From apples to zucchini, The Pickled Pantry (Storey Publishing, 2012) by Andrea Chesman provides 150 recipes for pickles, relishes, chutneys and more. This fresh, contemporary guide to pickling the harvest introduces readers to the foundation techniques of pickling before delving into recipes, ingredients, equipment preparation and safe pickling procedures. The following excerpt is taken from Chapter 3, “Single Jar Pickles.”
Vermont Maple Sweet Pickles Recipe
by the pint
Vermonters take their maple syrup seriously. Very seriously. So, if you are going to use maple syrup in a recipe, it better be pure maple syrup, not pancake syrup made of corn syrup and maple flavoring. And the darker the grade of syrup, the better. Vermont Fancy (US Grade A Light Amber) syrup, made from the first collected sap, is lightest in color and flavor. As the season progresses, the sap darkens and the syrup maker makes Vermont Grade A Medium Amber maple syrup, then Vermont Grade A Dark Amber maple syrup, and finally Vermont Grade B maple syrup: the strongest and darkest table-grade syrup. That’s the grade I prefer for these pickles, but any grade can be used. The flavor of these pickles has a subtle maple sweetness.
• 2 cups cucumbers cut into 3/4-inch chunks, blossom ends removed
• 1/2 small onion, sliced
• 2 teaspoons pickling or fine sea salt, or more if needed
• 1/2 cup cider vinegar
• 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
• 1 teaspoon mixed pickling spices, store-bought or homemade
• 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
• Pickle Crisp Granules (optional)
1. Combine the cucumbers, onion, and salt in a large bowl. Mix well. Cover the vegetables with ice water and let stand for at least 2 hours, and up to 6 hours. Drain. Taste a piece of cucumber. If it isn’t decidedly salty, toss with 1 to 2 teaspoons pickling salt. If it is too salty (which it never is for me), rinse in water.
2. Combine the cider vinegar and maple syrup in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the maple syrup. Bring a kettle of water to a boil.
3. Pack the mixed pickling spices and coriander seeds into a clean hot 1-pint canning jar. Pack in the cucumbers and onions. Pour in the hot vinegar mixture. It will not cover the vegetables, so top off with the boiling water, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Add a rounded 1/8 teaspoon of Pickle Crisp to the jar, if using. Remove any air bubbles and seal.
4. Process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes. To begin this process, set the jars in the preheated canner. The water in the boiling-water-bath canner should be hot, but not boiling, to prevent the jars from breaking. Add boiling water to the canner from the kettle to bring the water level to 1 to 2 inches above the tops of the jars.
5. Over high heat, bring the water to boiling. Start the timing when the water comes to a boil.
6. After the 10 minutes, let cool undisturbed for 12 hours. Store in a cool, dry place. Do not open for at least 6 weeks to allow the flavors to develop.
– Any type of cucumber can be used for a sweet pickle, even salad cucumbers with their slightly tougher skins. I find that salad cucumbers do better in pickle recipes that call for cutting them into chunks, rather than pickling them whole or in thin slices.
– If your cucumbers are fully mature, scrape away the seeds before cutting into chunks.
Excerpted from The Pickled Pantry © by Andrea Chesman, used with permission from Storey Publishing.
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