Of all the times of year, fall is perhaps the most busy at our acerage. It is a sun-up to sun-down constant workload of butchering, havesting, woodsplitting, canning, and winterizing. It's blissfully exhausting and deeply rewarding. Nothing feels better than seeing the cellar shelves lined with cans of preserved produce that you know you grew in your own garden and picked from the forest. Or seeing the rows of firewood stacked multiple rows deep that you hauled, split and stacked with your family and knowing it will be keeping you all warm in the months to come. There is a pride that comes with knowing your self-sufficiency may have been hard-earned but you wouldn't change a thing about it!
Each family has their own pickling preferences and perhaps one of the great things about the time-honored tradition of pickling is its versatility. I have noticed that the vendors at our local Farmer's Market who sell canned goods do very well and that's because whether we do it ourselves or we purchase it, everyone loves a great pickled product!
As I may have mentioned before, my husband is the canner in our home. He's most comfortable using the pressure cooker, while I am speedy fast at prep. Because he also works away, we schedule our canning around his days off as much as possible. Eventually it all gets done and we hoard it all away into the cellar. One of my favorite 'canning' activities is the art of non-canning. Bear with me here... I enjoy making canned goods like pickled eggs or carrots, jams and syrups. These are preserves that do not typically require the canning process, but instead rely on vinegars, sugars and refrigeration. I want to share a pickling recipe today that is extremely adaptable and so very 'pickley', I'm sure you'll love it as much as us!
2-3 sprigs of fresh (or dried) dill
1 clove of garlic (we add more!)
3 cups white vinegar
1 cup water
1 TSP coarse salt
1 large onion (thinnly sliced)
1-2 bay leaves
1/3 cup sugar (or equal amount of honey)
4 TSP pickling spice
Place all ingredients in a medium sauce pan and bring to a rolling boil. Allow to gently boil for about 4-5 minutes. Done!
This brine can be poured over boiled eggs, and allowed to sit refrigerated for 7-10 days before eating. The fragrant dill and garlic make them an amazingly refreshing snack. We usually add a bit more dill for this versiom. And garlic because my husband enjoys eating them. It is also excellent with baby carrots, or slice cucumbers.
For a twist on the brine you can omit the bay leaves and dill and instead add crushed pepper flakes or whole dried capsicum and 1/4 cup soy sauce. It gives a oriental infused flavor that works nicely with the eggs and makes them perfect for noodle bowls.
I chose to put this recipe in with Homesteading rather then the Herbaceous Goddess because every great homesteader knows and understands the importance of putting away food for the months ahead, and what would a cellar be without pickled items. Feel welcome to join our Everything Farming group and share pictures or recipes from your canning adventures!