Posts Tagged ‘pickles’

Pickled Scallions, Blah!

Me, pulling green onions from my garden.

Wow!  Finally the food of the month is something I have in my own garden.  I don’t have to go to the store or anything.  After foreign oranges and carrots, I can do something local.  See, that’s me right there, pulling them up myself.  I was so happy to be able to do this one right.  I pulled up all the remaining green onions I had in a bed, that had once grown irises, yarrow and coreopsis, among many other things.  My current desire for more local food has forced me to convert several flower beds to vegetables.  Over the winter, I also had carrots and beets out in that same bed, but, unfortunately, I had eaten all the carrots before the carrot challenge was announced.

In a very busy weekend I worked half a day on Saturday, worked in the garden in the afternoon, supervising my young helper, Holmes, while he was turning compost and spreading it on my asparagus bed; then, on Sunday, a friend came out to hang out and make two batches of mozzarella.  We went out to the dairy that is about 20 minutes from my home , got the milk and made the cheese.  After she left, taking a jar of the Rosemary Pickled Carrots with her, I also made a batch with Patrick, my DH, who wants to move right ahead to gouda and cheddar.   We made ricotta from all the whey left from all that cheesemaking.  Then I pulled those onions and washed them about 10 times.  I kept remembering that botulism spores reside in the soil.  I don’t want botulism, so I kept washing.

Prepared for the soak.

The only canning recipe I could find for scallions or green onions was Pickled Scallions on several websites.  So I went with that.    After they were washed, I cut them to fit the 1/2 pint jars and stacked them in layers in a bowl with salt, covered them with water and allowed them to sit overnight.

That leaves me where?   Monday morning to make pickles before, I say before, I go to work.  I was up at 5:00 and moving slowly.  My first problem, was realizing that the tiny little half-pint jars would not sit in the rack in my water bath canner.  Now what do I do?  So I got out my Revere Ware stock pot.  I only had enough for 4 jars, so they would fit in that, but how to keep them from jostling into each other.  Somewhere I had read that someone put a dish towel in the bottom of the pot and that kept them steady.  It sounded half-baked, but I was desperate at that moment.  I had to get this done and go to work.     So I put the water on to boil.

I then prepared the spice bag to boil in the vinegar.  The recipe called for pure vinegar, no water to dilute it.  That made me feel better about the botulism.  It had only 2 Tablespoons of sugar in 3 cups of vinegar.  It called for white, I had cider and besides, what I had was organic.  Who knows what is in that white vinegar.  The recipe called for whole allspice, which I did not have, mustard seed and whole peppercorns, which I did.  I punted and used whole cloves instead of the allspice.  I hung the bag on the pot handle and draped it into the caramel colored vinegar and turned on the heat.  Then I packed the jars with the onions, a garlic clove and a bay leaf; then placed them just so on the counter.

So far, all was well.  Or, at least so I thought.  I poured the vinegar in and put on the lids.  Now, how do I get these jars in a pot of almost boiling water with a dish towel floating around in it.  It was supposed to lie on the bottom and behave, but that is not what it was doing.  It was flapping about crazily and there was no way it was going to protect my jars from jouncing around in the hot water.   The other thing I noticed was that there were suds in the pot.  My dish towel apparently had not been rinsed thoroughly in the washing machine.  I don’t want sudsy tasting pickled scallions.  It is now about 6:30.   I have to be at work at 8:30.  I dumped out the pot rinsed it several times and refilled it with clean clear water and waited for it to heat up.

Busted jars.

It took longer than you would think for that to happen.  I just sat and watched the pot come near a boil.  I never thought about how much the jars had cooled down by this time.  I also had nothing in the bottom of the pot to cushion the fall of the first jar that slipped from my jar tongs and banged into the bottom of the pot turned over and popped.  The entire bottom sheared off.  I fished it out.  Somehow the onions all stayed in.  The next jar went as peacefully as you please.  The third jar was going good, but then I heard that pop again.  The bottom had broken off that one, too.  All the vinegar rushed out while I held the jar with the scallions remaining suspended in the jar tongs.  I sat it down beside the other broken jar and crossed my fingers.  The last one was no problem.  They sat on opposite sides of the pot and I put the lid on and set the timer.  15 minutes I had to wait.

Finished!

They rattled away in the pot, but no pops or crashes.  At fifteen minutes, I took off the lid, lifted the two jars out  and set them on the towel to cool and seal.  It occurred to me then that I did not know what one did with pickled scallions.  Do you just eat them out of the jar like the pickled carrots?  Do you put them in cocktails?  Do you just admire them on the shelf?  The thing that  I was really wondering about, was what I was going to do with the mountain of green onion tops that I had left over.  I wrapped them up and put them in the refrigerator to use in salads and such, but would we really be able to eat them all before they wilted?  This seems like one of the more wasteful kinds of pickles that you could make.  I still had to get ready to go to work, but I was really hungry by this point, and what is better in scrambled home grown eggs than green onions?  I chopped up some of the tops and made me a lovely plate of scrambled eggs and whole wheat toast.

