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Spiralized Pickled Golden Beets with Ginger

I bought a spiralizer three years ago and while I enjoy the novelty of vegetables cut into shapes other than that which I can achieve with a knife, I can’t quite convince myself that long strands of zucchini or eggplant are actually noodles. Still, I find that it has a place in my overstuffed kitchen, if for no other reason that it is fun (and sometimes that is enough).

I first made these spiralized pickled golden beets a little over a year ago and they are one of my favorite things to add to soba noodle salads or heap on top of an Ak-Mak cracker spread with fresh ricotta cheese (I realize that’s an oddly specific application, but darn if it isn’t delicious).

You can certainly make these pickles without having a spiralizer at your disposal, but it does lend a bouncy, curly-fry spring to the finished pickle, which I enjoy. Without a spiralizer, you’d just cut the raw beets into thin slices and then cut those slices into narrow matchsticks (a mandoline would help with this, though I find that they are a little iffy with dense vegetables like raw beets).

The most important thing when making these pickles is to strive for thin cuts. The only cooking that the beets receive is a short simmer in the brine, so in order to keep them from being aggressively crunchy, you need to aim for narrow matchsticks or curls.

I make these pickles with an assertive volume of ginger, which I find both boosts and balances the earthiness of the beets. I tried spiralizing the ginger for one batch, and found that it didn’t do a good enough job of distributing the ginger throughout the jar of pickled beets. Instead, every so often, I’d take a bite expecting beet and get a mouth full of *ginger* instead. While not exactly unpleasant, it wasn’t what I was aiming for. A fine dice works better.

I make these pickles to keep in the fridge, because I find that I like the texture best, and it also means that I don’t have to use quite as much vinegar, rendering them a bit more mellow. They do fade over time, so if you can’t abide still delicious, but slightly grey pickles, make them in smaller batches or eat them quickly.

I’m curious if you guys are using spiralizers to prep vegetables for pickling. Any experiences you’d like to share?

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Hot Pepper Hoagie Relish

Regular Food in Jars contributor Alex Jones drops in this week with a recipe for sweet and spicy pepper hoagie relish (for those of you not in the Philadelphia region, hoagies are our version of a sub sandwich). I can imagine lots of delicious ways to serve up this spread! -Marisa

Egg sandwich with hoagie relish

As a kid, I was weird about sandwiches. I didn’t like mayo, and I didn’t like tomatoes. My sandwich of choice in middle school was wheat bread, yellow mustard, and Tofurky slices, with nothing else.

Fast forward 20 years and my tastes have changed — partially, I suspect, because I now live in a city with a strong sandwich culture. Hoagies, whether you get them from Wawa or the corner store, are standard fare here in Philly.

And while I’ll still pick off (or ask my sandwich artist to omit) slices of sad, pink, industrial tomato from my sandwiches, I’ve come to appreciate the components of a good hoagie: slices of tender turkey and cheddar cheese, sweet onion, a ruffle of lettuce, just the right amount of tangy mayo. And those juicy sweet and hot peppers, which add a ton of flavor and set off the other ingredients perfectly.

When a whirlwind of late summer travel meant that I had three weeks’ worth of sweet and hot peppers from my Taproot Farm vegetable CSA stashed in the fridge, I knew I wanted to make something that would help recreate my typical sandwich order without walking the 200 feet to my corner deli.

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Indiana Peach Chutney Recipe

A vintage recipe updated for modern palates and kitchens, this take on Indiana Peach Chutney is a little spicy, perfectly sweet, and is ideal for preserving peach season.

Six jars of Indiana Peach Chutney

I woke up Sunday morning, itching to get rid of some cookbooks. At least once a year, I like to sort through my absurdly large collection and move some things along. My criteria for letting go of books is pretty simple (if a little haphazard).

If I’ve never cooked from it, I pull it from the shelf and flip through. If nothing strikes my fancy, it goes in the outward bound stack. If spot something that tickles my culinary creativity, I drop a marker in the book and either put it back on the shelf or, if it’s something I want to make in the immediate future, I put the book on my desk.

The Best in American Cooking, the book that contains the recipe for Indiana Peach Chutney

I had spent the previous couple days in Indiana for the Can-It Forward Day festivities, and so when I evaluated whether I was going to keep my copy of Clementine Paddleford’s The Best in American Cooking, the recipe for Indiana Peach Chutney caught my eye.

It also spoke to me because I had a fridge full of peaches and nectarines from the latest shipment from Washington State Stone Fruit Growers and needed to start moving that fruit into jars.

The original recipe for Indiana Peach Chutney

Of course, I didn’t follow the recipe to the letter. To begin with, I don’t have the patience for a process that requires one to poach the fruit in a sugar syrup until translucent (I used a combination of peaches and nectarines, and didn’t peel any of them, either).

Next thing to go was the two styles of raisins (I had dark ones in abundance and so that’s what I used). Finally, I couldn’t abide the idea of adding food coloring. I was certain that whatever color it ended up being would be totally fine.

Indiana Peach Chutney ingredients in the pot

If you tuned in to Monday night’s livestream (catch the next one on Monday, August 21 at 9 pm eastern), this is the recipe I used to demonstrate steam canning (I promised it a bit earlier than this, but such is life).

The finished flavor is gingery, a little bit spicy, and very fruity. Like many other chutneys, this one is going to be great with cheese, perfect as a bright condiment alongside grain bowls, and delightful on a post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich.

Close up on jars of Indiana Peach Chutney

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July Mastery Challenge: Pickled Blistered Shishito Peppers

Regular Food in Jars contributor Alex Jones is here to with a recipe to preserve delicious shishito peppers. They’re one of my summer favorites! – Marisa

One of my favorite moments of summer eating doesn’t involve handfuls of blueberries, icy-cold slices of watermelon, or peaches so juicy you have to eat them over the sink. (Although those firsts fruits are up there on the list.) It’s when I spy the first shishito peppers at the farmers’ market.

When I first see those wrinkly, electric green peppers heaped in a basket or bursting out of a fiber pint container, I know I have to have them.

Back my kitchen with my market bounty, I’ll get my cast iron pan ripping hot with a glug of grapeseed oil and add the peppers, cooking for a few minutes on each side until the skin is blistered deep brown and the flesh is just tender. Then, they go into a bowl with a big three-finger pinch of flaky sea salt. A few flicks of the wrist to toss, and then I’ll sit down and eat them all, one by one.

But inevitably, shishito season ends, and it’s rare to find them off-season in supermarkets, so I have to wait for that smoky, salty experience until next year’s pepper feast…unless I can preserve it.

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Small Batch Bread and Butter Pickles

Last night, I spent an hour in my kitchen making bread and butter pickles and talking to my phone (otherwise known as doing a live broadcast via Facebook). I answered questions, used a mandoline slicer without injuring myself, and at the end had three and a half pints of tasty pickles for my efforts.

I’ve published a few different variations on bread and butter pickles over the years, but have never managed to get one up on the blog. Well, let’s change that. This is the exact version I made last night. It doubles and triples beautifully if you’ve got even more veg to use up. And it’s the perfect thing for this month’s hot pack challenge!

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Small Batch Pickled Okra Recipe

Earlier tonight, I did a live pickle making demonstration over on the Food in Jars Facebook page (you can watch it any time you want right here). In it, I made a small batch of one of my favorite pickles – pickled okra.

Now, before you wrinkle your nose and announce that you don’t like okra, know that pickling it reduces its slime factor quite radically. I find that people who normally dislike okra find much to appreciate about the pickled version. Even my mother, who is disinterested in okra on a good day, can really dig into a jar of the pickled version. I highly recommend that you try it.

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