It’s been a while since my last update, but life has been pretty busy. In addition to the ongoing chaos of renovations, I had to travel back to Ontario for a week to take care of some stuff, and since I’ve returned it’s been a whirlwind of busy-ness: yardwork & gardening & setting up the new (functional-but-not-quite-finished) kitchen & trying to get back into a work routine, etc etc.
While I was away, the garden went bonkers and I am now wading through a glut of zucchini and cucumbers. So this weekend I am working on preserving some of that excess, starting with my first round of garlic dill pickles.
Garlic Dill Pickles
The recipe is super simple: cucumbers are chunked up into thick slices & packed into pint jars with dill seed, peppercorns, hot pepper flakes, mustard seed, coriander seed, and garlic cloves, then topped with pickling brine and hot-water-bath processed for 10 minutes.
Pickling is shockingly easy, guys.
Growing up, I remember my Mom doing huge batches of canning and pickling — dozens of jars in dozens of batches, taking days at a time and filling up shelf after shelf in the basement. It was an epic process that would destroy the kitchen and make a gawdawful mess. I was never interested in it — it seemed like so much work and planning and mess and chaos.
It was a revelation when I discovered that this isn’t how it has to be. It turns out that it’s possible to do small batch canning — prepping and preserving just a few jars at time, easily done on a lazy weekend afternoon. This made canning feel sane and achievable, something I could do in my small city kitchen to make use of some of the amazingly cheap & just-picked produce from the farmer’s market at the end of our street in Toronto. It was easy and fun, and that summer I made some of the best pickles I’ve ever had.
My go-to small batch canning books are Food in Jars and Preserving by the Pint, both by Marisa McClellan. Lovely books with excellent recipes and great photography. I strongly recommend picking these up if you’re even remotely interested in doing your own pickling and preserving.
I have other books to recommend, but those will be for another day. Right now I’m going to start today’s pickling extravaganza, which, if all goes well, will include Zucchini Sriracha fridge pickles, Zucchini-Apple-Ginger chutney, and maybe some Sweet and Spicy Zucchini Relish. We’ll see how it goes.