Friday, September 19, 2014

Pickling, Fermenting + A Fantastic Giveaway

First off - don't forget the Craftsy sale going on now. It is a great opportunity to sign up for my class or many of the other classes. 

Here is the link to the sale:

Have you noticed how much interest there is in preserving veggies and fruits these days? When I was a kid, my Mom and Gram used to make jams and jellies out of whatever fruits we had too many of. My grandmother did some other preserving but I must admit, I never paid much attention. On the Christmas eve dinner table there was always a relish tray filled with watermelon rind pickles and bread and butter pickles. 

A couple years ago, I started making dill pickles. My family is crazy over dill pickles and the two of them can eat a jar in an evening. I had a glut of cukes in my garden so I got busy preserving them. My friend Kay who is a Master Preserver of fruits and veggies answered my questions. I found this recipe called Blue Ribbon Dill Pickles that looked good and discovered it was really easy to put up jars and jars of cukes. And once I had the jars, it was really economical.

I must say, my family is now addicted to these pickles. This year, I decided to branch out and made some classic Bread and Butter Pickles and one called Olive Oil Pickles (the jury is still out on that one so I won't share the recipe yet - they are aging). 

For the last couple weeks, I have spent hours pickling and preserving. I feel like an official Yankee farm woman putting up the harvest. It has been fun because it is something different to do and not drudgery (yet). My goal was to fill every canning jar I had (and I had a lot squirreled away in the basement) and I can happily say, my job is complete. 

These are my favorite, indispensable tools. If you are going to get into pickling, I highly suggest a jar lifter (so you don't burn yourself) and a wide mouth funnel. Both these tools make it so much easier.  

A couple weeks ago, I was rearranging things in our dirt floor basement looking for those jars and I discovered a large gallon glass jar with a big opening in it. I have always wanted to try lacto-fermented pickles. We love the ones we buy from our friends at Real Pickles. I called my friends at Storey Publishing and had them send some preserving books my way. Here are the fantastic books Storey sent me to review - all by Sherry Brooks Vinton

The first recipe I have tried is called Classic Crock Pickles. Sherry's instructions were precise although fermenting cucumbers and any fruit is a bit like a science experiment. Here's what my gallon jar looks like. Sherry suggests weighting down the veggies with a quart jar filled with water. 

The photo above is on Day One. I covered the jar up with a tea towel as she suggested (shown below). 

This is after a week of fermentation. The liquid is starting to get cloudy. As the scum appears, I skim it off. I'm not sure how long the process will take but next week, I'll start tasting the pickles. 


I will not process these fermented pickles because the heat will take away the healthful benefits of the fermentation (you can read about that here). I will keep them in the fridge. Next up is some sauerkraut. Not too much - just a little to have this winter. 

If you are interested and live close to Boston, check out the Boston Fermentation Festival on September 27th and 28th. Wow! Who was to know there are pickling retreats and events - and I thought it was only the knitters who were obsessive! The keynote speaker is Sandor Katz, the world's most renowned "fermentation revivalist." Check out his own website called Wild Fermentation here.

So here is what I have for you all today courtesy of the fine folks at Storey Publishing. One lucky winner will get a set of Sherry's 3 Preserving the Harvest books - Put Em Up, Put Em Up Fruits, and The Preserving Answer Book. Thank you Storey! Here's how you enter.....

Answer the following question in the comments section:

Tell me about your pickling or canning likes and hates? Do you do it? Is it too much bother? What recipes might you like? Did you grow up on homemade preserves? Pickles? Lacto-fermented or vinegar? Chutney? Jam? Jelly? Favorite books?

Contest ends at 11:59 p.m. September 22nd. US Addresses Only Please. 
Don't forget to leave an easy way to get a hold of you - blogger id, email, or Rav id.  

Contest is over. Winner has been alerted.


Vicki Knitorious said...

It's all the rage! My sister is going to a Fermentation Festival here in Wisconsin in a couple of weeks (I can't go... but maybe next year!).

--Vicki (knitorious on Ravelry)

Andrea said...

I didn't grow up canning, but learned from friends when I lived in the South. I love it! Wish I could grow more stuff here in Wyoming at 7200 feet. My favorite pickles are dilly beans.

Bonney said...

Oh Kristin, I'd LOVE to have these books. I long for peaches in the dead of winter. And bread and butter pickles? I buy jars and jars of them at the farmer's markets in the summer to use on the holiday tables and someone ALWAYS walks off with the whole jar after every meal!! I'm ready to jump into the mix!!

Joan Kubes said...

My mother always had a HUGE garden and canned just about everything, so I grew up with it. I carry on the tradition with my own small garden and fruit trees. It is a lot of work but so rewarding! My favorite book is Ball Blue Book, I refer to it often.

Cynthia Walat said...

