Pickles Part 2

In the first part of of my pickling series I wrote about the basics of pickling. This was meant as a stepping stone for you. It is important to get comfortable with the basics before you start stepping outside of your comfort zone.

One of the most important parts of cooking is to understand that there are many little details that all add up to creating a great recipe or dish. Balance of flavors is one and texture is another. The look of the dish is almost as import as the flavor profile and this step should not be overlooked.

In this blog I am going to share a few different recipes to help you with getting started. The brine will always stay the same but and the changes will occur in the actual pickling jars.

  • Basic Pickling Brine
  • Apple cider vinegar (1 part)
  • water (2 parts)
  • Kosher pickling salt (enough so it is almost too salty for your palette)
  • Sugar (to balance the salt levels and add another layer to your pickles)
  • Pickling spice (a few tablespoons for every 2 liters of brine)
  • Whole Lemon
  • garlic (a few cloves for every few liters)
  • Fresh thyme sprigs
  • fresh rosemary sprigs

Bring this brine to a simmer and allow your ingredients to steep like a tea. While you are preparing the brine you can now begin to process your pickles.

It is best to make very large batches of this and have it ready for future use. If you decide to do pickling down the road then all you will have to do is simply bring the brine to a simmer.

Pickled Turnips

A perfect item for a chicken sandwich or burger. These can be found in Shawarma’s and can really lift up any sandwich with a unique bite and flavor.

  • Basic brine
  • slice the radish with as uniformly as possible with either a knife of mandolin
  • In the pickle jars prior to pouring the liquid on add a few slices of raw beets and whole garlic cloves
  • The beets will bleed into the turnips and the garlic will give them a sharper flavor.once the liquid is covering the pickles and the lid is on, give them a little shake to help the beets bleed into the whole jar. You can even store them upside down to help this process but make sure you have the lid sealed tightly.
  • These pickles will be ready after about 4 days or when they have turned a beautiful rose color

Pickled Fennel

a great addition to almost anything with fish such as fish and chips, salmon steaks, smoke salmon on a bagel & cream cheese or even an accompaniment to a cheese platter.

  • Basic brine
  • a few extra teaspoons of sugar in each jar
  • a few sprigs of fresh dill in each jar
  • a sprinkle of mustard seeds in each jar
  • shaved fennel
  • pour hot brine until jars are full
  • seal jars and put in fridge

These pickles will be ready after 2 days

pickled eggplant

a nice addition to a cold cut sandwich, stir-fry, or even a finishing element to a soup or salad.

  • Basic brine
  • thinly sliced Japanese eggplant
  • a few ounces of good quality soy sauce to each jar
  • a few ounces of sesame oil to each jar
  • a few tablespoons of sugar to each jar
  • a drizzle of fish sauce to each jar (optional)
  • pour the simmering brine over top
  • seal
  • store in fridge

These pickles will be ready after about 2-3 days

Pickled Cherries

a nice addition to a cocktail over the holidays, in a fresh salad, or morning pancakes or crepes

  • Basic brine
  • 1 cup red wine in each jar
  • 1 ounce triple sec or grande marnier to each jar
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar to each jar
  • 1 slice of lemon
  • 1 slice of orange
  • pour hot brine over top
  • seal and store in the fridge

a little tip to the cherries is to leave the pits in so they keep a nice shape prior to using them. If not then they tend to get small and wrinkly and are not as crunchy or ascetically appealing.

These pickles will be ready after 1 week

Nana’s Pickles

These pickles stay crunchy as long as you keep them nice and cool. They are amazing on burgers, diced up into a tartar sauce, on a charcuterie platter, or simply a late night snack when passing the kitchen.

For this last recipe, I am going to share with you a family cucumber pickle recipe that holds a close place to mine and my families hearts. These are what started the whole obsession with both food and pickles with me way back when I was a little boy.

There is only one other pickle that I have been able to buy at a grocery store that come slightly close to these pickles and they are Claussen Kosher Dill Pickles. They are kept in the chilled section of your grocery store.

For this recipe you will not require a brine at all.

I will give you a recipe based on a 1 liter pickling jar.

  • 1 tablespoon of pickling spice and put it in the jar
  • 1 teaspoon dill seeds
  • 1 bunch fresh dill
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • fill will pickling cucumbers
  • repeat the same process as with the pickling spice, garlic, dill seeds, and fresh dill at the top of the jar.
  • cover with only water and seal the lids tightly
  • store in a very cool area if not in the refrigerator

These pickles will take somewhere between 1 and 2 weeks to be ready

One of the things that a professional cook does that makes their lives easier is to prepare everything at once. The fastest way to achieve this by doing all of the same steps at one time and then moving on and doing all of the next steps and so on.

