A Handy Helper for Speedy Pickling

pickling pitcher

Several years ago, Scott and I filmed an episode of Fork You about making risotto with our friend Jessie. We cooked in her kitchen and though the whole day was fun, there’s one part of that shoot that has particularly stuck with me. You see, Jessie had this pot that was the most brilliant thing ever for risotto making. It had a built-in spout, and instead of having a conventional pot handle, it had a heatproof handle that was shaped like one you would find on a pitcher. It made adding the stock to the risotto incredibly easy. It’s not untrue to say that I coveted this ingenious little pot.

I continue to think about Jessie’s pitcher-styled stock pot, now imagining how amazing it would be for pickle making, as it would make filling jars with brine positively breezy (and would mean fewer dishes to boot). I have searched high and low for something similar and have come up empty-handed. Until now.

pickling pitcher

Recently, while standing in a coffeeshop waiting for an iced coffee (my favorite way to combat steamy days), I took note of the pitchers they used for steaming milk. Stainless steel. Sturdy. Able to withstand the high heat of the steaming wand. Could this be the vessel I’ve been searching for? I ordered the biggest one Amazon carried and took it on a test pickling drive. It withstood the heat of my stove and made filling my jars so quick

Side note: I am beginning to be convinced of the idea that it’s always better to put the pickling spices directly in the jars, and not mix them with the brine. I get very inconsistent spice distribution when I’ve added them to the brine like I did for this picture.

The pitcher holds a bit less than 2 quarts, and you wouldn’t want to fill it to the brim, so it’s really only good for smaller batch pickling (say 4-6 pints). However, that’s much of what I do, so it works beautifully for me. If you pickle in similar amounts, consider adding this handy tool to your kit (do use a small pot holder when picking it up, that handle isn’t designed to be heatproof).

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All this week, Simple Bites is featuring canning tips, tricks, techniques and recipes. I contributed a piece on how to can whole tomatoes to the effort and a number of other bloggers have lent their canning talents and skills to that site as well. For those of you who just can’t get enough preservation information, please do go check it out!

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My latest piece in Grid Philly is available online, for your reading pleasure. I wrote up a trio of no-cook recipes as my way of helping people beat the heat. Leaf over to pages 30-31 of the digital edition and take a gander.

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23 responses to “A Handy Helper for Speedy Pickling”

  1. All of the pickling recipes that I’ve used (and that’s about 3, so you may know more than me) have said to add the pickling spices & what not directly to the scalded jars, pack them with your veg and then ladle the hot brine in. That way you’re guaranteed the right amount of spice.

  2. Christina, I’ve worked with some recipes that call for you to pack them into jars, and some that have you add them to the brine. Every time I follow instructions that say to add them to the brine, I regret it. That’s all I was trying to say!

  3. I love this idea. It would be good for so many other things than pickling (cuz I don’t pickle haha). Simple syrup and scalded milk are two that come to mind right away.

  4. As soon as I saw that I thought “what a genius idea for a milk frothing pitcher!” And now I’ll try out my camping kettle for pickling.

  5. All I can say is Duh! Why didn’t I think of that! Very smart.
    I use my Grandmothers pickle recipe and used to help her make them,we always put the spices ect in the jars not the brine.

  6. I also don’t recommend adding spices to the brine – much better to add to each jar so each jar tastes exactly the same. Be cautious of using the enameled pots such as graniteware – any breach of the enamel exposes the metal underneath to the acid of the vinegar. Not good.

  7. oh and don’t use the percolater either – they are aluminum. Only use stainless steel as shown unless you like aluminum in your pickles – not 🙂

  8. This is a great idea! We have a small pitcher we use for frothing milk for lattes, I find myself using it often for tasks where I need to heat less than 2 cups of liquid. A larger pitcher is such a wonderful tip – many thanks!

  9. Okay. This is BRILLIANT! Boyfriend and I are both on our computers…in different rooms of our tiny apartment…looking at this page and having a somewhat loud and excited conversation about how awesome one of these pitchers would be for our next canning party!

  10. I do the same thing only I don’t have what you have. I found a Corning ware coffee pot that works great for me. I got it at a thrift store for $3. I agree with you about the spices. Much better distribution in the jars then in the brine.

  11. ooooh – what a clever plan! Currently I use a tiny saucepan to dip out boiling brine. Not easy or tidy. I agree with putting the spices in each jar.

    I also enjoyed reading your article/recipes.

  12. That Stainless percolator in the 12 cup model is perfect. Great idea! So many uses when you think about it. Alton Brown likes to use an electric kettle for his risottos and while that would be preferable in the kitchen, the campfire one is better for using all over. Risotto on the grill just got easier for me 🙂

  13. I love this idea. Trying to justify buying it since I have spent so much on canning stuff this year. I LOVE pickles. I pickled some green beans and ate 2 pint jars by myself in less than a week. I gave a jar to my mom and was secretly wishing she wouldn’t like them so I could make her give the jar (full of pickles) back.

  14. There are old (1930-40’s) Pyrex coffee percs that were used on top of the stove to make percolated coffee that would work perfectly. I also use a very large glass coffee carafe (probably 1960-70’s from one of the first coffee makers) that holds about 12 cups of liquid for pouring jelly into jars. Search for these in antique/junk stores available for very little money and worth every cent.

  15. I really like that pitcher and will give one a shot!

    I agree.. put the spices in each jar, as opposed to the brining liquid. I was taught that method by my granny and it’s worked great for years.

    all the best.


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