Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Rhubarb pickles, or, wouldn't I rather be at the beach?
What do other people do when it's 43 degrees (C) with the humidex???
Boil giant pots of water, and smaller pots of vinegar??? Then stand next to them in your tiny, non-air-conditioned, minimal air-flow kitchen for an hour chopping and mixing and measuring???
It seems crazy to me....but I know there are lots of you out there (Probably not many of you dance around to minimal techno while doing so?). That's part of the reason I don't often post to this blog. I spend so much time reading others...it sometimes seems pointless to add more recipes that are almost always riffing off of other people. Anyway, that said, I've always figured this blog is more for me to keep track of ratios and things (rather than my stained, crinkled, losing-its-pages, kitchen journal).
And today I made pickled rhubarb. Couldn't find the recipe I used last year (re: losing-its-pages kitchen journal), so I thought I should keep track of it somewhere I can't lose it for next time. I like to do small batch pickling so I can try different versions and make more based on what I like/don't like. I also rarely eat the pickles (or jams or other preserves I make). Sometimes I question this - am I being wasteful? I do give some away, and *cross my fingers* they are eaten by the giftees. Mostly I just enjoy the process. I don't have a lot of hobbies. Cooking, preserving, reading about food, dreaming about food - these are my hobbies. I also occasionally like taking pictures of food, and i'm sure my facebook friends are getting bored of seeing the few I do post there.
I somewhat followed this recipe from food in jars writer Marisa McClellan, via the Serious Eats series "In a pickle." I did reduce the amount of sugar, as I prefer things very tart, we'll see how that turns out. Also changed the spices based on my memory (and the remnants of last year's jar). This time around I did do a boiling water bath, rather than making fridge pickles. I'm hoping they stay crisp!
3 1/2 pint jars
Enough rhubarb to fill said jars (I made a sample piece first to size the rest against).
Boil jars 10 mins.
Put lids and rings in boiled water, with the heat turned off.
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar (original recipe called for one cup)
1/2 tsp sugar
To each jar I added:
1/2 dried chili
1/4 tsp of mustard seeds - heaping
1/4 tsp of coriander seeds - scant
1/4 tsp of peppercorns - scant
one jar also got ONE clove.
Remove jars from boiling water bath.
Fill with spices. Fill with rhubarb. Ladle over brine. Put on lids and turn rings *just* finger tight.
Take a picture in case the stalks lose their vibrant colour in the water bath.
Process jars 10 minutes.
Take another picture, happy they are still pink :) But sigh because the pretty pink brine boils up out of the jars all over your white dish towel, because you didn't leave enough head space.
So far this year in rhubarb I've also made:
Rhubarb Wheat Beer Jam (using Shocktop beer, I want to try a batch using Fruili strawberry flavoured wheat beer)
Rhubarb Syrup (I refused to throw out the strained rhubarb mush, so I kept it and ate it on yogurt. I'm so proud of myself for actually eating it all! I'm going to make another batch. Of course, I haven't used any of the syrup yet. I'm thinking cocktails, but I'm more of a beer/wine girl).
Oh and a rhubarb cake, a la Smitten Kitchen. I'm not much of a baker, and I don't really like sweet things, but I'm trying to really make the most of seasonal produce (eating more of it fresh, rather than preserving it for later), and I do love rhubarb. I brought this into work and it got devoured pretty quickly.
Don't worry, I have gotten lots of beach time in this year too!