Saturday, August 15, 2009

Historical Project: Pickling Vegetables

Dusty D loves food--salty, savory food. And we have a "hundred- year- rule" in the house--we don't eat anything that wasn't eaten a hundred years ago. Why do we have this silly rule?

One reason is economy. Dusty D loves to cook and likes to think I can save lots of money by cooking everything from scratch.

Two is for health reasons. Neither of us feel as good when eating anything processed, even a store-bought cookie, much less a TV dinner (that's out, violates 100-year rule) or cereal (at $4 a pound, or, meat prices, I'll have a nice steak for breakfast instead of a sad little bowl of flakes, thankee) or whatever.

Bratwurst is processed--but they sure were eating sausage 100 years ago. That's in! Beer? Good heavens, the Egyptians made it. In! Whole chicken? Yep, I can make that baby stretch throughout an entire week, including lunches. Chicken nuggets? Nope. And so on. But we're not total sticklers--we do buy sugar for instance. Michigan Made Beet Sugar, I hasten to add. But I do make all our bread and the yoghurt we have every day for breakfast.

OK, all that said, while filing the other day I found a neat handout that local apiatrix Lisa Bashert had given me on how to pickle veggies. My mouth started watering, remembering the Tony Packo pickled vegetables I'd eaten as a child growing up near Toledo. And he made it sound so easy--and I had lots of dill growing in the garden! My sweetie got so interested he made a special trip for garlic and then I was off to the races.

I cleaned and chopped garlic (6 bulbs), carrots (6), a head of cauliflower, a handful of radishes, a big white onion, and grabbed a handful of dill from the garden. Here's the first layer in the crock pit crock.

Here's the crock filled with beautiful vegetables, layered with dill. I had to gently shake the crock to help the vegetables settle into a tightly- packed mass. Sprinkled a pinch of chili seeds on top.

The brine is 3/4 unit of salt per 10 units of water, so I added 3/4 cup of salt to a pitcher and added 10 cups of water.

The recipe also includes 1/4 cup of vinegar per gallon, so in went 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar, plus a sploosh--the crock volume is a bit over a gallon.

I filled the crock almost up to the top and got my cleaned plate. I positioned the plate right on top of the veggies and weighed it with a washed gallon jar fulled with water. Added the last bit of brine to bring it right up to the lip of the crock, making sure every vegetable is perfectly covered.
Covered the whole thing loosely with a plastic bag to keep dust out and there we go. It should be ready in 2 weeks...but we're already planning to start another crock next week. We'll see how it goes--it could be a complete disaster, or a source of wonderful healthy snacks, side dishes, and lunch tidbits.

So the only thing to remember is:

3/4 units salt per 10 units water for general brine, plus 1/4 cup vinegar per gallon of veggies.

Below are scans of the original flier if you'd like to try this too. Wish me luck!


Fritz said...

One loophole in the 100 year rule that I especially like is that I define it as 100 years ago... anywhere on Earth.

I like variety. And I like the variety that comes from Thailand or Poland much more than the variety of the latest mind-share-grabbers from Pepsico or General Mills.

Dusty D said...

Yes sir--sesame noodles and cabbage rolls FTW.

Kristin Perkins Glass Jewelry said...

Sounds good! Let us know how they turned out!

Sandy D. said...

I'll be waiting to see how this turns out, too.

I just read a book called "Kitchen Literacy" last month, that detailed the (decreasing) amount that Americans know about their food and where it comes from in the last couple of centuries. Sounds like something you would like.

Interestingly, Shredded Wheat (which I find about as interesting as cardboard, but my husband enjoys) date to the late 1800's.

Anonymous said...

I'm also making pickles...fingers crossed on that one!
Have you tried dilly beans? I am canning them for the first time this year--fingers crossed on those too :)

PS: I also know Lisa & Beth...bought two cars from Beth, in fact, and went to their Seder last year. They are both super duper cool

Dusty D said...

Kristin: Thanks for reading, and for the interest! They smell SO GOOD I really don't know how we'll be able to wait 2 weeks.

Dusty D said...

Sandy D, you're right about the Shredded Wheat, absolutely. My comment was a bit too sweeping, there. I was thinking more of those pricey cereals I see in the co-op.

The book sounds wonderful. Thank you for the recommendation; it's on my list!

Dusty D said...

TeacherPatti: Lisa and Beth are both super cool. I got to take a tour of Lisa's garden earlier this year and Beth was extremely gracious while we were there. Lots of fun.

Yep, I've seen recipes for dilly beans but have never tried them. We do have lots of beans this year, and dill, (and a canning outfit) so it sounds worth looking into--thank you for the tip!

Lisele said...

OK, dilly beans are my special, special favorite. I have a great recipe, if you want to try them. BUT only DD will have the actual blue Shackamaxon beans that are what I use (since I gave her seeds). I have done about 6 jars so far, but will do many more. Some years, we've done an entire bushel.

Dusty D said...

Lisele: The Shackamaxons are growing like crazy on our bean teepees. Beautiful and vigorous plants. So fun. I would absolutely love your recipe for dilly beans if it's not too much trouble.

I do plan to save the best Shackamaxons for next year. They are an amazing bean.

Lisele said...

Here's the recipe for the greatest dilly beans. In clean quart jars put:
1 clove garlic
1 hot pepper (serrano, jalapeno or fish, all good)
1 small head of dill
1 tsp pickling spice, heaping
1 tsp mustard seed, scant

Pack the jars very tightly with prepared beans -- for Shackamaxons, pinch off ends and carefully remove all strings.

Brine: 4 parts cider vinegar plus 3/4 part kosher salt, boiling. Pour into jars to within 1/2 inch of top and wipe edge with clean cloth.

Tighten lids & process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Dusty D said...

Lisele: Oh my. We have piles of beans AND dill, and your recipe makes my mouth water. I think I'm gonna head out into the garden right now with my colander. Thank you for your kindness in putting down the recipe!