We have just had a freakishly early first snow here in Queens. With temperatures in the mid 30s, summer is clearly long gone. And yet I am not surprised. It certainly has been a record year for natural (or should I say unnatural) occurences here in New York. Remember that one week this summer? First there was an earthquake, then a hurricane. In New York? All in the same week? It definitely had me wondering whether the apocalypse was truly upon us.
Well, we are all still here, and so are some of the pickles I made that week. The day before the hurricane was supposed to make it’s way up to New York, I spent the better part of the morning picking all my vegetable plants clean. Well, the hurricane came and went relatively uneventfully, and here I was left with a basket full of cucumbers and little unripe pear tomatoes that we were never going to finish before they spoiled. So naturally I just made a big batch of dill pickle brine and pickled ’em all.
DILL PICKLED VEGETABLES
INGREDIENTS, yields about 2 quarts or 4 pints
2 qts. tightly packed cut cucumbers or green tomatoes
1 tsp. coriander seed
1 tsp. mustard seed
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 jalapeno, split lengthwise
1 c. white distilled vinegar
3 c. water
1/4 c. kosher salt
1. Wash and cut vegetables (cut cucumbers into spears or slices, and tomatoes into halves or quarters) and pack into sterile canning jars. Divide dill sprigs among the jars.
2. For the brine, combine coriander, mustard seed, garlic, jalapeno, vinegar, water, and salt in a stainless steel or non-reactive sauce pan. Bring to a boil.
3. Pour hot brine over vegetables, evenly dividing the spices, and leaving about 1/2″ headspace.
4. Seal jars with sterile bands and lids and process in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes. Let jars cool at room temperature for 12 hours. Check the seals. Remove the bands, then try pressing on the center of the lids, and lifting the jars by the lids. If the lids don’t give when you press them and don’t pop off, when you lift them, the jars are sealed. Properly processed and sealed jars may be stored in a cool dark place for up to 6 months.
5. Alternatively you can skip the canning process and store pickles in the refrigerator. They will keep for about 4 weeks.