Tag Archives: canning

Tickle me please….

refrigerator pickles

Refrigerator Pickles (oops someone opened this jar already!                      Photo Credit: Pudbudder Press

Do pickles tickle your fancy? I’ve been pickling cucumbers for years, but in more recent times it’s become more and more difficult to find the time and the space – especially to store them.

Since recently downsizing to a smaller home, storage space is at a premium everywhere, including in the kitchen, so when a refrigerator pickle recipe caught my eye in a recent issue of Cooking Light, my interest was sparked. I stored the idea away on the back burner until we got through our recent relocation to Dunedin on the Gulf Coast of Florida.

Pickling goes way beyond cucumbers. Some of our family’s favorites in recent years have been  my sweet pickles pepper strips  and my hot pepper relish   Both of these recipes made good use of my garden’s bounty.

Aside from the storage space issue I’m now faced with, I’m finding it difficult to find the right spot to use my hot water bath canner. When we traded our old grill that had a side burner for a newer one without a side burner, I found that the flat top electric range just doesn’t work well with this type of canner. The weight of the pot full of water and product makes for a very heavy load for the glass top possibly causing damage to the range and providing uneven heat distribution necessary to maintain the constant boil required for this type of canning. Marisa McClellan of Food In Jars blog addressed this recently and shares her tips and suggestions here so check it out for more info.

So in walks the refrigerator pickle – a quick way to make a delicious couple of jars that keep their crunch and couldn’t be easier.

This particular recipe comes from Food Network’s Ted Allen.  I’ve captured the recipe below or you can follow a link directly to Food Network here:

Refrigerator Pickles from Ted Allen

Brine:
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 6 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Several sprigs of fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon pink peppercorns (Ted’s recommendation if you can find them)

You’ll find Ted’s list below, but really anything you like to pickle works. My personal favorite is cauliflower, and I am going to try just cucumbers and cauliflower next time, adding carrots or sweet red or orange pepper strips for a zap of color!

Ted’s list:

  • 6 Kirby cucumbers, quartered lengthwise
  • 6 young spring carrots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 handful large scallion pieces or green beans
  • cauliflower florets
  • 4 small hot red chiles or 2 jalapenos (I used jalapenos)

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to have homemade pickle products, this is the way to go.

Do you have a favorite refrigerator pickle recipe?? If so please share!!

By the way, I ordered a Tower Garden and hope to have it up and running next week and will update my readers then. Really excited to get into aeroponic gardening. I’ve been admiring this method for a few years now and finally took the plunge at a local home show. Stay tuned for more….. 

photo credit: Pudbudder Press

A hot little holiday number – Datil Devil Sauce!

A beatufil batch of Datil peppers from last year's garden. Photo Credit: Words Etc.

A beatufil batch of Datil peppers from last year’s garden.
Photo Credit: Words Etc.

A few days ago, I shared my recipe for black bean burgers that I’ve been making for several years.  A touch that I added is my Datil “Devil” Sauce in place of the traditional hot sauce found on most grocery shelves. Hot sauce is so pretty and makes a delightful holiday gift from the kitchen.

Now there are a ton of hot sauces out there with all sorts of flashy names.  Mine is a simple sauce with a simple name.  If you’re not familiar with the Datil Pepper, you will find a link to some info in a former post of mine here.

This recipe couldn’t be easier, using a base of plain old ketchup. If Datils are not available, use any pepper from your garden’s yield or that you may find at your local produce or farmer’s market.   And remember you can freeze peppers and use them later in your recipes.

I’ve probably cautioned before about working with hot peppers, please protect your hands with gloves to avoid some very uncomfortable burning sensations that will last for several hours. Take care not to touch your face or eyes with those gloves too!   If you’ve worked with hot peppers and have made that mistake, you know exactly what I’m talking about…..

A batch of brightly colored Datil Devil Sauce. Photo credit: Words Etc.

A batch of brightly colored Datil Devil Sauce.
Photo credit: Words Etc.

Christine’s Datil Pepper “Devil” Sauce

Puree together in a food processor:
2 cups Datil peppers stemmed. Seed if you desired a less hot sauce.
2 large cloves garlic
½ cup cider vinegar

In a medium saucepan, mix together 64 oz ketchup (Heinz is best)
2 ½ cups cider vinegar. Add pureed pepper mixture and stir well. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes.
Cool slightly, then pour into sterilized bottles with non-metallic lids.

I save smaller glass bottles throughout the year. Bottles from soy sauce, chili sauce or empty single-serving glass wine bottles work well for this sauce. I find smaller bottles are better so you have a few to give as gifts.

