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Posts Tagged ‘homemade pickles’

Flavored Vinegar_DSC_5804

 

If you have a bottle of fine quality vinegar that is just hanging around the kitchen, take a few minutes of a lazy afternoon and turn it into a flavored brew. I often do this when I have extra herbs, very ripe fruit, or am just in the mood to fancy up that bottle of white wine vinegar on the shelf. Fruit-flavored vinegars make delicious shrubs and switchels, both early American thirst quenchers that are rarely made today, but if you decide to do so, I think you will find them extremely refreshing on a hot summer day. More about those later.

To make flavored vinegar you will need the following for every 2 cups of white wine, champagne, or rice wine vinegar.

For berry-flavored:

2 cups crushed berries, ¼ cup sugar, 1 strip of orange peel, and a few whole berries to put into the finished bottle

For garlic- or shallot-flavored:

5 cloves garlic, crushed, or ½ cup chopped shallots, ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, a couple of garlic cloves or large pieces of shallot to put into the finished bottle

For herb-flavored:

½ cup chopped fresh tarragon, sage, thyme, basil, or chives or a combination of fresh herbs that you prefer along with a few sprigs of the fresh herbs to put into the finished bottle

 

Place the vinegar into a medium non-reactive saucepan. Add the fruit, sugar, and orange peel OR the garlic or shallots and red pepper flakes, OR the herbs. Place over medium heat and bring to just a simmer. Lower the heat and cook gently for about 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to come to a boil. Remove from the heat and set aside for 24 hours.

After 24 hours, strain the vinegar through a fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth into a clean nonreative saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer.

Immediately pour the vinegar into a sterilized bottle, add the berries OR garlic/shallot OR herbs. Cover and set aside to cool before storing in a cool spot.

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Sanditas

 

We came upon these beautiful tiny watermelon-looking things called sanditas at the Union Square Greenmarket.  I had never seen them before, but my culinarian son, Mickey, said “oh, yes, I’ve had them at Gramercy Tavern”.  Who knew???  Turns out sanditas are also known as sour Mexican gherkins, cucamelon, or, less-appetizingly, mouse melon and are a favorite Mexican vegetable.  When I bought mine, the vendor said “don’t pickle them, eat them”, so, of course, I had to pickle them.  Once I tasted the little guys I was sure that they would work best pickled to serve with patés or on meze platters.  I did leave a few to slice in salad, but the remainder went into the following recipe.  This recipe can also be used with any baby vegetable or pearl onions.

4 cups sanditas
¼ cup salt
3 cups white vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon sugar
One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into slivers
1 green hot chile, cut, crosswise, into rounds

Place sanditas in a glass or ceramic bowl. Sprinkle in salt and add cold water to cover. Let stand in a cool place for 12 hours. Drain off salt water and rinse in colander under cold running water. Drain and dry.
Bring the vinegar, orange juice, and sugar to a boil in heavy saucepan over medium heat. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
While the vinegar mixture is cooking, pack the sanditas, ginger, and chile into hot sterilized jars. Pour the hot pickling syrup over the top, leaving ¼-inch head­space.
If you are going to refrigerate the pickles, cap the jars and turn upside-down on a wire rack and let stand until cool before refrigerating.  Or, to preserve for a long period of time, place the filled jars into a canning pot fitted with a rack with cold water to cover and place over high heat.  Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes.  Remove from the boiling water and cool as directed for refrigerated pickles.

 

sanditas pickles OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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