Monday, August 05, 2013

We Can Pickle That

I don't know whether to be amused or annoyed that by taking up home pickling, I am following a trend that is big enough to be spoofed on Portlandia.



It was pretty easy to pickle green beans a few weeks ago, so this weekend I did peaches.  Altogether not so easy.  The peaches clearly did not want to be pickled and behaved like assholes from start to finish.  I took care to select only the most perfect peaches available at the farmer's market, but they bruised themselves on the walk home.  And thus my contribution to pickling lore:  if you are going to preserve tender fruit, drive, don't walk, to the market.  Then they refused to part with their skins, even though I blanched them and tossed them into a bowl of ice.  Then they wouldn't let me cut them into quarters or separate from their stones, and the slippery motherfuckers were shooting all over the kitchen, as if they'd conspired to be popcorn instead.  Most aggravating, and in a related accident, I dropped our friend Nate's mother's large glass bowl into the brush pile, although I rescued it and it wasn't even broken.

Fruit float, dammit


I'm not so sure about the finished product.  I believe floating fruit is bad.  Not botulism bad, just rookie incompetence bad. My mistake was too few peaches, not enough brine per jar.  I now realize I should have done five pints instead of six and saved the leftover for immediate consumption.  Pickled paches are delicious when Becky makes them.  I'll let you know how mine turned out after I taste them.

Then, when I was in the peaches-squirting-out-of-my-hands stage of the process, Jon came home and  and presented me with a huge bag of produce from a local farm.  For a moment, I was one with the farmwife of yore, slaving over a hot, sticky stove for hours to put up her fruit, and suddenly getting a peck of beans that need to be done too.  Luckily (?)  the produce Jon brought home turned out to be uncannable stuff like lettuce and peppers.

I did a little  rearranging and now have part of a shelf designated for canning supplies and products.


Also this weekend, we met a new friend, a one week old Berkshire hog.
Don't call me Wilbur


And found our first ripe habanero.


Still anxiously waiting for our figs to ripen.  I want to make fig jam!

11 comments:

  1. Pickled Green Beans ARE the easiest of all the pickles I make, as is okra. Peaches? They are work. I try to mention that when I teach - peaches & tomatoes are work. You are not alone in your realization of how much work they are - http://next-course.com/2013/07/09/pickled-peaches/

    Under ripe peaches can be difficult to peel - and clingstone peaches are difficult to get the stone out. I've done two classes this summer with under ripe clingstones and they were bitch.

    Peaches shrink up a bit in the hot water bath process and will float up. It's harmless - in time, they should float back down. Mine do that too.

    I've got a bushel of peaches sitting in my kitchen that I'm about to deal with. Perhaps a post on the short cuts I have for dealing with peaches is in order.

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    1. Shortcuts would be much appreciated! It's good to know the floating is harmless.

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  2. Pickled peaches? Why? Haven't you folks ever heard of jam?

    And I, too, am plagued by the floating fruit phenomenon. I know there must be a way to get it evenly distributed throughout the jar, but no one will tell me what it is.

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    1. I love jam, but I got to taste Becky's peach pickles and I had to try to make them.

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  3. If you do a hot pack and boil your peaches before putting them in the jar, some of the air in the peach will escape and they'll be heavier. But yes, pack the jars full of peaches, then cover with syrup. They should settle down as they cool. They're gorgeous and in the middle of a dreary january? They're sunshine in a bottle.


    I assume you didn't actually "pickle" them as in add vinegar to them, but canned them in simple syrup?

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    1. I did actually pickle them. You make a brine of vinegar, water, sugar, ginger and spices. The recipe is in the "Becky" link.

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  4. Replies
    1. It looks like we will have a bumper crop.

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  5. Um, I'm with Suburban Correspondent. I just can't imagine taking a wonderful peach and adding vinegar. However, to each his own treat :-)

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  6. I admire your trying anyway--if only for the comic value you added to my day! Peaches behaving like assholes--do love that.

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  7. I feel that very same way about peaches sometimes! This year, the stones in particular have been driving me batty. I drove home with some yummy peaches from the market only to find my three year old pressing finger prints on to the tender skin of each one. They were so perfect, a tiny dark spot bloomed almost immediately after she lifted her finger. No longer perfect, but delicious nonetheless.

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