These peppers are cute, but don’t be fooled. They are hot! So protect your hands as with any hot pepper. The sauce is good by itself if you like hot stuff, but is also good to spike up salsa. A dab atop a cracker spread with cream cheese is beyond comparison.

Besides being a great addition to Black Bean Burgers, try blending a few tablespoons of the sauce with an 8 oz brick of cream cheese, thinned with a little milk for another spicy use of this sauce. Here are some more ideas for using this sauce or your favorite hot sauce:

Cocktail Sauce:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup Datil sauce
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp fresh horseradish, grated, fine
  • 2 tbsp dill pickle, chopped fine

Mix together and it’s ready.

For our carnivore friends:

Marinade for Steak

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic – pressed
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme or 1 ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsps Datil pepper sauce

Marinate steak for several hours Delicious!!

Enjoy and please share your favorite way to use hot sauce!

It’s summer – time to relish those peppers!

It’s the heat of the summer and if you’re into gardening and peppers are part of your bounty, relish is a great way to keep the flavor going throughout the year.  Several years ago, I found a great recipe from Putting Up More by  Steve Dowdney.  I’ve had several requests from friends for this recipe so it’s time to share!

If you follow me on Pudbudder, you know I always tweak with my own twists and special touches. So without further adieu, get on those kitchen gloves and start cleaning those peppers, it’s time to relish those peppers.

Note:  be sure to use kitchen gloves whenever handling hot peppers and seeds.  You’ll find disposable ones at discount stores like WalMart, Dollar General etc for a nominal cost.  These peppers contain oil that will definitely leave your hands wishing you had used gloves if you don’t. 

Datil Pepper Relish ready for the pantry shelf!

Datil Pepper Relish ready to turn right side up for the pantry shelf!

Hot Pepper Relish

Yield : 3 pints

4 cups diced bell peppers – varied colors
2 cups chopped onion (yellow and red)
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
½ tbsp salt
½ tbsp mustard seed

Hot Peppers to add

  • Mild: add ¼ cup finely chopped jalapeno, seeds and veins removed
  • Standard: ¼ cup finely chopped jalapeno, leave seeds & veins
  • Medium: ¼ cup finely chopped hotter pepper – datil or cowhorn
  • Hot – ¼ cup – ½ cup haberno peppers or ½ cup datil
  • Screaming: 1 cup finely chopped hot peppers of choice and reduce bell by ½ cup

Bring vegetables, vinegar, sugar, salt and mustard seed to boil; simmer 3 minutes.

Dowdney recommends to check the pH at this point in the recipe.  However, I have had no problem with simply canning the product as stated below by ladling into sterile jars (do make sure the jars, lids and bands are sterilized), sealing and inverting, then storing in a cool dry place.  Actually this relish disappears pretty fast at our house so not sure how long the shelf life would be for this product.  But use your best judgment – test pH or process for the desired result.

Optional for testing pH: Take pot off heat and allow temp to drop to 205 degrees; test pH. If below guidelines (pH higher than 4.2), drain vinegar and add another cup vinegar per recipe. Bring to boil again. When temp reaches 205degrees, test pH again.

Ladle into sterile jars; seal and invert for at least 2 minutes.

Here are the combinations I’ve tested and developed for taste:

Batch 1:

  • 4 cups mixture green and sweet banana peppers
  • 2 cups onion – red & white mixture
  • ¼ cup Datils, seeded and veins removed, finely chopped

This one is our favorite!

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Batch 2:

  • 1 each red and 1 green bell peppers, chopped
  • (1/2 batch) ½ cup banana peppers, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped jalapenos
  • 1 cup onion, red and yellow mix

This is our second favorite.

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Batch 3:

We liked this third version the least. Suggest skipping the pickling spice if you don’t like the stronger ginger flavor in this mixture.

  • 1 red and 1 green bell pepper, chopped (2 cups)
  • (1/2 batch) 1 cup onion, red and yellow mix
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tbsps chopped cowhorn  pepper*
  • 3/4 tsp pickling spice

Cowhorn is a pepper I have grown that is similar in heat to an Anaheim pepper. (3,000 – 5,000 on Scoville.)  But be CREATIVE – use your favorite pepper and don’t be afraid to add different flavors to your relish.  Try something new, but be sure to check out where your pepper rates on the Scoville Chart to make sure it’s your kind of pepper. For something hotter, try Serrano or Thai Chili peppers, depending on your tastes.  But our favorite will always be our beloved Datil!

Creativity makes it your own and adds to the fun!   Share your ideas with me and let me know what combination you try!