Pickles are the gifts that keep on giving. If you have never tried to make your own, we suggest that you start now. You might have to wait a few days (or weeks) to taste your labors of love, but those pickles can have you savoring summer’s bounty for months to come (that is, if you don’t eat all your pickles in one sitting). So, get out your Mason jars! Here are 15 delicious things you should start pickling now:
- Corn: This stuff is equally good on tacos as it is mixed into grains for an easy lunchtime salad.
- Feta: Yes, you can even pickle cheese, and now that you know this your life will never be the same.
- Shrimp: A Southern staple, upgraded with fennel and Fresno chiles
- Swiss Chard: Stems Use rainbow chard for the prettiest pickles you ever did see.
- Eggs: The only thing cuter than pink eggs are mini pink (quail) eggs.
- Baby Squash
- Jerusalem Artichokes: Turmeric spiced Jerusalem artichoke pickles are quite popular in the Southern states.
- Nectarines: Paired here with bitter greens, fresh mint and creamy burrata
- Mustard Seeds: Mustard seeds plump up when pickled and provide an unexpected burst in your mouth when added to just about anything.
- Raisins: Used here as a garnish for duck confit
- Collared Greens
- Peaches: You don’t know love until you have tasted these spiced pickled peaches on a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
SEE MORE: Spring Farm-to-Table Cooking
These sweet-and-sour peaches perk up the flavor of ham and fried chicken; they are also very good with vanilla ice cream.
- 1 (1,000-mg) vitamin C tablet (to prevent discoloration), crushed to a powder
- 6 1/2 cups cold water
- 24 firm-ripe small peaches (6 to 7 lb)
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/4 cups distilled white vinegar
- 4 teaspoons pickling spice
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Special equipment: 6 (1-pt) canning jars with lids and screw bands; a boiling-water canner, or a deep 10- to 12-qt pot plus a flat metal rack; an instant-read thermometer
Prepare peaches: Dissolve vitamin C powder in 6 cups water in a large bowl (to acidulate water).
Cut a shallow X in bottom of each peach with a sharp paring knife and blanch in 4 batches in a 5- to 6-quart pot of boiling water 10 to 15 seconds. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice and cold water and let stand until cool enough to handle. Peel peaches, then halve lengthwise and pit. Add peaches to acidulated water and let stand 10 minutes, then drain well in a colander.
Toss peaches with sugar in a 6-quart wide heavy pot and chill, covered, at least 8 and up to 12 hours.
Sterilize jars and lids: Wash jars, lids, and screw bands in hot soapy water, then rinse well. Dry screw bands. Put jars on rack in canner and add enough water to cover jars by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, covered, then boil 10 minutes. Cover lids with water in a small saucepan and heat until thermometer registers 180°F (do not let boil). Keep jars and lids submerged in hot water, covered, until ready to use.
SEE MORE: 15 Food That Are Better Frozen
Cook and can peaches: Add vinegar, spice, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup water to peaches (sugar will have dissolved and will have drawn out peach juices) and bring to a boil over moderate heat, skimming off foam. Reduce heat and simmer until peaches are barely tender, about 3 minutes.
Remove jars and lids from water, reserving water in canner, and transfer to a clean kitchen towel, then divide peaches among jars using a slotted spoon. Return peach-cooking liquid to a boil, then pour into jars, leaving 1/4 inch of space at top. Run a thin knife between peaches and sides of jars to eliminate air bubbles.
Seal and process jars: Wipe off rims of filled jars with a dampened kitchen towel, then firmly screw on lids with screw bands. Put sealed jars on rack in canner and, if necessary, add enough hot water to cover jars by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, covered. Boil jars 20 minutes, then transfer with tongs to a towel-lined surface to cool. Jars will seal as they cool (if you hear a ping, that signals that the vacuum formed at the top of the jar has made the lid concave).
After jars have cooled 12 to 24 hours, press center of each lid to check that it’s concave, then remove screw band and try to lift off lid with your fingertips. If you can’t, the lid has a good seal. Store in a cool dry place up to 6 months. Promptly put any jars that haven’t sealed in the refrigerator and use them first.