Preserving, canning, pickling or whatever you want to call it is hot this summer (and I don't just mean from all the steam you'll be in contact with while you're doing it). Mix the poor economy with a desire to eat locally and you've got the motivation for a nation of foodies that are converting the summer's best into something they can eat all year long. That's why this summer we've talked about preserving related books (here and here) and while within each you could find some recipes for pickles none of them focused on pickling. Until now, that is.
The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich, not only focuses on pickling, but also does a great job of it. While technically a revised edition, Ziedrich has clearly put effort into the revision. In addition to reviewing and updating the recipes, she's added some new recipes and historical bits of information. The later of which is what really helps pull the book together for me. The stories on unfamiliar pickles, such as pickled limes and pickled watermelon rind, were interesting and enticed me to try things I may not have otherwise tried. I also enjoyed learning the history of different types of pickles, many of which are Eastern European, because it will help in figuring out what to serve them with.
I'm a relative novice to pickling. I've made refrigerator pickles for several years now, but this year was my first foray into canning pickles. Thankfully, Linda Ziedrich is a good coach. She eased my worries, told me what I needed to know and provided a great collection of recipes for me to try.
But this isn't the main reason I enjoyed Joy of Picking, nor is it the reason I know I'll keep coming back to it year after year to try more pickles. If you've ever even considered trying out pickling then you know that pickling is one of those things where you really don't want to play with the recipe; unless, of course, you really know what your doing, or you're willing to send people to the hospital. Ziedrich understands that and she's done the legwork for you. She's searched out pickle recipes and variations so even if you only want to make the standard cucumber sweet pickle you'll have several choices to try out. It's that depth of choices mixed with Ziedrich's knowledge and historical information that makes me really enjoy this book.
The variety in the Joy of Pickling extends both within the range of pure pickle recipes and beyond it with recipes for relishes, salsas and ketchups that use similar techniques. But, you won't find the more standard canning-only fare such as jellies, or non-pickled vegetables that need a pressure cooker to can. Ziedrich has used the space to focus on pickling related things and goes well beyond just pickling cucumbers with recipes like the surprisingly tasty Bread and Butter Zucchini pickles (recipe below) , Honeyed Jalapeno Rings, and Preserved Grape Leaves. And for those of you not quite ready to take the canning leap she's included a bunch of refrigerator pickle recipes too…
From The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich, Harvard Common Press 2009.
Makes about 5 pints
Zucchini stands in well for cucumbers in bread-and-butter pickles.
- 4 pounds zucchini, 1 inch in diameter, sliced into 3/16-inch rounds (about 2 quarts)
- 3/4 pound small onions, sliced into thin rounds (about 2 cups)
- 1/4 cup pickling salt
- 2 1/4 cups cider vinegar
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon whole yellow mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon whole celery seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
Put the zucchini and onions into a bowl and toss the vegetables with the salt. Cover the vegetables with ice cubes from 2 ice trays. Let the vegetables stand at room temperature for 2 hours.
Drain the vegetables well. In a nonreactive pot, bring to a boil the vinegar, sugar, and spices. Add the vegetables and, over medium heat, slowly bring them to a boil, stirring frequently. Simmer them for 5 to 7 minutes, until the bright skin of the zucchini turns olive. Ladle the vegetables and liquid into pint mason jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Close the jars with two-piece caps. In a boiling-water bath, process the jars for 10 minutes. Or pasteurize the jars for 30 minutes by immersing them in water heated to 180° to 185°F.
Store the cooled jars in a cool, dry, dark place for at least 3 weeks before eating the pickles. After opening a jar, store it in the refrigerator.
About The Joy of Pickling
Since its original publication in 1998, this book has been considered the go-to guide for those who like it sour, salty, and tangy. Author Ziedrich goes far beyond the classic bread-and-butters and dills with recipes that showcase the worldwide popularity of pickling. There are chapters on fermented pickles, from Half-Sours to Turkish Mixed Pickles; on fresh pickles such as Pickled Beets; on cabbage pickles from around the world like Kimchi and Curtido; and miso and soy sauce pickles. Twenty-five of the recipes are brand new, and the indispensable pickling primer has been fully updated with the latest in equipment, ingredients, and techniques.
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Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.