Friday, June 13, 2014

Pickled! A tasty touch to Vinegar Friday

Because of the death in my family, I missed posting Vinegar Friday last week. To make up for it, I have a fabulous post by guest blogger, Courtney Perkins. Courtney has been a member of the GG community for years and I've long admired this young mother of two for her commitment to green and healthy living. She's a terrific mom, wife, daughter, and friend to many. When I saw her posting pictures on Facebook about her pickled concoctions, I was fascinated. I've never tried pickling, but I've been disturbed lately by the amount of artificial dyes and food coloring in most of the store bought pickles. So, of course, I asked her if she'd share her recipe with all of us here on the blog. She graciously agreed. I hope you enjoy her post as much as I have. Please add any pickle recipes of your own in the comment section below.

Let me start off by saying, I just adore vinegar. From drinking it every day to cleaning my house with it, it rocks. 

Recently, I wondered, What else could I do with vinegar? I soon found my answer -- PICKLING. Why did I not try this sooner?! Well, having 2 children who are 18 months apart and being super busy, I wasn't too hard on myself. My first pickling project was pickled eggs. Balsamic pickled eggs to boot! I wasn't sure if what I was doing was going to be awesome, or a total disaster. I found some ideas, improvised a ton (because I'm Italian and just have to do things my way), and put them in a jar. I had to wait at least 6-8 days before trying them. When we finally cracked open the jar, they were AMAZING. Seriously, out of this world. So I started to wonder what else was going to be this phenomenal when mixed with some vinegar, water, and salt?

I went on to make sauerkraut, pickles, 3 kinds of pickled eggs, pickled beets, pickled asparagus, pickled celery, pickled cauliflower, and pickled onions. WHEW! All were delicious, by the way.

Some of the reasons I chose to start experimenting with pickling was because I knew it would be an awesome project to do with my daughter. My sweet girl is 2.5 years old and loves to work outside, kayak, and make food with Mama. When I told her we would be making our own pickles, she was totally on board and could not wait. I find it to be important for children to learn how to preserve and cherish things, especially food! We are also on our journey to creating our homestead, complete self-sufficient living. I have never been happier with my choices. So, I am officially addicted to pickling and want to start a bartering system with friends, or even people I've never met! I think that would just be so much fun. I am thankful to God every single day for the opportunity to stay at home with my children, and to teach them how to appreciate everything that God has given us. Pickles, included. 

Here are some of my favorite recipes I came up with on my own:

~Balsamic Pickled Eggs~

6 eggs, hardboiled, cooled, and peeled
1/2 white onion, sliced
1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 TBSP white sugar
5 cloves of garlic, crushed (you can use jarred garlic, tastes the same)

~ Place the onion, water, vinegar, sugar, and garlic in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and allow to cool down to room temperature.
~ Place the eggs in a glass jar and pour the cooled vinegar mixture over top. Cover, and refrigerate for 6-8 days before serving; the longer the better. Seriously, these are worth the wait!!

~Homemade Pickles~

1 medium cucumber
4 cups water
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
4 TBSP pickling salt
3 TBSP pickling spice
3 garlic cloves (or jarred. Again, it doesn't matter)
3 sprigs of fresh dill

~ Slice cucumber into spears, or whatever shape you would like!
~ Place the water, vinegar, and salt into a saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and allow to cool to room temperature.
~ Place cucumber slices (or spears) into a (preferably) stainless steel mixing bowl.
 Add your pickling spice, garlic, and dill
~ Mix until it looks like all of the cucumbers are covered with spice.

~ When the water mixture has cooled to room temperature, pour it over your cucumbers in the bowl. Keep the cucumbers fully submerged in the brine by placing some kind of small plate on top of the mixture.
~ Place the bowl in a dark, cool area for 3-5 days. You can check every day to see if they are to your liking. Once they taste "pickled" enough, put them into a glass jar, along with the bring. Refrigerate, or process in a water bath to preserve for a longer period of time.


Courtney Perkins is a 25-year-old wife and mother. She and her husband, Jason, are the proud parents of 2 beautiful blonde babies -- Arelyn, 2, and Emerson, 15 months. They live in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. Courtney is slowly, but surely, trying to create a homestead for her family. Their front yard has been converted into a garden. The family enjoys working together to make their own butter, peanut butter, fermented foods, etc. Courtney says God has blessed them immensely with the wonders of His creation and she is so glad she can share all of this with her family.

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