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Spicy Quick Pickled Cucumbers

salted cucumbers - Food in Jars

In yesterday’s post about fancy salts, I mentioned that I would be sharing a couple of tasty ways to use these more esoteric salts in batches of pickles. This first recipe is one that uses a generous teaspoon of fleur de sel (though you can also use kosher salt if that’s what you’ve got) to pull some liquid out of the cucumbers and firm up their texture a little.

brine and salted cucumbers - Food in Jars

This pickle is loosely based on the recipe for smacked cucumber in Fuchsia Dunlop’s book Every Grain of Rice. I made it for the first time last year and it rapidly became one of my favorite things to eat (so crunchy! so spicy!). However, it’s the sort of thing that should be made and eaten within the same hour and so I tried to make a version that would keep its texture a little bit longer.

brined cucumbers - Food in Jars

You start by peeling, seeding, and slicing the two cucumbers. Heap the pieces in a bowl and sprinkle with one teaspoon of fleur de sel. Using your hands, massage the salt into the cucumbers and then let them sit for about half an hour. When the time is up, there should be a goodly accumulation of liquid in the bottom of the bowl. Drain that out, toss the cucumbers again and try draining them once more. I tend to do this three or four times, until the cucumbers aren’t releasing anymore water.

quick pickled cucumbers - Food in Jars

While the cucumbers sit with the salt, mix up the pickling liquid (all the exact amounts can be found in the organized recipe below). It’s a slurry of grated garlic, grated ginger, sugar, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, toasted sesame oil, and coarse ground red chili powder (I use the kind meant for making kimchi). Finally, combine the cucumbers and the dressing and stir to combine.

You can eat this pickle immediately (truly, it’s one of the quickest), or you can funnel it into a jar and eat it by the forkful over the next day or two. It’s fiery from the chili powder and garlic, and I find it endlessly delicious.

Don’t forget to enter this week’s giveaway from The Meadow!
Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win!

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Giveaway: Foundation Salt Set from The Meadow

Foundation Salt Set - Food in Jars

Salt has forever been an essential ingredient in food preservation. It plays a key role in pickling, whether you’re fermenting or using vinegar, and has also long been used to preserve meat and fish.

As canners, one of the things we often hear is that pickling salt is the only way to go. And while it’s true that it dissolves quickly and doesn’t contain any additives that could discolor your pickles, I believe there are places for a variety of salts in the home preserver’s toolbox.

Fleur de Sel - Food in Jars

For the last few summers, I’ve made all my pickles with fine grain sea salts like this Fleur de Sel from The Meadow. I measure it out by weight in order to ensure that I don’t oversalt my dilly bean and cucumber dills (more on how to swap salts by weight in this post from 2010) and the finished pickles are fabulous and the quality of the brine suffers not at all from the salt substitution.

Sel Gris - Food in Jars

When I want to incorporate chunkier, more mineral-flavored salts like Sel Gris in my preserving, I opt for a batch of Herbs Salees (it’s best done in high summer, when tender herbs can be had for a song). I have a version of salt preserved herbs in my new cookbook, or you can try the technique on Well Preserved. They add incredible flavor to soups and stews.

Flake Salt - Food in Jars

Recently, the folks at The Meadow sent me their Foundation Salt Set (it retails for $40. If that feels too spendy, maybe their Mini Foundation Set at $20 might suit your budget?) and a little jar of deeply smoked sea salt to play with. I’ve been a customer of theirs since 2009, but their inventory is so deep that other that the Fleur de Sel, all the salts were new to me.

I have two pickle recipes going up later this week that feature these interesting salts, so stay tuned for those. However, in the mean time, let’s have a giveaway! The Meadow is offering up one of their Foundation Salt Sets to one lucky Food in Jars reader. Here’s how to enter:

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share a salty tidbit. Do you have a favorite salt? Have you ever tried making your own sea salt? Tell me something about your relationship with salt.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm on Saturday, April 5, 2014. Winners will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog on Sunday, April 6, 2014.
  3. Giveaway open to US residents only.
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post.

Disclosure: The Meadow sent me some salt to use and photograph and are also providing a set for the winner of this giveaway. However, they did not pay to be featured here on this blog and all opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone.