A year and a half ago I wrote this post about Nick’s first attempt at home preserving food. He’d never tried it before and his curiosity in the kitchen took him there. At that time, he had just bought a huge pot with a lid, some special tongs, a funnel with a wide opening and a boxes of Mason jars, and got busy preserving some tomatoes. Well, they turned out very well, and since then he’s kept us and many of our friends stocked with home preserved tomatoes.
Once he’d learned the ropes he also began preserving pickled beets. He used to make them before — shown here — but they weren’t sealed and sterilized by boiling, so had to be kept in the fridge. This meant we would have a big jar of beets taking up room in the fridge, and there was some waste because we just wouldn’t get through them quickly enough. So, he began putting them in smaller jars and putting them in his cauldron the same way he did the tomatoes. Now they can be stored in the cupboard until a jar is opened.
Along the way he had to replace his special tongs with a more sturdy pair, but aside from buying additional jars and new lids (the jars come with lids but they’re also sold separately, because you should use new lids with every batch in order to get a good seal), the only thing we’ve had to buy are the ingredients. A word about pickling salt — make sure you use that as opposed to regular table salt because that has iodine added to it, which will keep you safe from developing gout but will ruin your pickles. Also, vinegar that is labeled “pickling” is necessary because it’s more acidic than the regular stuff.
This all brings us to today and this post about Nick’s newest home canning adventure : Pickled Hot Pepper Rings and Dill and Garlic Cucumbers.
Once we had all the ingredients, the supplies together, and the water boiling, the whole thing was done in under an hour, and we had six glistening jars looking pretty on the counter. Yes, we did keep popping back into the kitchen that evening to look at them. It’s the small things, lol!
Finding the goods in Kensington Market (plus some gourds because they’re so good looking and autumn-esque) …
We haven’t tried the Dill Pickles yet, but the Hot Pepper Rings are really good. We had them cooked into a grilled cheese sandwich the other day and it was divine!
There are many much more qualified pickle makers out there posting their methods and recipes online, so I won’t get into specifics (unless you’d like them), but I will say that home preserving food is a heck of a lot easier than we had imagined it would be. No wonder people have been doing this since the days of old.
Here are a few shots taken of the process …
The experience was reminiscent of autumns of my youth, as I have fond memories of helping my mother make pickles. She and my dad would get bushels of tiny cucumbers and pearl onions in the fall and I was an eager helper at getting them all into jars. I do remember peeling all those tiny onions was a pain though, however have not ruled against pickled onions being featured in a post similar to this one next fall.
How about you … have you ever tried home preserving? Any memories of preserving going on in the kitchens of your childhood?
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