beet, cauliflower, and cucumber pickles photo by vsimon
We are making a list and checking it twice. Sorting through our colorful pickle and jam selection, choosing just the right kind for each recipient. Wouldn’t you like to get some summer in a jar?
These gifts took some forethought. We pickled and preserved this summer. But the time spent then is paying BIG dividends now.
We had an overabundance of produce in our garden. We ate it, gave to the local food pantry, froze, dried, and canned some. This was the first time Vince made pickles and jams using a water bath canner. He became a canning maniac.
Many nights after dinner, 6-12 jars of new pickles would appear. All of the pickle recipes were from The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich.
These are mighty tasty pickles that brighten up winter meals with loads of flavor and color.
Beets were wonderfully flavored with cinnamon, allspice berries, whole cloves, brown sugar and cider vinegar.
Turmeric makes the Indian style cauliflower and cucumber spears sunny yellow. They are also highly spiced with garlic, cumin seeds, fresh ginger, a bit of very hot carrot pepper, distilled vinegar, and salt. These are my favorite.
Whole red cherry peppers were pickled with a garlic clove, bay leaf, several whole peppercorns, distilled vinegar, and salt. They are so pretty with the green stems intact.
Dills, dills, dills. We have many.
These are pretty too. One recipe of sliced cucumbers has a sliver of hot carrot pepper, a chunk of red cherry pepper, whole dill seed heads, and yellow mustard seeds.
Another recipe of chunked cucumbers has dill heads, grape leaves, garlic, another sliver of carrot pepper, black peppercorns, distilled vinegar, and salt.
plum jam photo by vsimon
Vince made plum, ground cherry with orange, tomato, tomatillo, and arctic kiwi jams. Our homemade jams are made with love and sugar. We left the high fructose corn syrup out, unlike most store bought kinds.
The plum and ground cherry jams are winners!! These are perfect slathered on wonder buns. We need to make more next year.
ground cherry jam with orange photo by vsimon
One orange tomato jam used pineapple tomatoes flavored with ginger. Another jam used yellow peach tomatoes flavored with lemon.
Both of these jams are good on toast. And also make excellent pan sauces for pork or chicken. Just cook the meat, then melt a bit of jam in the pan. Scrape up the browned bits and you have an instant sweet and tangy sauce.
Great gifts, don’t you think? Plan ahead and next year you may be able to share your riches too.
Note to self, buy more jars.