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Summer Round Up #2: Dill Cucumber and Green Tomato Pickles

We’ve just had a freakishly early first snow here in Queens.  Temperatures are already in the mid 30s, and summer is clearly long gone.  How could I be surprised though?  It certainly has been a record year for natural (or should I say unnatural) occurrences here in New York.  Remember that one week in the summer?  First there was an earthquake, then a hurricane.  In New York.  In the same week.  I definitely started to wonder whether the apocalypse was truly upon us.

For the time being we are all still here, and to commemorate the summer’s events, I give you pickles! The day before the hurricane was supposed pass through New York, I spent the morning in the garden, in a panic, picking all my vegetable plants clean.  The hurricane turned out to be nothing more than a little heavy wind and rain, but now here I was, left with a basket full of cucumbers and little unripe pear tomatoes.  We were never going to be able to eat them all before they spoiled, but they’ve turned out to be delicious as dill pickles that will last us until next summer.

DILL PICKLED VEGETABLES

INGREDIENTS, yields about 2 quarts or 4 pints

2 qts.      tightly packed cut cucumbers or green tomatoes

1 tsp.       coriander seed

1 tsp.       mustard seed

2              garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

1                jalapeno, split lengthwise

1 c.            white distilled vinegar

3 c.            water

1/4 c.         kosher salt

PROCEDURE:

1.  Wash and cut vegetables (cut cucumbers into spears or slices, and tomatoes into halves or quarters) and pack into sterile canning jars.  Divide dill sprigs among the jars.

2.  For the brine, combine coriander, mustard seed, garlic, jalapeno, vinegar, water, and salt in a stainless steel or non-reactive sauce pan.  Bring to a boil.

3.  Pour hot brine over vegetables, evenly dividing the spices, and leaving about 1/2″ headspace.

4.  Seal jars with sterile bands and lids and process in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes. Let jars cool at room temperature for 12 hours.  Check the seals.  Remove the bands, then try pressing on the center of the lids, and lifting the jars by the lids.  If the lids don’t give when you press them and don’t pop off, when you lift them, the jars are sealed.  Properly processed and sealed jars may be stored in a cool dark place for up to 6 months.

5.  Alternatively you can skip the canning process and store pickles in the refrigerator.  They will keep for about 4 weeks.

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