I make my salsa and have now for well on 15 years. This year our tomato harvest was not as bountiful as in years past and I only made four quarts, I will be making a green tomato version. I tried it for the first time last year and it was a hit, I just got four lbs of them to make 4 pints. Great over eggs.

Laura T said...

I'm ready to go back to canning. We didn't have much of a garden this year due to cleaning out parents-in-laws house so garden went by the way side. Next year we are gardening and I want to can, dry and try pickling pickles. So I would love to have some books to read over the winter to get geared up!
lauratawney7 at gmail dot com

Wanda Setzer said...

I learned all about preserving from my family. We had a big garden and bought bushels of other things as we ran across them. I followed our tradition on into my 30s, but since then I've had trouble reconciling the effort/cost/utility bills with the price of grocery store items. I feel now that the quality and safety need to be added into the mix too, and I'm thinking of getting out all my equipment and getting it ready for next summer. One of my real favorites is fig preserves. Absolute luxury on a buttered biscuit.

aggie325 said...

I have canned my all my adult life. There is something about walking into our basement pantry and seeing all those jars filled with the beautiful colors of fruits and veggies. Over the years I've made chunky spaghetti sauce (with zucchini, carrots, peppers,etc.), bread and butter pickles, dill pickles, pickles and hot peppers, gardinera, sweet hot jalapeno mustard, apple butter, raspberry jam, and of course tomatoes. One thing I haven't been able to successfully make are cabbage stuffed Hungarian peppers. My 85 year old Dad speaks of them often, as his mother who was from Czechoslovakia used to can them and he loved them. I'd love to find a recipe and surprise him.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, this season I did not preserve, it has been a year of changes and I had to let a few things go this year.
I have great memories of canning ( and sweating!) during the summer, storing popped in the pantry and sharing the gems of summer during the cold winter months. My kids would ask why we had to can on the hottest of days! The jams which did not set became the new ice cream toppings.
A favorite memory is the smile I would see when I would gift a warm loaf of home baked bread and a jar of summer jam.
Thank you...I am smiling!
Rav ID Johalley

Sudsbrew said...

I love canning! No one in my family has ever done it so I've discovered everything myself. I make ketchup, Confetti relish with tomatoes and peppers, lots of kinds of pickles, dill relish, apricot jam, my favorite white nectarine jam and plain tomatoes. I love going to my basement to pick out jars to take to people. Another yummy is spicy beets. Corn relish is wonderful to open in winter. I also pickle peppadews for my friends from South Africa. Hearing the popping of the lids when they come out of the bath is very satisfying. The thing I haven't conquered is how to label everything with something cool. Right now, it's a sharpie on the top. I'm inspired to go to the farmers market this morning and can something today!.

kingshearte said...

I like the idea of canning, even though I don't really eat very many things that are generally canned. I could feed my husband almost exclusively on canned good stuff, though.

joinboston said...

I spent the morning making lime-mint freezer pickles. In June I canned strawberry preserves and soon it will be time to make tomato apple chutney with the last of the tomatoes and the first of the apples. I was a teenager in the seventies so, though my mother didn't can or make things by hand, I was attracted to the handmade ethic of the time and I still enjoy these things 40 years later.

Anonymous said...

Oh boy, Kristin, this contest is a real dilly!!
Most of my 70+ years have been spent on the farm and in the garden - and by extension - in the kitchen "putting up" all that bounty so I've pretty much tried it all.
Nevertheless, I still enjoy reading (and trying) recipes and honing my preservation knowledge/skills.
P. S. I really enjoy your blog! Please keep it up.

Karen (Woolyminded on Ravelry) said...

My grandfather had a big garden and my mom always canned -- tomatoes and peaches mostly - and put up peach jam while I was growing up. I have made some jam and branched out a bit into pickles, since we eat more pickles than jam in this household. Have pickled a variety of veggies, but not tried the fermented kind yet! My favorite book so far is Small Batch Preserving by Margaret Howard. Would love more recipes!

Tracie said...

I have never done any canning. My daughter and I are taking a class next week all about canning, so these books would come in very handy!

Denise said...

My mom always canned the excess from my father's garden, but I have only attempted canning once. I made salsa. But I would like to make jams and more salsa. I have all the tools necessary for water baths, but I don't have a pressure cooker.
flgirl1987 AT yahoo DOT com

Sara said...

I did 2 kinds of jelly this year, and frozen corn (Not canned.) So far. My mom and her sisters put up so many tomato products we could never eat it all! I'll see what's at the farmer's market on Monday and keep going. I didn't want to over do ...
SareBearKnits on ravelry

Connie K. said...

I didn't grow up canning but I am very interested in learning to can and preserve. We are planning to move out to a 4 acre property and growing more of our own food now that my partner is ready to retire. I would make very good use of these books!

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adodds said...

