Saturday, August 13, 2016

A First Time For: Pickling!

More garlic scapes!
Remember that garlic scape pesto that was so good? Well even that didn't use all the scapes.

So I decided to try my hand at pickling for the very first time.

Have you ever had Dilly Beans? They are pickled green beans usually with dill, garlic, and sometimes a bit of red pepper flakes. They are salty and sour with some crunch and a bit of heat.

Well believe it or not, there is such a thing as Dilly Scapes!
It was my first time ever trying to pickle something, and I've only ever tasted Dilly Scapes once. Because of this, I made three slightly different versions to test out which one people like best. 

Pickling Solution:
- 2  1/2 cups water 
- 2  1/2 cups vinegar (or apple cider) 
- 1/4 cup pickling salt 

Jars (1/2 pint each):
- 1 sprig dill
- 1 pepper corn
- 1/8 tsp celery seed
- 10 (ish) granules Pickle Crisp (optional)
- Garlic scapes cut to length

* 1 sprig oregano (only to 6)* (in the future, make this a 1/2 sprig)
*1 Tbs sugar in brine (only on second batch)*
*I didn't try adding anything spicy, but 1/8 teaspoon of red pepper flakes would spice things up!*

- As always with canning things, make sure all the jars and lids are boiled and sterilized.
- Working a couple hot jars at a time, place the dill, pepper corns, celery seed, and (optional) Pickle Crisp in the bottom of each.
- Pack in the garlic scapes tightly in the jars, making sure there is 1/2 inch of headspace (space between the food and the lid)
- Pour in the hot pickling solution over the scapes leaving
- Pack in a few more scapes if they will fit
- Seal jars as usual, and process in boiling water for 10 minutes
(Here is a great tutorial for Dilly Beans which is almost exactly the same as Dilly Scapes)

Fyi, this is usually what the kitchen looks like whenever I am canning things: a creative disaster!

The only problem? You then have to wait 6 whole weeks for the flavors to infuse before you can sample the scapes.

Well it just so happens that Grandma's 90th birthday party was almost exactly six weeks later.

At the party, I nervously pried open three jars, one of each flavor. I had to taste each one to make sure I didn't serve anyone ruined or rancid food. To my pleasant surprise they all turned out!

There wasn't a huge difference between the three flavors (original, oregano, and pinch-o-sugar) unless you were comparing them in one tasting.

The general consensus seemed to be that the oregano dilly scapes edged out the other two variations. I think in future batches I will use a little less oregano and a little less celery seed.

The funniest part was that even the young kids on Dear Husband's (DH) side of the family LOVED them... but my parents didn't care for them. I guess you really have to love sour, pickled things!