Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Let's Get This Gherkin Workin'

Welcome to Jarhead, a blog exploring the world of pickling and preserving. 

I eat a lot of preserved food - whether it's spread on my toast, served on the side of a spicy curry or slapped on a sandwich.  Supermarket aisles are filled with rows of the stuff, so I'm sure there's a lot of people just like me.  But these tasty morsels often take a back seat to the dishes they accompany.  So the aim of this blog is to put the pickle centre stage!

Each week, the blog will dip its hand into a jar filled with endless salty, vinegary, jammy and delicious possibilities.  While I'll certainly be looking at how to make pickles and preserves, I'll also be answering a question that often comes to mind when gazing a a shelf full of jars:  "Hmmm... so now that I've got kilos and kilos of pickles... what on earth should I do with them?" 

My penchant for preserving started after I pickled some chillies.  After buying a kilo of chillies and few capsicums, I engaged the services of a mate of mine.  With his help, and with the assistance of a few beers, we chopped the veggies, brewed up some spiced vinegar, sterilised the jars and sealed the chillies in the containers.  A few weeks later, the chillies taste great, and I'm realising how versatile they are.  I've been eating pizza with them, throwing them into soups, and mixing some into pastas.  Here's the recipe:

Pickled Chillies

  • 1 kg of long green and red chillies.
  • 8 Jalapeño chillies.
  • 1 handful of small Birdseye chillies.
  • 4 red capsicums.
  • 1 litre of white vinegar.
  • 2 cups of sugar.
  • 4 tablespoons of salt. 
  • Pickling spices (I used a blend from Herbies in Rozelle).

  1. Chop the long green and red chillies into small pieces (you can remove the seeds if you want).
  2. Slice the capsicums.
  3. Cut a slit in the Jalapeño chillies and Birdseye chillies so the vinegar can get inside.
  4. Add the vinegar, sugar, salt and pickling spices in a large pot, bring to the boil and simmer until the sugar is completely dissolved. 
  5. Sterilise your jars by pouring boiling water over them.
  6. Once sterilised, stuff your jars with chillies and capsicum and then fill the jars with the spiced vinegar until the veggies are submerged.  You might find that the chillies rise to the top and some aren't submerged.  It's important they they stay submerged, so you can keep them immersed in liquid by scrunching up some baking paper and putting the paper at the top of the jar, pushing down the contents.  This paper can be removed after a week.  This was a tip I found in 'A Year in a Bottle' by Sally Wise, an excellent book on pickling. 
I kept the chillies for 3 weeks in the fridge before opening them and they tasted fantastic.  

1 comment: