Instead of Paying My Bills, I Spent All Afternoon Chopping Cucumbers: Dill Relish Recipe

Last summer I made the recipe dill relish from the Ball Book.  It was pretty delicious.  The original recipe calls to shred the cucumbers with a food processor, though, and I ended up acting like a four year old about it all winter.  (like this: RELISH IS SUPPOSED TO BE LITTLE TINY CUBES OF CUCUMBER.  THE STUFF FROM THE GROCERY STORE IS IN CUBES, NOT SHREDDED.  WHY ISN’T THIS LIKE THAT.)  The other day, I decided that I really, really didn’t want to do any of the important stuff I was supposed to be working on, and that spending the afternoon chopping cucumbers into a 2 mm. dice would be a much more productive use of my time.dill relishI’m pleased to let you know that the work was totally worth it, and this relish is so awesome it makes me want to eat hot dogs every day.  Chopping all these cukes wasn’t as awful as you’d think, either.  If you’re the kind of crazy person who likes to prep giant piles of citrus fruit for marmalade (like me) then this is actually a wonderfully relaxing project.  If you’re normal,  you can definitely just use the food processor instead and it still tastes great.  pickling cucumbersDILL RELISH, adapted from the recipe in the Ball Book of Home Preserving

Brunoise means to cut into a very small dice, between 2 and 4 mm.  (It’s funny, because if you know happen to know what “brunoise” means, you’ll probably notice that I did a really lame job of actually doing it properly.)  Don’t be scared by the fancy word though: the idea is just that you’re cutting the cucumber and onion into teeny pieces.  If you don’t want to, just shred it.

Makes: 14 pints

Cook Time: ha! hours.

Ingredients:

  • 12 lbs. pickling cucumbers, brunoised
  • 2 onions, brunoised
  • 3/4 c. kosher salt
  • 6 c. water
  • 3 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. celery seed
  • 1/4 c. chopped dill fronds and blossoms
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 6 c. white vinegar

Combine the cucumbers, onions, water and salt in a nonreactive container.  Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Prepare boiling water canner, jars and lids.

Drain the cucumber mixture and then rinse it thoroughly with cold water.  Transfer the drained mixture into a large, nonreactive pot. Add the vinegar, turmeric, celery seed, dill and sugar and bring to a boil.  Turn heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Ladle the hot relish into hot, clean jars leaving 1/2″ headspace.  Use a wooden chopstick to remove air bubbles and adjust headspace. Process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath, adjusting for altitude as necessary.

PS: I didn’t remove the air bubbles as well as I should have, and ended up with a couple jars that have way too much headspace.  Don’t skip this step!

Cook it! 2012 August Resolution

My camera is broken. It’s super tragic.

Nothing is coming into focus.  I tried switching lenses. I tried switching from Autofocus to Manual and back again.  Nothing.  My iphone is cool and all, but I really had my heart set on a bunch of pretty macro pictures of mustard seeds and cucumber slices. Now I have to ship it to Canon to get fixed, right when my sunflowers are blooming and there’s all these good projects going on in the kitchen.

(……I guess that’s not all that bad for a cell phone pic…)

Oh well.  So I apologize for the delay in announcing this month’s Cook it! 2012 Resolution, which, as you may realize by now, is…

MAKE PICKLES

This was another month where I was tempted to tackle a more complicated project, but since the summer months are apparently really busy, I wanted to make sure that I stuck to the basics.  Specifically, finding time to get some cucumbers into jars.  I’ve made plenty of pickles, but somehow, last year it just never happened.  Which is crazy, since they’re so easy to make, and I think bread and butter pickles are so vital to being alive that I’ll gladly fork over $5.50 for a good jar at the Natural Food Store.

My cucumbers are awful this year, but I bartered some eggs with one of my friends and ended up with a garbage bag full of beautiful pickling cucumbers from his garden.  (When he said “I hope you’re prepared for this” to me on the phone, I answered with an emphatic “I can’t wait” but once I started packing the jars, I realized that we’re going to have pickles to last well into the apocalypse now.  I guess that’s a good thing, though).

Bread & Butter Pickles, adapted from the recipe in the Fannie Farmer cookbook

FYI: These pickles are cool because they’re sweetened with maple syrup.  

Cook Time: 3 1/2 hrs (including time for the cucumbers to sweat)

Makes: 4 pints

Ingredients:

  • 6 c. pickling cucumbers, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 1/2 lbs. onions, sliced into 1″ squares
  • 1 red bell peppers, cored and cut into 1″ squares
  • 1/4 c. kosher salt

For the brine:

  • 2 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 1/4  c. maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. tumeric
  • 1/4 tsp. whole cloves
  • 1 tbs. mustard seeds

Combine the cucumbers, onions, bell peppers in salt in a nonreactive container.  Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours.*  After the time is up, drain in a colander and rinse everything very thoroughly with cold water.

Bring boiling water canner to a boil.  Sterilize 4 clean pint jars.  Put the clean lids and rings into a small pot, cover with water, bring to a simmer, then turn off the heat.

Combine the ingredients for the brine in a pot on the stove.  Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes.   Pack the prepared vegetables into the sterilized jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace.  Cover with hot brine (leaving 1/4″ headspace still).  Poke around the jars with a chopstick to remove air bubbles and then adjust the headspace with more brine if necessary.  Wipe rims clean and screw on lids.

Process for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude if necessary.

These pickles are good if you let them sit for atleast a couple days before you eat them, but even better if you let them sit for a couple weeks.

*This is not something that you can let sit for longer and have it be better.  The salt soaks into the cucumbers and then it’s impossible to rinse off.  And then they taste disgusting.

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To be included in the pickle round-up, e-mail me a link to your post by September 20, 2012.  My e-mail is thejamgirl@gmail.com.
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