Prompted by my husband and the Gastronomer, I’ve finally decided to dip my toe into posting savory recipes. Not permanently, just to give me and my waistline a break from making desserts several times a month. Keep a look out for my Aunt Junie’s meatballs, and my Aunt Carol’s famous spaghetti meat sauce!
First up is homemade pickles. I. Love. Pickles. I like them extra punchy, full of vinegar and a bit of heat—I like my tongue to hurt a bit after eating them.
It’s hard to admit this, but I discovered recently that even better than classic cucumber pickles are pickled green beans. Jarred when they’re raw, they maintain a serious crunch, and don’t absorb as much of the vinegar, so it’s even easier to eat a handful without losing feeling in your taste buds for a week. I’ve also started pickling my own banana peppers, and hope to try my hand at jalapeños as soon as my window-box plants get bigger than the two inches they are now.
I really just don’t know what else to say about pickles, other than I adore them, and once you make them, you’ll never buy them from the grocery store again.
(makes 1 jar)
2-3 pickling cucumbers or 1/2 pound of green beans or 5-6 banana peppers—generally, just buy what you think will fit in a 1-liter jar
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups apple cider vinegar
½ t sugar
½ t salt
1-inch section of lemon or lime peel, white part removed
4 springs fresh thyme, or your favorite herb
1 small clove garlic, slightly crushed with the flat side of a knife (optional, but I highly recommend it)
1 dozen whole peppercorns
1/4 t red pepper flakes (optional, and I also highly recommend this, but I understand not everyone likes spicy things like I do)
1 liter jar
Cut pickles into lengthwise quarters; trim green beans; slice banana peppers into 1/4-inch disks, discarding tops. Pack into jar.
Bring all other ingredients to a boil over high heat, and keep a safe distance, as the hot vinegar will clear out your sinuses.
Pour vinegar liquid into jar on top of vegetables. Depending on what veggie you’re using, you may need to add a bit more water to bring the liquid to the tops of the vegetables. Secure lid and allow pickles to cool to room temperature. Then place in the fridge, and after 5 days, enjoy! If you’d like to do the official preserving process to save room in your refrigerator, follow Alton Brown’s method in this recipe.