Saturday, September 1, 2012
What's for Dinner?
We have cucumbers coming out our ears this year! In desperation of ways to utilize them I decided to try my hand at pickles. I have never done any canning before. And I'm here to tell you it was easy! I found this great recipe for refrigerator pickles and just adapted it so I could can some to save for later. I did not use pickling cucumber, just regular ones. Next year I will pick them when they are about 4-5 inches long though! There is a jar of each in the picture, you can see the difference in color? The half empty jar is the refrigerator ones. They are brighter green and need to be eaten in a couple weeks and of course kept in the refrigerator! They are delicious!
Bread and Butter Pickles
5 1/2 cups (1 1/2 pounds) thinly sliced pickling cucumbers
1 1/2 Tablespoons kosher salt
1 cup thinly sliced sweet onion
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup light brown sugar (packed)
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
1. Combine cucumbers and salt in a large, shallow bowl; cover and chill 1 1/2 hours. Move cucumbers into a colander and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Drain well, and return cucumbers to bowl. Add onion to the bowl.
2. Combine sugar and remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Pour hot vinegar mixture over cucumber mixture; let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.
*Don't cut the cucumbers too terribly thin. You want them to have a little bit of crunch to them!
To can them:
In step 2 just put the cucumbers in the vinegar mix and let heat up (I did not let them come to a boil, almost) fill warm jars, seal with lids. Place in a large pan. Fill with water about half way up the jars and heat. Again I brought it just about to a boil but didn't let it boil. Remove from pan and sit on counter to cool. You will hear the lids pop and you know your pickles are sealed! Easy as pie, or should I say cucumbers!
I got 2 1/2 pints from this and the second batch I used 8 cups of cukes and increased the liquid recipe by 1/2. I got 4 pints out of that.
Also made a pot of Tomato soup this week with our tomatoes. Very easy too.
4 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
1 slice onion
4 whole cloves
2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegans!)
2 tablespoons butter
Clove of garlic crushed (or to taste)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Parmesan cheese rind
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons white sugar (or to taste)
In a stockpot, over medium high heat sauté onions and garlic to release the flavors. Add the tomatoes, cloves, italian seasoning, broth and cheese rind. Bring to a boil, and gently boil for about 20 minutes to blend all of the flavors. Remove from heat and blend in blender or food processor (let cool a little bit!). Pour thru a strainer and discard any stuff left over in the strainer. Reheat if necessary.
Top each bowl with homemade croutons and basil!
*I removed the cheese rind, but you could leave it in to blend, it was soft and gooey by then.
All you need now is a grilled cheese sandwich and you've got a great meal!
This post is linked up with Weekend Cooking over @Beth Fish Reads. Stop over and see what everyone's cooking!