Weekend Project: The Preserved Pantry

Agrarian, Canning & Preserving, Cook, Healthy Eating, Make, Preserving, Try This at Home, Weekend Project

 

 

Imagine a pantry stocked with vegetables picked at their peak, preserved in tart, herbal brines, that you can use for delicious accompaniments and starters all year long. Read on to find out how to create this pantry at home.

 


Dilly Beans

4 lb. yellow wax beans
4 tsp. dill seeds
4 tsp. mustard seeds
10 whole black peppercorns
8 large fresh dill sprigs
5 cups white wine vinegar
2 cups white wine
3 cups water
1 Tbs. kosher salt
2 Tbs. sugar

 

Directions

 

While you prepare the beans, wash 8 pint canning jars with their lids and rings in hot soapy water and rinse them, then place in a large pan or bowl and cover with boiling water. Keep them in the hot water until ready to use.

 

Remove the jars from the water and pour out any water. Arrange the jars together for easy filling. At the same time, fill a large pot (large enough to hold the jars in a single layer) with warm water to a depth of 4 inches. A canning kettle with a rack is ideal.
Trim the ends off the beans, then cut them into lengths to fit in your jars. Divide the dill seeds, mustard seeds and peppercorns between the jars. Pack the beans upright in the jars, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace. Tuck a dill sprig in each jar.

 

Put the vinegar, wine, water, salt and sugar in a pot, set over high heat and bring to a boil. Boil, stirring until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Pour the hot liquid into the jars over the beans, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace.

 

Using a paper towel dipped in hot water, wipe the rims clean. Place the lid on each jar, then screw on the rings. Arrange the jars in the water in the pot (the water should cover the jars by 2 inches) and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 10 minutes.

 

Using tongs, remove the jars from the water and place on a tray lined with a kitchen towel. Let the jars cool undisturbed for 12 hours. If the jars have sealed properly, the lids with be slightly indented and not springy to the touch. If a jar did not seal properly, either repeat the water bath process or refrigerate and use the beans. Makes 8 pints.

 

Pickled Beets

 

1 lb. beets
1 white onion, sliced
1 cup cider vinegar (5 percent acidity)
1/4 cup sugar, or to taste
1 Tbs. cardamom pods
1 Tbs. whole cloves
Pinch of salt

 

Directions

 

Have ready 4 hot, sterilized one-pint jars and their lids.

 

Put the beets into a large saucepan (if using different-colored beets, separate them into 2 saucepans) and add water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover partially and simmer until the beets are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Drain the beets, reserving 2 cups of the cooking liquid.

 

When the cooked beets are cool enough to handle, peel them and cut into slices 1/4 inch thick. Divide the beet slices and the onion slices among the jars.

 

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the reserved cooking liquid, the vinegar, sugar, cardamom, cloves and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring, just until the sugar is dissolved.

 

Ladle the hot vinegar mixture into the jars, evenly distributing the spices and leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Remove any air bubbles and adjust the headspace, if necessary. Wipe the rims clean and seal tightly with the lids.

 

Process the jars in a boiling-water bath for 7 minutes. Let the jars stand undisturbed for 24 hours and then set them aside for 1 week for the flavors to develop. The sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 3 months. If a seal has failed, store the jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Makes 4 one-pint jars.

 

Pickled Cocktail Onions

1 1/2 lb. pearl onions

2 cups malt vinegar

1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp kosher salt

6 bay leaves

2 Tbsp. mustard seeds

2 Tbsp. peppercorns

 

Directions

 

Have ready 4 hot, sterilized one-pint jars and their lids.

 

Blanch and peel the onions.

 

In a large, nonreactive saucepan, combine the vinegar and salt. Add 2 cups water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the salt.

 

Meanwhile, in each jar, place 1 bay leaf, 1 teaspoon mustard seeds and 1 teaspoon peppercorns. Pack the jars with the peeled onions to within 3/4 inch of their lids.

 

Ladle the hot brine into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Remove any air bubbles and adjust the headspace if necessary. Wipe the rims clean and seal tightly with the lids.

 

Process the jars in a boiling-water bath for 7 minutes. Let the jars stand undisturbed for 24 hours and then set them aside for 1 week for the flavors to develop. The sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 3 months. If a seal has failed, store the jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Makes 4 one-pint jars.

 

To see more canning and preserving tips and recipes, go to our guide.

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