've made, so I'm a little puzzled.

In a Pickle: Pickled Garlic

Thsu, you could certainly make this one as a refrigerator pickle.

Kriklaf, the ratio of vinegar to water in this recipe is universally accepted as plenty acidic for pickling low-acid food. It's the same proportion that is used for pickled asparagus and asparagus is far lower in acid than garlic is. So while this recipe hasn't been reviewed by a county extension office, it is well within the commonly accepted pickling practice.

In a Pickle: Pickled Hot Pepper Rings

As long as it is a 5% acidity vinegar, you can use whatever you want. Essentially, distilled white, apple cider and red wine vinegars are interchangeable (though apple cider does have a bit of sweetness that the others don't). Pickling with balsamic isn't advised because it has such a strong flavor.

In a Pickle: Pickled Hot Pepper Rings

Adam, they would be amazing on pizza. That's just the sort of application where they shine.

Thsu, this is essentially how you make those pickled banana peppers. I've seen fresh banana peppers at Latino shops and farmers' markets. Ask around, I'm sure you'll find some.

In a Pickle: How to Make Garlic Dill Pickles

Pickling salt is best because it dissolves better and doesn't have any anti-clumping additives (which many varieties of kosher have), but you can sub if you can't find the pickling kind.

Too much clove!

The USDA says that it isn't safe to can pumpkin butter, even in a pressure canner. Here's a link to a PDF that explains why.


Gluten-Free Tuesday: Delicata Squash

There were two delicata squash in my CSA box this week. Now I can't wait to roast them!

Serious Eats...in Philadephia?

Also consider checking out gophila.com, which is the official tourism website for Philadelphia! One of the most useful things about our site (yes, I work for the website) is the itinerary section. There are lots of weekend-long visits that include restaurant suggestions for every meal along the way.


Canning your own food is really fun and satisfying. I find that jams and fruit butters are the easiest, with pickling running a close second. Having all the special equipment is nice, but not necessary if you're canning on a small scale.

I've recently started a new blog, http://www.foodinjars.com, where I posting canning tutorials and writing about the different projects I do. Stop by if you'd like!

An Open Challenge to Food Blogs on 'Major League Eating: The Game'

Hey guys, Marisa from Slashfood here. You can count me in. I'll see if I can't get the rest of the SF team ramped up and ready to go!

Cook the Book: Truffled Egg Toast

I was just reading this essay this morning (I'm loving the entire book). It prompted me to leap up and make some really gently scrambled eggs. I ate them with a very ripe sliced tomato instead of truffled toast. So good.

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