I remember my mom making lots of delicious jam, my favorite is plum. I also canned peaces for years for my father-in-law. He would always call to tell me that they were the best gift ever. I don't do as much as I use to but I would like to try pickles.

Joanne said...

I started making jam in 2001. I have been doing it ever since! I make jams, pickles, chutney, fruit sauces and butters. My my mom used to make strawberry jam (just that, usually only freezer jam) but I fell in love with the idea of capturing summer in a jar and putting it on the shelf as winter "fast food." I am also really enjoying figuring out which things my preschooler twins love. Pickles are a big hit, as are chutneys with meat. Jam is not always a favorite, to my surprise. I have one childhood memory that I think explains this. My great-grandmother ran a chicken farm. During the depression, she fed more than a dozen family members at her table. She grew a big garden, and when I was small and she was still living in her farmhouse, I saw her basement. It had a special cinder block room filled with shelves for all her canned goods--the shelves were empty when I was there, she was elderly, but I imagined what it looked like. I know where I got it from!

Rav ID JoanneSeiff

Anonymous said...

Hi Kristin,

I have a smallish garden in my Worcester backyard. I so wish it was larger... I freeze a lot of what I grow as that's easier to do with such small quantities. I do can some jellies. I have made dill pickles a few times. One year they were great! Other times they came out all mushy! So disappointing. I have tried all the tricks such as cutting off the blossom end. Soaking them in ice water. Still got mushy pickles. Anyway I did make and can some salsa this year!


JackieLemon said...

My mom,aunts and grandmas all put up enough jam,catsup, pickles,pears,peaches and tomatoes( lots & lots of tomatoes for sauce) to last through the winter. That meant most of what seemed like the hottest days of the summer spent in the basement kitchens where we did nothing but can. Huge vats of boiling water and bushel after bushel of produce to process are my memories of summer canning when I was a teen.
Kind of spoiled the whole process for me & I didn't can much as an adult. However, nothing tastes as good as home canned peaches and pickles. And my grandson has asked if we couldn't try to do pickles together. So I've been gathering recipes and books to give it a go.
These books look like a good place to start.

Stephanie Woerner said...

My aunt made bread and butter pickles when I was young and my mom once made freezer strawberry jam. I have branched out some. My husband and I make berry jams and we make oodles of crabapple jelly (we planted a Dolgo crabapple tree). After we get the juice for the jelly, we put the crabapple mush through a food mill and make the best applesauce ever. And I experiment with chutneys and pickles and once or twice a year I make preserved lemons. Our go-to book when we start one of our preserving sessions is Putting Food By.


jane said...

Our dukes were not a success in the garden this year. Otherwise, we would be processing dill pickles and my college roommates mothers bread and butter pickles.

Processing your own food rocks

Anonymous said...

My husband tried making fermented pickled beans. The beans are very crisp but way too salty for our taste. But he wants to try again. I do can some jams, chutneys, salsa, dilly beans, and plain tomatoes. This year we don't have many tomatoes but we had a surprising bumper crop of peaches. Those canned peaches will be a real treat mid winter. Canning is a lot of work but the satisfaction of hearing the ping of a sealed jar and later enjoying the contents are worth the effort. gnlmutti at gmail

Kathleen C. said...

I have never canned anything... not that I am not interested, I've just never done it and am a little (a lot) intimidated. I also didn't grow up with it at all... my Mom didn't can and I don't think her Mom did either. I sure could use some helpful books!
My husband is very interested in making his own pickled vegetables though, and we're going to give that a try soon.

mn_bird said...

I did not grow up canning or pickling. I am an avid gardener, but can only occasionally. I mostly put up tomatoes, but generally I cook those into paste and freeze them. I also love to dehydrate tomatoes, mostly cherry tomatoes. If you dehydrate them about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way and freeze them, they were yummy in eggs and many, many other things.

I mostly use my boiling water canner to make a few batches of jam each year. Last year, I made marmalade for the first time and really, really loved it.

I've thought about playing around with pickling. I enjoy making refrigerator pickles in the summer. They are so refreshing.

It would be fun to have these books.

minnknitter on Ravelry

Mary Lou said...

My mother taught me 'open kettle' canning for tomatoes, which is now deemed unsafe. I like refrigerator dills, but I only plant a couple of cukes each summer so I don't get overwhelmed. I'm interested in trying a small batch of sauerkraut.

jennifer.auroradesign said...

A friend taught me to can in her kitchen two summers ago. Four of us gathered to cut, chop, measure and make. It was WONDERFUL. Since then I've made jams, jellies, pickles and butters of all varieties. So many favorites it is hard to narrow...but I have learned I like jellies, jams and butters made traditionally with no pectin. The flavor is so clear and fruity. Yes, there is a lot of sugar but we use it sparingly in yogurt, oatmeal and on toast. What could be better than a jar of peach jam in February?