Saturday, August 11, 2007

Pickles, Garlic, and Tomatoes.

I have been trying out a few new things in the kitchen. For the past several months we have been making our own yogurt, ice cream, bbq sauces, jam, dry rub mixtures, and so on, and freezing or storing extra as we go. I have moved into new territory in trying out some fermentation and pickling. I don't have time for the whole big canning process at this point, but I have found several recipes for quick pickling, which requires clean jars but no canning.

From left to right is fridge pickles, pickled garlic, and dried tomatoes in olive oil with rosemary.

1. Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil. The tomatoes from my garden have been dried in the dehydrator, and then put in a clean jar with olive oil to cover, and a few sprigs of dried rosemary. This is stored in the fridge and can be used for salads, stews, and pasta. They taste SO good coming from fresh ripe tomatoes it is amazing.

2. Pickled Garlic. The pickled garlic was easy too. I basically used the recipe from Nourishing Traditions. Take up to about 12 heads of garlic, remove the outer skin and then bake the cloves in an oven until the rest of the skin can easily be removed. The garlic is not mushy soft, but slightly soft and aromatic and beginning to look less opaque. Put the cloves in a clean jar. Mix together a few teaspoons of dried herbs (I used dried oregano and rosemary from my garden), 4 teaspoons of GOOD sea salt, and about 1/2 cup of water. Pour the liquid over the garlic, and add more water if the garlic isn't covered. Screw lid on tightly, keep at room temp for about 2-3 days, then put in the fridge.

3. Refrigerator Pickles. The fridge pickles I adapted from several books I have out from the library. Each one has a different recipe, but I used what I had at home. I took the 5 cucumbers I have from our CSA and cleaned and sliced them into 1/4" slices. Pack them in the canning jars (or clean glass container). On the stove combine 2 cups of water, 3/4 cup of high quality apple cider vinegar, and 1/3 cup of good quality sea salt.

To the cukes I added amongst the jars a total of 4 dill heads and a handful of dill sprigs from my garden, as well as the seeds from 2 large dried dill heads (I dried in the sun over this week). You could use a few store bought sprigs of dill or 2 or so tablespoons of dill seed. I added 1 clove of my pickled garlic per container. If you like stronger dill flavor, you can add more. If you like heat, add hot peppers or pepper flakes as well.

Bring the liquid on the stove to a boil, then add it to the cukes in the jar - make sure they are covered. Let it come to room temp and then refrigerate it and eat all within a few weeks! They taste SO great.

A key point with using the raw apple cider vinegar and good sea salt for the recipes is to increase the nutritional value of the it is an important part!

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