Hobbies: Food crafting with homemade sweet pickles
Growing up, I enjoyed this sweet-pickle treat thanks to my grandmother. She made the most amazing pickles. Thankfully, I was able to have a cooking lesson from her, and now we make them for our home.
Homemade sweet pickles are simple to make, and this recipe can be whipped up in no time. Each bite is full of crunch and flavor. You can make a batch to store in the pantry or to give as gifts.
If you are giving as gifts, attach homemade labels to the front of the jars. For embellishments, tie a scrap of fabric around the top of the jar or just add a simple bow.
Enjoy the pickles straight from the jar or give them a chop to make relish. The sweet pickles are delicious on their own or they can be used as condiment. Pickles and peanut butter make an unusually tasty sandwich.
For the best pickles, be sure to select firm, dark green cucumbers with a bumpy skin. Cucumbers with yellow or white spots should be avoided.
No matter how you slice them, thick or thin, this simple food-crafting project is delicious and fun to make.
12 cups sliced cucumbers, sliced by hand or with a mandolin
4 white onions, sliced
2 sweet red bell peppers, seeds and stem removed, sliced
1/2 cup salt
2 cups vinegar
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons mustard seed
4 canning jars with banded lids
Combine chopped vegetables and salt; let stand 30 minutes, then drain. When using a mandolin, you can adjust the width of the blade. For best results, slice the cucumber into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
Heat vinegar, sugar and spices. Add vegetables, bring to a boil, and boil for 5-10 minutes or until transparent. Pack hot pickles and liquid into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Keep jars and lids hot by keeping them in a hot-water bath while you are preparing the ingredients.
Remove air bubbles with a nonmetallic spatula. Wipe jar rim clean with a clean cloth. Place lid on jar and screw band down evenly and firmly just until the point of resistance is met.
Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner. This recipe makes about 4 quarts.
Can be stored in the pantry for 1 year. Chill in the refrigerator before serving.
Decorate the jars with homemade labels, scraps of fabric and ribbon bows.
Cathie Filian is a lifestyle expert, Emmy-nominated television host, author and designer. Visit her blog at www.cathiefilian.com.