Sunday, May 10, 2015

I'm still trending on quick pickles!

Not surprisingly, my obsession with quick pickling continues. As a member of an online home canning group I see all kinds of recipes for pickles and relishes, and yes.... it enables me to grow my hoard of food. Being a household of just two people though, we don't normally need 10 to 12 jars of everything. This is where quick pickling comes in. 

While it's never recommended to alter recipes for home canning it is perfectly ok to alter a recipe to use as a quick pickle, since we aren't concerned about pH and acidity and shelf stability. We just want fresh, good flavor and jars that sit in the fridge. 

With that in mind, a recipe was shared in that canning group the other day that really caught my eye. I love using unusual ingredients and this recipe is a kohlrabi pickle. You might remember, kohlrabi was the bane of my childhood. My dad grew it in the garden, my mom cooked the life out of it and served it boiled with butter. Not the best way to showcase any vegetable. Just last summer I finally got brave enough to buy a kohlrabi at the farmers market. I did not cook it, I used it in a slaw and fell in love, so of course I wanted to check out this pickle recipe.

This recipe is a hybrid of bread and butter and garlic dill, with crunchy kohlrabi and tart Granny Smith apple, it's sure to be a favorite around here. I am changing the amounts of ingredients to make it more "us friendly" and just a quart jar at a time, but will also include the complete directions for home canning, as provided by Let's get started.

Kohlrabi Apple Pickles

For each quart jar, you need:

1 purple kohlrabi*
1 large Granny Smith apple
2 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 sprigs fresh dill**
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
freshly ground black pepper

Wash, peel and julienne the kohlrabi and apple. I like a substantial "matchstick", not really small pieces. Pack into clean quart jar. Add garlic cloves (I like to split mine in half or crush them slightly, to release more flavor), the mustard seeds and dill.

In a saucepan, heat the vinegar, water and sugar together until sugar is dissolved and mixture is almost boiling. Add a grind or two of black pepper.

Pour the brine over the pickles in the jar. Pop the lid on and stick in the fridge.

Allow the pickles to age at least a couple weeks before using. If you like a little heat in your pickles, tuck a cayenne or other dried hot pepper in the jar too. Poke a few holes in it to allow the brine to infuse better.

* If you can only find green kohlrabi, those are fine also
** If you don't have fresh dill, use a teaspoon of dill seeds, slightly crushed or a tablespoon dried dillweed.

Since I am not processing in a canner I can use any kind of jar I want. This is a great way to recycle commercial jars- like glass mayo jars or old pickle jars, or even those cool jars with hinged lids that you find in the store. I also skipped the salt/rinse step- when I make quick pickles I don't do this at all. I like the veggies to be pretty much in their natural state when I make these recipes. If you decide to make these to store on the shelf- FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS completely!! Don't skip any steps! This recipe is tested as written for safety. Here is the recipe as written by Fresh Preserving-

Purple kohlrabi (relative of the cabbage) and granny smith apples thinly sliced, in a sweet pickle with spices. Best to open a jar 6-8 weeks after you've made a batch to allow time for the vinegar to mellow. Serve cold with grilled meats or as part of an antipasto platter.

6 purple kohlrabi
3 tablespoons kosher or pickling salt
2 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar (5% acidity)
2 1/4 cups water
2 1/4 cups white sugar
freshly ground black pepper
6 large granny smith apples
6 large garlic cloves
6 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
6 sprigs fresh dill

Prepare kohlrabi.
Wash, trim and remove stalks. Julienne finely. Stir in kosher salt and rub to distribute. Cover, refrigerate for 3 hours. Then press gently in a sieve to remove liquid. Taste, if too salty rinse gently then drain well.

Prepare jars.
Prepare jars by covering in water and boiling for 10 minutes.

Prepare apples.
Wash, peel, core. Finely julienne (same size as kohlrabi).

Prepare pickling solution.
Measure vinegar, water, sugar and pepper into a pan. Heat over medium until sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil. Add kohlrabi and apple, stir gently and bring back to a boil, then turn off the heat and bottle immediately.

Prepare lids.
While you are packing the kohlrabi mixture into hot jars, place the lids into a pan of previously boiling water. Do not simmer or boil, just let the lids heat through for a few minutes while you fill the jars, removing lids from the water when you are ready to place them on the jars to seal.

Ladle hot vegetables into hot jars.
Place a peeled garlic clove, 1 teaspoon mustard seed and a sprig of dill into each pint (450ml) jar, and spoon the hot vegetables into the hot jars, leaving 1/2 in headspace. Ladle hot pickling solution to the 1/2 inch headspace. Remove bubbles, check headspace is correct, then wipe rims and seal.

Boiling water canner processing.
Process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes. Start your timer when the water returns to a full boil.When the time is up, turn off the heat and rest jars in the water for 5 minutes before placing on a towel-covered counter overnight to cool.

Next day: check for seals.
Check jars have sealed before labeling and storing in a cool, dry, dark place for up to 12 months. Lids should not flex up and down when pressed. If jars have not sealed, refrigerate immediately.

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