Monday, August 29, 2011

Refrigerator Pickles

We got about a dozen + cucumbers from Zak's grandparents with the purpose of pickling them at home. I tried to find a few recipes that would be easy enough, and this one was the winner. I would definitely recommend at least doubling the spice mixture, because we found that it only filled about 2 and a half jars. But it might be because we were unsure of how much the cucumbers would shrink, and we did five jars when we could've stuffed four and been fine. Anyways, having the extra spice mixture was better in the long run, because we poured it over some freshly sliced cucumbers and ate them after a few minutes (when we were in Seattle, we went to a Thai place where they had fresh pickles and thought it'd be easy enough to do, ours tastes almost like the restaurants'!).

A few days later, we decided to try this recipe with spear-cut cucumbers and no onions, and they turned out really well. We also played around with adding garlic to one jar, minced garlic to the spice mixture, and everything turned out really great. We have about 9 jars of pickles in the fridge now, so come over and eat some with us!

6 c. cucumbers, thinly sliced
2 c. onions, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. white vinegar
*4 - 5 garlic cloves, minced - optional*
4 - 6 pint jars, washed, boiled, etc.

1. Layer the cucumbers and onions in a glass container.
2. Mix the spices, sugar and vinegar together in a saucepan, heat until sugar as melted.
3. Pour over the cucumbers and onions.
4. Cover tightly and let sit in the fridge for about 48 hours before serving.

Zak did a great job with the cucumbers!

Zak was so cute, he wanted to do 'experiments' with the layering, etc. The first one: 50/50 (cukes, onions), 2nd: more onions, 3rd: more cucumbers, 4: added in garlic, 5: stuffed it really full. You can tell we were unsure of how much to put in the jars.

yum yum yum!

Apricot Jam

As I mentioned in the other blog, we got a bunch of apricots from Zak's grandparents. We both like apricots, but decided apricot jam would be superior. I haven't really made jam on my own before, and I was nervous about doing it without my mom or grandma helping me. So I searched on-line for recipes that seemed simple enough and wouldn't require me buying / using a bunch of canning gear. I found this one on It was so easy and didn't take too long. I just wished there had been a few more basic directions, because I was a bit unsure about how small to dice the apricots, or how thick the mixture would be before pulling it off the stove, just stuff like that. And the recipe said I would get 5 pint jars out of it; I only got 4 jars, which was a bit of a bummer. But it tastes amazing! It's a bit thick, but that's ok with me. It's yummy and we have three jars in the freezer!

8 c. diced apricots
1/4 c. lemon juice
6 c. sugar
4 or 5 pint jars or 8 - 10 half-pint jars

1. Sterilize jars and lids by boiling in water for 10 minutes.
2. Once timer is up, turn off stove, put lid on pot to keep jars warm. Once jam is near done, transfer jars and lids to towels to dry.
3. Combine all ingredients in a large pot.
4. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves.
5. Once mixture reaches a modest, rolling boil, continue boiling for 30 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent from sticking.
6. Remove from heat and fill jars, leaving some head space.
7. Let jars sit and cool for awhile before transferring to fridge or freezer.