Sunday, September 18, 2011

A fine pickle (or two)

I'm kind of new to pickles.

Of course I've had my share of kosher dills but I don't generally love them so I haven't explored the pickle world in great detail.Until this year.

It started with too many zucchini.

Of course.

Who knew zucchini made such fantastic pickles?

Now you do.  Every recipe I found online appeared to be some version of the zucchini pickles from San Franciso's Zuni Cafe.  I figured it must be pretty good so I tried this recipe and was absolutely hooked.  A warning, though.  Let them sit a week or so.  If you try them right away you will be disappointed but a little rest takes away the harshness of the turmeric and brings everything together beautifully.  I am pretty sure that anyone who tries these will find them absolutely delightful.

 I've also been making pickled jalapenos which I know not everyone finds delightful.  But that's ok.  I am the only chile-head in my house so I keep things like this tucked away in the 'fridge just to make things interesting. I made two quarts last month and could not stop eating them and then my dad came over and between the two of us we went through all of them in no time.  Then I made a big batch for friends in California.  And then I finally made more for myself today, tweaking the recipe just a bit. I think I've done enough tweaking to call this recipe my own.  Just please, please, please, wear gloves when you slice up the jalapenos or you will have a mighty chile burn that might just turn you against these fiery, fantastic pickles. And I don't want that.  Also, if your jalapenos are the super-hot, rip-your-head-off version I recently discovered in San Jose you might just want to scrape out those seeds with your gloved hands and discard them.

I had never made refrigerator pickles before this summer. I think I thought they were a short-cut, cheater version of pickles but keeping them out of the canning kettle means they stay bright and crisp and are a snap to make.  You can buy jalapenos pretty much year round though they aren't likely to be as cheap  or fresh as they are now.  You might want to hop to it with the zucchini pickles, though.  I don't know about where you live but here in Portland autumn is most definitely on its way.

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