I have been toying with the idea of making my own pickles for a few weeks now. It was all started by the Pickle Bar at the Parkway Deli. They pickle EVERYTHING, and all the different kinds of pickles have their own unique qualities… varying textures and flavors that I had never attributed to pickles before!
In the past, I have gotten good results with tossing random veggies into leftover store-bought pickle brine, but I wanted to refine this practice so I started looking into other options. In researching different recipes on-line, I discovered that you can achieve an almost unlimited number of delicious pickly results by experimenting with the item you pickle, the recipe you use and the method if pickling. ( … yes – Pickly is a word… I just invented it. )
Inspecting the fridge, I saw a quantity of fresh bell peppers left over from the weekend, along with some beautiful organic carrots that I got on sale… All were begging to be brined!
I tried a VERY basic recipe for each veggie – both recipes cobbled together from different ones I found on the Internet (and shaped by personal preference).
The peppers were cut into strips and placed into very clean mason jars with peppercorns, garlic and fresh thyme. I made a mixture of 1 1/2 C water, 1 1/2 C White Vinegar (5% acidity) and 1.75 Tbs kosher salt and brought it to boil (I doubled this to fill two Mason Jars). The boiling brine was poured over the peppers (Be careful it’s HOT) and the jars were sealed and cooled.
The carrots were scrubbed, peeled and cut into uniform sticks. They were placed into their own mason jars with peppercorns, garlic and fresh dill. I made a mixture of 2.5 C Water, 2 C White Vinegar (5% acidity), 1/3 C Sugar and 3 TBSP salt and brought it to boil. The new boiling brine was poured over the carrot sticks and the jars were sealed and cooled.
*Note that I did not can any of these in a traditional sense – no need to put these up for any length of time… I am still experimenting!*
Now…. I have FOUR jars of pickled veggies hanging out in the fridge. I DID learn that the garlic cloves should not be smashed (they turn funny colors), but I have so many more questions that need to be answered!
I plan on testing the peppers in a day or so, and giving the carrots the rest of the week before sampling. Updates to follow… and perhaps more tinkering with ingredients and ratios… For now, I am hoping that the pickle-gods smile upon me, and I get some good results with this first batch!