Thursday, June 20, 2013


This is more exciting than it probably has any right to be. Last week I went to dinner at an amazing farm to table Lowcountry style restaurant not far from my apartment. One of the appetizer plates they had was a selection of homemade pickles. In addition to a bread-and-butter pickles they had fennel fronds, okra, and onions and all kinds of different vegetables on the plate. Pickles have always been one of my favorite better for you snacks, and I figured: if this restaurant can do it why can't I? So this week I set out to make my own bread-and-butter pickles at home.

Part of the inspiration was seeing canning sets at Target last week, so I picked one up on a quick trip over there and set about to making my pickles. I found pickling cucumbers at the grocery store, and most of the other ingredients I already had on hand. Since I was making a refrigerator pickle it was pretty easy. I didn't have to waterseal the jars or do any of the other really difficult and time-consuming stuff that goes along with true preservation. Also, since I was making a bread and butter pickle there is far less sodium since sugar is used in the brine far more than salt. I did salt the cucumbers and onions before covering them in the pickle juice, but this was just draw excess moisture and I quickly rinsed off the salty leavings. This means these particular snacks, though a little higher in calories than the traditional pickle, are far better for me in terms of my blood pressure. 

Here is a photo journal of the process:

This is the canning apparatus after a 10 minute sterilization in my oven.

Here is my brine containing apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, mustard seeds, sugar, celery seeds, turmeric, garlic, red pepper flakes, cloves, and a little water so that it didn't get too concentrated as I boiled it.

Here are the salted cucumbers and Vedalia onion. Also my foot is in the picture.

There are the veggies in the jar, and then after I poured the pickle over them. I let them cool and then threw them in the refrigerator to set.

According to the recipe these are best after about a week, but I did open a jar last night to give one a quick try and they already taste fantastic. I can't wait to see how they develop and have 6 pints worth for snacks over the next few weeks.

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