Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Preserving Experiment #2

For the record, pickled watermelon rinds were a TREMENDOUS success.  Everyone I had try one thought they were surprisingly delicious.  Surprisingly.  No one expected to like them - myself included.  I know for a fact that I will be making them again, but adding something to make them red.  Watermelon anything should be red.  Or pink.  Or not amber.  My first thought was to use red wine vinegar, but now I'm considering just adding a few beet slices.  They dye my cutting board red.  They dye my hands red.  Why wouldn't they dye my watermelon rinds red?

Anyway, that is a story for another day.

Canning experiment #1 was a success.  On for canning experiment #2.  Something slightly more normal, but still not "normal."  I have no intent, I should clarify, to make pickles.  This is true for two reasons: 1. I have NEVER had a home made pickle that tasted as good as my favorite store bought pickles.  My favorite store bought pickles are, and always have been, MILWAUKEE'S Pickles.  So, if they're going to be local and delicious, why mess with a good thing?

This one was a recipe out of my "The Art of Preserving" book.  I bought this book about three years ago because it had pretty pictures, and because canning has always seemed kind of romantic to me.  I can't really define it.  I'm canning now because of this locavore challenge, but I've always wanted to anyway.  I know a lot of people who have canning memories, either with their mom or grandma, and I don't really have this.  I don't recall canning taking place when I was a child.  I have no memories of spending hours in the kitchen over bubbling pots of goodness.  I remember bread, and Christmas cookies,  and chicken stock, but not canning.

But there's something about being self sufficient that really appeals to me.  Maybe it's because I read the Laura Ingles Wilder books about 27 too many times when I was young.  Maybe it's because I'm a cheep ass.  But, when the world ends in 2012, or the grid collapses, or whatever, everybody's going to want me in their tribe!

This is a recipe that my friend Jeanette told me was one of her favorites.  I love pickle relish on a hot dog (because I love a Chicago style hotdog).  I had this on Andouille sausage.  The spicy sausage went exceptionally with the sweetness of the relish.  This was almost sweeter than the crazy, bright green, unnatural pickle relish that I love on a pickle at the ball game.  But, at the same time, it tastes more real.  I'm looking forward to this on a burger in the middle of January!

Pickled Zucchini Relish
  • 2 lbs zucchini (L*)
  • 1 large yellow or white onion (L), diced
  • 1 red bell pepper (L), seeded and diced
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups honey (L) or sugar
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tsp dill seeds (L*) or celery seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
Cut the zucchini into thin matchsticks, about 2 inches in length.  Transfer to a large, nonreactive bowl.  Add the onion, bell pepper, and salt, and toss to combine.  Let stand at room temperature for at least 6 hours and up to one day.

Have ready hot, sterilized jars and their lids.

Drain the zucchini mixture in a large colander.  Rinse thoroughly and drain again.  Transfer to a large nonreactive saucepan and add the honey or sugar, vinegar, dill seeds, nutmeg, turmeric, pepper, and 1 cup water and stir to combine.  Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 25-30 minutes.

Ladle the hot relish into the jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace.  Remove any air bubbles and adjust the headspace, if necessary.  Wipe the rims clean and seal tightly with the lids.

Process the jars for 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath.  Sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.  If a seal has failed, store the jar in the refrigerator for up to one month.

1 comment:

  1. I was going back to re-make this recipe and noticed I never indicated how many jars it made. "6 half pint jars" according to the recipe book.