Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cucumber Pickles; Dill with it. **Double Post** Watermelon Rind Pickles

Here's a big surprise: I couldn't make up my mind. There were so many gorgeous cucurbits at the Farmer's Market, that...what? Cucurbits. You know. Cucurbits. Yeah, I had to be told what they were, too. Cucurbits are the vine grown cucumbers, squashes, melons and such. They make amazing jams...and pickles!
Cucumber Dills w/Cumin,Pepper & Mustard Seeds Watermelon Rind Pickles w/ Garam Masala & Jalapeno
At the beginning of the year I joined a group started by Tigress Can Jam/Pickle. She has an amazing site that is packed with her bright personality and intelligent recipes. Each month, our group participates in canning and what we can (the product) is chosen by a host. This month it was chosen by Laundry Etc.
Each one of us have the choice of how we handle the product: jam, pickles, relish, chutneys, etc.. as long as we follow certain guidelines which include the US recommended hot water bath canning process. Like most things, once you get the hang of it - following the process is a cinch.
I'm in charge of making many jars of pickles for my daughter's upcoming wedding, so "cucurbits" in the form of cucumbers were very timely and I'm half-way through the batch size I need for the wedding.

And, watermelon? Well, I'm a southern girl who grew up eating watermelon outside where you could drip it all over you and save the seeds for a spitting contest. True to the South, nothing goes to waste so pickling the rind was a given.
I actually had never pickled rind myself, so once I figured out that watermelon is one of those...Cucurbits, I had to give it a try.
I used several recipes to help me with the safety and correct ratio for vinegar, etc. then changed up the spices and flavoring to suit my whimsy.

Now YOU know what a cucurbit means, too (or maybe you were already vine-savvy). Sometime today, throw that word around a little and see how many people give ya that blank stare. Then send them to my post and I'll help them
get out of that pickle.

Cucumber Dills w/Cumin, Pepper & Mustard Seeds
(adapted from "Jam it, Pickle It, Cure It" by Karen Solomon)

3 lbs.
Pickling Cucumbers (washed, dried, sliced into wedges)

In a non-reactive saucepan, heat 2 cups Vinegar with 6 cups water and 6 tsps. salt to boiling.

Pack your sterilized jars with the Cucumber wedges and an even distribution of these spices:
9 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 cinnamon stick (broken into pieces as needed)
6 Tbls Mixed Mustard seeds
6 Tbls. Dill seeds
8 Tbls. Black Peppercorns
2 Tbls. Cumin seeds
6 tsps. salt

Leave 1 inch head space.
Pour the hot vinegar mix into the jars covering the wedges fully and leaving 1/2 inch head space. Process in a hot-water bath for 10 minutes. Remove, cool and store in a cool dry place.

Watermelon Rind Pickles w/Garam Masala & Jalapeno
(inspired by "Jellies, Jams & Chutneys" by Thane Prince and Whole Foods Recipes)

The Rind of 1 med. watermelon (remove the green with a peeler, scrape off all pink, cut into small cubes) *You should have 1lb. of cubed rinds

For the Brine - Mix the following in a glass bowl with lid:
4 Tb salt

24 oz. Water

Place the rind cubes into the brine, cover and leave in refrigerator for 2 days.

After 2 days: Drain the rind, rinse with cold water several times and drain.
Hold to the side.

In a deep saucepan, add and bring to a boil:
4 cups of water
2 cups Cider Vinegar
9 oz. brown sugar

4" cinnamon stick

1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala ground spice mix

1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger minced

1/2 lemon zest

1 tsp chopped Jalapeno Pepper

Once this is boiling, add the rind into the saucepan and stir to mix.

Lower the heat and simmer for 45 minutes or until the rind is tender and translucent.

Remove from stove and pack your sterilized jars with the rinds, then pour in the pickling liquid to cover.
Keep at least 1/4 inch space available at the top of each jar.
Seal properly and place in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Remove and cool on rack without moving for 12 hours.

Keep in a dry, cool area.
If you aren't comfortable with canning: fill your glass containers, cool, cover and keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.


Cowgirl Chef said...

Wishing I had this recipe yesterday. I just tossed out the rinds from a lovely watermelon. Oh for shame!

tigress said...

hi! your recipes look great! i am particularly attracted to anything with garam masala in it! :)

i have a question: that little jar that the watermelon is in - did you water bath can that one? it's a lovely little jar and i am always on the lookout for jars that are suitable for waterbath canning that do not have lids that contain bpa (i.e. the screw cap lids).

showfoodchef said...

Cowgirl Chef: I think that just means you have to eat more watermelon, oh darn.. :D Thx for stopping by!

TIgress: Thank you, and nah, the cute latch jar is just for refrigerator and serving. It's too old for hot water bath - the latch doesn't hold that tight. I'm always looking for other jars too. Thx for checking in.

Lynne @ CookandBeMerry said...

I have never canned anything, but you make it sound so easy. I might try the one with the cinnamon. Yum. Love your photos.

Mimi said...

I'm going to try these watermelon rind pickles, yum!