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How to Can and Pickle
1. Obtain some mason jars. Boil them in a pot big enough to submerge, as well as their lids, to sterilize. Feel clean and fresh.
2. Obtain vegetables. Carrots, radishes, cauliflower florets, green beans, cucumbers, and other hard vegetables that can take a good soak in hot liquid and keep their crunch. (If using cucumbers, keep them in a bowl covered with ice in the fridge for one night. If using fresh tomatoes, cook them into a quick sauce and skip step 3, but add 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice to each pint-sized jar before step 4.)
3. Boil equal parts white or cider vinegar and water, and add pickling spices such as peppercorns, mustard seeds and coriander seeds, and one tablespoon Kosher salt per pint.
4. Pack vegetables (cut to equal size pieces) into just-boiled, clean and sterilized jars. Now you can also add fresh herbs or whole garlic cloves if you like. Pour the hot vinegar mixture to the top, and screw on the cap.
5. Set aside to cool long enough for the cap to suck inward, sealing the jar for eternity. If this never happens, simply dunk the jar into a pot of boiling water up to almost where the cap is, and boil for ten minutes. Remove, and let cool until the cap sucks in many hours later. It should. Store however long in a dark place, or open and refrigerate afterward.
Cathy Erway is the author of The Art of Eating In: How I Learned to Stop Spending and Love the Stove. She blogs at Not Eating Out in New York and hosts the weekly podcast Let’s Eat In on Heritage Radio Network.
Photo Cathy Erway