Here is how I would go about doing multiple varieties of pickles at once. set out all of your jars

  • get a large batch of brine on the go.
  • prepare all of your vegetables, that is washing cutting etc.
  • fill your jars with the ingredients while the brine is heating up and make each one the way you want to.
  • clean up your mess and have the jars sitting beside the brine ready to go.
  • when the brine is finally simmering, all you have to do is simply use a ladle or small sauce pot to pour the hot brine over each one.
  • cover your jars and you are basically done.
  • One little note to watch out for is that if your knife skills are not fast and the brine begins to simmer prior to you finishing, make sure to check it before you use it. The more it reduces when simmering, the more intense the brine becomes such as too much salt or too acidic.
  • If you find that it has gotten too salty or too acidic then simply add a little more water until it is where you want it

Feel free to post questions or comments at any time for me to help you through your pickling adventures. If you want help with anything related to pickling I am always here for you.

I will be posting videos in the near future to help you, so stay tuned

HMMMM PICKLES!!!

Like I said the Autumn season is fast approaching and a lot of us are harvesting our fruits and veggies from our gardens. For me the process starts in the spring when I am gathering seeds to plant in my garden. Most of my planning revolves around the things that I want to pickle in 5 to 6 months so I can have snack foods and condiments that will last throughout the winter months.

Like most things that we cook, they take time and practice to perfect whatever it is you are preparing. I have made many mistakes with this process so hopefully with my knowledge I am going to share with you, you can skip the headaches and get right to the fun parts. I have people come into either my professional kitchen or my home kitchen and they tease me about all of the different pickles I have laying around. I get teased when shopping and a very common phrase that I will say is “I’m going to pickle that.” It goes on and on until they begin to taste dishes that I have created with my pickles layered in the mix somewhere. The lift that they can give any dish is quite incredible and once I share this with you I am certain you will be following my footsteps and trying this on everything you can get your hands on.

I could get into many different methods of pickling but I do not want to bore you with a long drawn out blog with this. This process is so simple that it will surprise you of how little effort it takes in order to have perfect pickles every time.

As I said before, I am going to teach you how to cook without recipes so I am going to give you guidelines to follow and let you choose your own adventure.

Let’s start with the brine. The ingredients you decide to pickle will be sitting in this solution until you decide to use them and the flavor you put in this will be gently absorbed into them. The possibilities are endless so once you have a base I encourage you to run with experiments.

  • RECIPE
  • 1 part vinegar, white wine/red wine/apple cider for example
  • Pickling salt
  • sugar
  • 2 parts water
  • aromatics, garlic/ginger/thyme/rosemary/dill/lemon/limes/oranges
  • something to pickle

Method:

  • add everything except what you are pickling into a pot and bring to a boil
  • prepare what you are pickling and place into the vessels you will be pickling into, most likely jars
  • pour the boiling brine until the soon to be pickles are covered
  • put lids on so that they are NOT tight
  • place in fridge until cool and then firmly tighten the lids

Okay I know that seemed vague but I will settle your questions here in short form.

First off it is important to balance the flavor to your liking.

Choose a vinegar that has flavor such as apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar and avoid using plain white vinegar. Honestly I only use plain white vinegar for cleaning.

Take your vinegar and pour it into your pot

A good starting point for water is add double the amount of water to vinegar. It should be tart or acidic. If it is still very unpleasant than add more water.

now simply add your aromatics and spices such as pickling spice, garlic, lemon, lime, orange and herbs.

depending on what your final result is expected to be will determine how much salt and sugar to add. If you want sweet pickles add more sugar and less salt and vice versa. Remember it is always best to add less and bring it up to where you want as apposed to adding to much and having to start over

There are many different variations and methods to pickling but what I am giving you here is a starting point to work from.

Think of this like the base to a pyramid. The larger the base (your knowledge) the higher the peak will be.

The reason I have chosen to share this particular method with you is because I like my pickles to have a bite or in other words to be crunchy. Soft mushy vegetables are something that I am not a fan. By doing your pickling this way will allow you to not over cook the ingredients.

This is a stepping stone and I will get into some more advanced techniques in a future blog so stay tuned and happy pickling