 

The Recipe – Pickled Scallions

To make 4 half-pint jars

48 green onions

3 cups apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup salt

2T sugar

2 T whole cloves

1 T whole mustard seeds

1 T whole peppercorns

4 bay leaves

4 cloves garlic

Wash and trim scallions to fit in jars.  Remove the tough outer layer of skin.  Wash again. Place the scallions in layers in a bowl, sprinkling each layer lightly with some of the salt.  Cover the cold water and let stand 12 hours or overnight, making sure scallions stay submerged in water.  Drain the scallions, rinse then in fresh water and drain again.  Combine the sugar and vinegar.  Add the spices together and tie up in a cheesecloth bag.  Bring to a boil and simmer 15 minutes.  Discard the spice bag.  Pack the scallions, standing upright into sterilized jars.  Add one bay leaf and one clove of garlic to each jar. Fill the jars to within 1/2 inch of the top with the boiling liquid and place the covers on loosely.  Place the jars in hot water bath and process for 15 minutes.  Remove and let them cool and seal.Buy a mini canning rack from Amazon that fits in a Revere Ware stock pot.  These pictures won’t line up like I want them to, but here they are anyway.  That’s my blood orange marmalade on the toast.  A lovely breakfast and off to work.

Advertisements

Can Jam February

The Hot Water Bath steaming away

Pickles…it had to be pickles.  What else can you do with carrots in a hot water bath.  Well, I had found some recipes for carrot chutney, and even marmalade, but I’ve already done marmalade, and besides, there is only so much sweet stuff that is reasonable for a person who is eating to stave off type 2 diabetes to have around the house.  So, something that would be good snacky food, with not too many calories, was what I needed and I found the recipe in the newest edition of Well Preserved:  small batch preserving for the new cook, by Mary Ann Dragan.  Pickled Rosemary Carrots.  That sounded perfect.  Only the tiniest amount of sugar.  I had made something very similar that was not jarred up and sealed.  It just stayed in the fridge until you ate it up, which did not take long.  I liked them and felt sure I would like these.  The recipe was not challenging at all, at least compared to the marmalade from last month.  This one was pretty much old hat.  Cold pack, pour in the vinegar, put on the lids and hot water bath.  It was almost too easy. or so I thought.

Finding the carrots turned out to be the hard part.  I really wanted local, organic carrots for this round.  I thought it would be easy.  I know lots of local farmers.  I have access to some markets that are still open, even in the dead of winter.  Surely I could pull this off.  I called all my farmer friends.  No one had carrots.  The extremely cold weather we have had this winter had slowed them down to a crawl.  Some had carrots, but they were no bigger than a very slender pencil.  I was forced back to the grocery store, but I did get organic carrots.  So I have gotten something right.  And the rosemary did come from my own herb garden.   I did not have pickling salt, so I substituted sea salt.  The recipe also called for mixed peppercorns.  I could not find those but I did find some special Tellicherry black peppercorns and some green peppercorns, so I used them.

Chopping the carrots.

So I peeled and cut and packed them into the jars.  It didn’t take as long as I had thought it would, even doing 4 pounds of carrots.  And, they fit exactly into 6 wide mouth pint jars.  I put in the garlic, chili pepper and sprig of rosemary and they were ready for the vinegar.  My dear husband helped with getting the hot vinegar solution poured in and I put on the lids and set them in the steaming hot water bath.  They stayed in there for 15 minutes and were done.   The lids started popping almost immediately after I got them out.  I was very surprised at how quickly they were all sealed.

So here is the recipe.  Directly from the book except with a few minor changes:

Pickled Rosemary Carrots

  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon each Tellicherry black and green peppercorns
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 6 hot chili peppers
  • 4 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
  • 6 – 3 inch sprigs of fresh cut rosemary

Prepare the preserving jars.  Combine vinegar, water, sugar, salt and peppercorns and bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer 5 minutes.  Place one clove garlic and one chili pepper in each jar.  Pack carrot sticks tightly in the jars standing them upright.  Slide one sprig of rosemary into each jar.  Carefully pour the boiling vinegar solution into the jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space.  Wipe the rims clean and place lids and rings on the jars.  Place the jars in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

packed jars awaiting the vinegar solution

It was very satisfying to see how easily it all went together.  Kind of zen-like in its simplicity.  I’m looking forward to tasting them.  I will let them sit for about a week before I take a taste and give them time for all the flavors to “swap around” as Huckleberry Finn would say.  I think they turned out quite lovely.  The green and orange complement each other in a satisfying kind of way.  I hope that they will be as delicious as they look. 

Now, I eagerly look forward to the challenge for March.  I hope that I can get the ingredients for it locally and organically.  I had thought that I was really good at that.  After all, the pick up for our local CSA is on my front porch.  I did not count on the weather knocking me for a loop.  But I guess that is what we all have to live with in reality. 

The finished product.