Monday, August 13, 2012
Time to Preserve - Pickles and Onions
It's that time of year, again. Time to make the house fragrant with vinegar and herbs and spices. I made 7 quarts of Garlic Dills and 13 pints of Sweet Spears today; plus I started another two crock pots full of onions to carmelize.
The Sweet Spears were made with a recipe from my dear departed mom-in-law and here it is:
Sweet Spears - For 7 Pints of Pickles
4# cucumbers 3-4 inches in length
Boiling Water to cover
4 c. White Sugar
3 3/4 c White Vinegar
3 T. Pickling Salt
4 t. Celery Seed
4 t. Turmeric
1 1/2 t. Mustard Seed
Wash, pick over and quarter lengthwise all of the cucumbers. Place in a large stainless steel or glass or plastic bowl and pour boiling water over to cover. Let stand 2 hours. Drain and fill jars with spears, laying the jar on its side to arrange the cucumbers vertically. Fill in the top with smaller spears or cut pieces. Meanwhile, heat the remaining ingredients together in a large stock pot to boiling. Fill to within 1/2" of the top, wipe rims, place lids and rings. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath; 15 minutes for quarts. Pickles should be ready to eat in 2 weeks.
This is how they look coming out of the canner. I let them set with the rings on until they are cool; then, wash them well in soapy water, rinse and dry. I label them with the name of the pickle and the date and down they go to the basement to await their fate.......aha.......an accompaniment for a good sandwich and an honored spot on the Thanksgiving table!
For each jar:
Place a head of fresh Dill upside down with the stem sticking up
Add 1-3 cloves fresh Garlic
Place medium, whole Cucumbers vertically in the jar until filled to within 1/2 inch of the top
Add 2 t. Pickling Salt and 3-5 whole Peppercorns
Heat a solution of:
1 1/2 c. Vinegar
3 quarts Water
For 7 quarts of pickles
Bring to the boil and pour over the cucumbers in the jars to within 1/4" of the top of the jar. Wipe rims, place lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
It's starting to look like a cannery in my kitchen.
This is how the dills look, coming out of the canner. They will be ready to eat in about 2 weeks.
On our trip to Walla Walla last week we picked up 70 pounds of Walla Walla Sweet Onions. These onions are wonderfully flavorful and not hot; you can eat them like an apple, really. We make onion and butter sandwiches and a salad with cukes, sour cream and a little balsamic vinegar. Yum.
Here they are in their bags.
Another arrival that day were some large summer squash that grew while we were away.
Aren't they lovely?
For Carmelized Onions, I slice them and put them in a large crock pot.....
with a half cup of butter....
for 10 hours or until they turn a.....
lovely, rich, brown color and smell sweetly delicious.
Then, I bag them up......
Label, and freeze them. When I need them, I keep a package in my freezer in my kitchen. I just take them out of the bag (where they have been frozen into a rather flat square), cut off what I want with my chef's knife, and return the remainder to the freezer. A few minutes in the microwave will thaw them, or I can add them straight into the frying pan for added flavor to meat or veggies. We love these, all through the year. For three of us, about 6 quart bags (frozen flat and thin as possible), are enough.
I also mince them and freeze them raw for use later as I go along cooking away for my family. Of the 70 pounds of onions, we froze about 24 quarts raw. They work very nicely. I also chop and mince sweet bell peppers and freeze those for use later in the year.
The large summer squash, I am grinding up and freezing to make Sweet Zucchini Relish, later. I'll show you the recipe when the time comes.