Canning. It’s not just for Grandmas anymore. Canning is a wonderful way to keep the pleasures of a vegetable garden going all fall and winter. Growing up I had so many memories of my grandmother canning during the summertime when my brother and I would visit her. Sunday dinners at my grandmother’s usually included her homemade pickles and they were so delicious. Why grandmothers are such great cooks is one of the great mysteries of the universe. Is it the unusual and curious kitchen tools? Years of experience? Or just that grandmas seem to know that in the kitchen you keep it seasonal,simple,and from scratch.
This fall we have been developing seasonal recipes that focus on flavor. Many of the recipes on our recipe box page are gluten free so if you have gluten intolerance or celiac disease we encourage you to check them out. This winter our first cookbook hits retailers everywhere, a flavor packed trip around the world all gluten free.
Although my grandmother never had pets my little sous chef can always be found underfoot when preparing one her many fantastic recipes. Although she never canned anything too exotic, like tomatillos or exotic peppers, I say the sky is the limit. Pickle away!
Although you can pickle a wide variety of vegetables, cucumber pickles are usually a crowd pleaser. Making them yourself is not difficult, and you can prepare them organically with plenty of fresh herbs and no gross food preservatives you would rather not eat. This recipe is fun and not difficult. Try it and you will find yourself never buying pickles again. Canning: It’s not just for grandmas anymore.
Half Sour Pickles
Crisp vegetables, like cucumbers, carrots, green beans, cauliflower, tomatillos
Seasoning spices of your choice (coriander seeds, pickling spices, dill seeds, celery seeds, mustard seeds, peppercorn)
Fresh herbs (garlic cloves, fresh dill, fresh rosemary)
Brine (for 4-5 quarts of pickles)
8 cups water
4 cups vinegar
1/2 cup pickling salt
Prepare wide-mouth jars and lids by washing thoroughly and placing in simmering water until ready to fill.
Combine brine ingredients and bring to boil.
Place half of the fresh herbs and seasoning spices in bottom of jars. Prepare vegetables and pack in jars. Pour brine over vegetables, filling to within 1/2 inch of rim.
Clean rims carefully. Remove lids from simmering water and place on jars, then secure with rings, hind tightening.
Cool and store in refrigerator for up to a month.
Note: Use the following spice combinations:
- 2 cloves of garlic, 2 sprigs of fresh dill (or 1/2 tsp. dill seed), 1 teaspoon celery seed
- 1 cloves garlic, 1 sprig fresh dill (or 1/4 tsp. dill seed), 1 tsp. mustard seed, 1/4 tsp. peppercorns
- 2 cloves garlic, 1 sprig fresh dill (or 1/4 tsp. dill seed), 1 tsp. celery seed
- Fresh dill or 1/4 tsp. dill seed, 1 Tbsp. pickling spice, 1/4 tsp. peppercorns