Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cooking Made Easy - Quick and Easy, No Can Pickles


From the Kitchens of Cheesecake Farms
www.CheesecakeFarms.com






Got more cucumbers than you can eat?
How about making pickles?

Now don't roll your eyes at me.  
Here's some nifty, oh so easy, no-can pickles that whip up faster than you can say Martha Stewart.   
I've scaled down the recipes into small, modern family sized batches, too.

Ready to impress your gourmet pals?

Let's get into the kitchen!

Un-Canny Quick Sweet Pickles
Real pickle taste without canning.

Makes about 1-1/2 cups pickles

1 pound pickling cucumbers
1 cup sugar
1 cup white vinegar
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon whole mustard seeds

Wash cucumbers well under tepid running water.  Drain.  Cut about 1/4 inch off each end of each cucumber removing both the stem and blossom ends.  Discard.  Cut cucumbers into 1/4 inch thick slices.  Put into a heat safe bowl. Cover slices with boiling water.  Let sit at room temperature 2 hours.

Drain cucumbers.  Do not rinse.  Pack slices into a canning jar or other heat safe container with a tight fitting lid.

Combine remaining ingredients in a pot.  Cover.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, to dissolve sugar.  Pour boiling liquid over cucumber slices.  Cool slightly and cap.  Refrigerate at least over night before eating to allow flavors to develop.  Keeps several weeks in the refrigerator.  Do not store at room temperature.  



No Salt - No Canning Refrigerator Dill Pickles

Miss the great taste of pickles on your burgers and sandwiches because you're on a low salt diet?
These are just what the doctor ordered!

Makes 1 quart

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 large sprig fresh dill - left on stem (about 1/4 cup) or 1 tablespoon dried dill
2 cups prepared cucumbers (see Karla's Tip below)
1 1/2 cups tap water
1 cup apple cider vinegar

Put herbs into a one quart canning jar.  Add cucumbers.

Put water and vinegar into a small pot and bring to a boil.  Pour boiling liquid over cucumbers.  Cap jar.  Cool at room temperature for 1 hour.  Refrigerate (unopened) at least 3 weeks before using.  Store in refrigerator up to 3 months.  Do not store at room temperature.


Karla's Tip
This recipe was developed using salad type, waxed, grocery store cucumbers.  They were peeled to remove the wax and cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds.  

Home grown and pickling cucumbers that are not waxed do not require peeling. If you are not sure if your cucumbers are waxed, assume they are and peel them.


Easy Freezer Pickles
This funny little recipe goes together in no time flat.  The pickles are not as crisp as those made by canning but they taste good and are an easy way to preserve the harvest.  Come the winter, you'll surprise everyone with home made taste.

You'll notice that there are no spices in this recipe.  That's because you'll probably be freezing the pickles in plastic containers and the smell of pickling spices (especially garlic) will seep through plastic making everything in your freezer taste like pickles.

These pickles are lovely without any added spices but if you want, you can stir in a bit of your favorite when they're thawed.


Makes about 3 cups

2 pounds pickling cucumbers
1 tablespoon Kosher or pickling salt
1 onion (about 2 1/2 inches in diameter)
1/2 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup sugar

Wash cucumbers well under tepid running water.  Drain.  Cut about 1/4 inch off each end of each cucumber removing both the stem and blossom ends.  Discard.  Cut cucumbers into 1/4 inch thick slices.  You should have 5 cups.  A little more or less is OK.  Put into a large bowl and sprinkle with salt.

Peel onion and slice into rings 1/4 inch thick.  Separate rings.  Add to cucumbers and toss to mix.  Let mixture sit at room temperature (lightly covered) 3 hours.

After 3 hours.  Drain mixture well.  Do not rinse.  Pack into freezer safe and heat safe containers to 3/4 inch from the top of the container.

Put vinegar and sugar into a small pot.  Cover.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, to melt sugar.  Pour boiling mixture over cucumber and onions to 1/2 inch from top of the container to allow for expansion during freezing. Cap container.  Cool slightly and freeze.  Thaw in refrigerator.  Thawed pickles keep about 1 week in the refrigerator.  Drain pickles before serving.

Karla's Tip
Since plastic containers come in all sizes and shapes, so you may need more liquid to cover your cucumbers and onions.  Make additional batches of sugar and vinegar as needed.  
  

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 

Cucumber facts

Cucumbers have been eaten for thousands of years and are believed to have originated in India.  The English word cucumber originated from Indian word "kachumbar".

Cucumber belongs to the same family as pumpkins, zucchinis and squash.

In cooking, cucumbers are prepared as a vegetable but like tomatoes and squash they develop from a flower so they're technically a fruit.

There are hundreds of varieties of cucumbers but basically only two types - eating (or slicing) and pickling.

Eating cucumbers are larger, smooth and have more moisture.  They are usually waxed to preserve their moisture.    

Pickling cucumbers are short and stocky with bumpy skin.  They have less moisture than the eating type and are never waxed.

Most cucumbers are eaten green (unripe).  
Ripe cucumbers (yellow or yellow and white) are bitter.  
There are some varieties of actual yellow cucumbers which are meant to be eaten yellow and are not bitter.
Cucumbers are pickled for flavor and to preserve them.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Healthful Facts
Cucumbers are low in saturated fat,  cholesterol and sodium.  Raw, they are a good source of enzymes, vitamin A, pantothenic acid, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese, vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium. 

Cucumbers help digest protein and have healing properties for kidney, urinary tract, liver and pancreas.  Raw cucumbers, when applied to the skin, can help reduce heat and inflammation.  Their potassium content helps keep blood pressure in check and is a nutritional plus for diabetics.

No comments: