Category Archives: Pickled

Jalapeños, long over due

If you pay attention to our little blog, you might have noticed that we’re a teensy bit obsessed with these candied jalapeños. So obsessed, that between the three of us, I’d say we’ve made more than 50 pounds of candied jalapeños. 

That’s a lot of jalapeños. 

They’re so good, that I decided they could probably even win a prize.

awards!

 

Or hey, why not two prizes?

The D.C. State Fair (yes, I know D.C. is not a state, thank you) took place last month, and at the gentle prodding of friends and family, I entered the obsessive-worthy candied jalapeños. Apparently other people thought they’re pretty great, too, because they won second and third place. (They lost to some pickled martini tomatoes, which I guess I understand. Martini tomatoes are probably pretty great.) 

I changed the recipe up a bit to make it my own, experimenting with ginger and garam masala in one batch and coriander and cumin seeds in another. I really, really like the ginger jalapeños, because I really, really like ginger, but the judges liked the coriander and cumin jalapeños better. 

If you have to choose between just making one type, though, I’d go with ginger. Just trust me. 

Sweet, spicy, and addictive, the jalapeños are excellent on crackers with cream cheese, nachos, tacos, burritos, breakfast sandwiches, all sandwiches, hummus, baba ganoush, or, straight from the jar. They make the perfect gift for just about anyone or may also be hoarded in your cupboards.

(Prize winning!) Candied Jalapeños with Ginger or Coriander and Cumin
Adapted from a Candied Jalapeño recipe found here

Recipe easily doubles (or quadruples). 

For both types:

  • 3 pounds jalapeños
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 6 cups sugar

For ginger jalapeños:

  • 3-inch piece fresh ginger (about 50 grams or 2 ounces), peeled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (yellow or black, or a mix of both)

For Coriander and Cumin jalapeños:

  • 4 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pinch (or two) of cayenne

Equipment:

  • large pot with rack on bottom for canning
  • canning tongs or normal tongs with rubber bands wrapped around the ends (use these to transfer your jars into and out of the canner)
  • about 9 half-pint jars, or about 5 pint jars

1. Prepare your canning materials: fill your canning pot with water and bring to a boil (this will take a while), wash your jars, and place jars in the pot of water while it heats. Once the water comes to a boil, allow the jars to boil in the water 10 minutes to sterilize the jars. Remove the jars, emptying the water back into the pot, and place on a towel.

2. Meanwhile (while water is coming to a boil and jars are sterilizing), slice the jalapeños into 1/8-inch rings, leaving core and seeds as intact as possible. Slice the jalapeños as uniformly as you can. And, be sure to wear gloves or your hands may burn later. Set aside.

3. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, bring the vinegar, sugar, and either ginger spices or coriander/cumin spices to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking often. Lower the heat and simmer liquid for five minutes, whisking occasionally.

4. Add jalapeños to the vinegar/sugar pot, bring the heat up to medium-high, and cook jalapeños for four minutes, stirring every 30 seconds or so to ensure even cooking. It will seem like there is not enough liquid (the jalapeños will not be completely covered in liquid), but don’t fret.

5. After the four minutes is up, immediately move jalapeños to your prepared jars, using a slotted spoon. Turn up the heat and boil the syrup at a rolling boil for six minutes. Turn heat off and funnel liquid into jalapeño-filled jars, leaving 1/4 to 1/2 –inch in head space. Wipe rims clean with a damp paper towel and affix new two-piece lids to finger-tip tightness. ALSO: if you have leftover syrup, don’t through it away. You may can it as well, or you can just keep it in the fridge for a while. It’s great in a home-made vinaigrette, to glaze vegetables or meats, or anywhere you need a spicy-sweet-vinegary kick.

6. Process jars, covered in at least two inches of water, for 10 minutes (if using half pint jars) or 15 minutes (if using pint jars). When done processing, transfer jars to a spot where they can remain undisturbed for 24 hours. After a few minutes, you should hear the ping of the lids sealing. If any jars do not seal, store in refrigerator for up to a month or so. Sealed jars are shelf-stable for up to a year. Enjoy the jalapeños the next day, or allow to mellow for a few weeks. The longer you wait to open them, the more they will mellow.

wins

Kara

 

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Easy quick pickles

I just love fall. It’s been a rainy week, but after a summer like this one, I’m quite content. Plus, this gives me an excuse to wear jeans, and scarves, and boots!

It’s been much too long.

First, a word about our house: we (or rather, I) decided it should be called “The Dacha.” I’m more than a little obsessed with Russia, and since I studied there for nine months I will not apologize. Dachas are these lovely little country homes that many Russian city-folk own. They range from quaint and shed-like to country mansions, depending on said Russian’s income. I’ve never actually been to one (yet), but most also have little plots of land attached where people have their own gardens and grow anything. I want a dacha. And so, in the tradition of house-naming started in college, the new house is the Dacha. (Matt, by the way, jokingly though at times aptly said it should be called The Gulag. Oh, Matt.)

I digress. The Dacha recently inherited two lovely cucumbers.

Since only two of the Dacha-dwellers actually like cucumbers, I made quick pickles. And, since we were talking about Russia earlier, I’ll tell you a little anecdote: pickles are a much loved thing in Russia. A common way to drink vodka, for example, is to take a shot or a sip and then (quickly) eat a pickle or tomato after. Mmm, Russia.

These pickles are very easy and need hardly any time to cure. I crafted this recipe from a combination of a few different pickle recipes, but was originally inspired by a delicious bagel I had eaten in Florida, of all places. They suggested I try my everything bagel with a shmear of cream cheese (duh) and a few slices of their homemade pickles. It was so very delicious, I had to try to recreate these pickles and put them on anything topped with cream cheese. It may sound weird at first, but trust me – cream cheese and pickles were made for each other. Also, vodka.

Quick cucumber pickles
Adapted from a recipe for quick pickled vegetables. Makes enough brine and pickles to fill two 1-quart jars.

  • 1 or 2 large cucumbers, thinly sliced (peel if you like, wash skin well otherwise)
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced

For the brine:

  • 1 ½ cup cider vinegar
  • a few drops of balsamic vinegar (no need to be high quality), just for kicks
  • 1 ¾ cups water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • ½ bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill, or several fresh sprigs of dill, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (or 2 or 3 teaspoons if you are named Kara)
  • ½ teaspoon pepper, or to taste
  • 2 whole cloves
  • a few shakes of ground turmeric, optional

Combine all the brine ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the onions and cook for a few minutes, until barely soft. Remove onions and set aside on a plate. Add the cucumbers and cook for just a minute; set aside on plate, turn off heat, and allow everything to cool. Once everything is room temperature(ish), divide the cucumbers and onions evenly between two 1-quart glass jars, or place everything in a large airtight container. Top with the brine, and refrigerate. They’re ready to eat right away, but I think they taste better the next day. I also happened to have a dried red chili pepper and added that to one of the jars. I can’t really taste the difference, but it looks cool, no?

Kara

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