Monday, November 29, 2021

Pickling Beets , Watermelon Rinds, Sausage Links, And More...

I have been practicing the art of preserving by pickling and fermenting fruits and vegetables. You can pickle or ferment almost anything. Eating foods preserved by these methods is beneficial for health, particularly gut and immune health. 

I am only going to write about pickling in this post. Keep an eye out for a future post on fermenting. I  make small batches, so no canning is involved. I use a sweet brine for pickling. I use different vegetables and spices to change the flavors. Omit sugar for regular brine. 

Basic Sweet Brine

1 C Water

1 C Vinegar 

1 C Sugar ( I have used 1/2 C of sugar and it has worked just as well)

1 Tbs Salt

1/2 Tsp Spices

Simmer on medium heat in a saucepan until salt and sugar are dissolved stirring constantly. Let cool. Pour brine over prepared fruits or vegetables until covered. Press down to remove excess air and add more brine if needed. Seal and place in the refrigerator for at least four days before using. This makes enough brine for about a quart and a half of preserves. I may double or triple the recipe depending on the size of the batch I am doing. Only use glass jars or crocks for pickling and fermenting. 

These are my pictures from different pickling preserves that I have made over time using the same sweet brine recipe with different ingredients and spices. Some common spices that I use are pepper flakes, pickling spice, cilantro, garlic, coriander, ginger, peppercorns and hot sauce. These spices are just some of the ones that we have tried so far. 

I made eggrolls with the extra ingredients. The pictures are below.

I bought the beets from Misfits Market in my last order.

Wear gloves when processing beets or you will have stained hands.

I cooked the beets until they were just fork tender.

I used a pickling spice.

I can't remember where I bought this. I think it was through Wal-Mart, but not from Wal-Mart. 

The beets are steaming. I cooled the beets off until they were warm before continuing with the recipe.

I cut them in random pieces, but consistent sizes.

With the same brine I pickled some beef sausages. I added about 1/2 cup of hot sauce to the jar.

These guys are addicting. Serve with crackers.

Beautiful colors. Save the beet juice for pickling eggs. See my egg pickling post.

I had a  very small amount of brine leftover from a batch of pickled watermelon rinds, so I pickled some beef sausages that I had in the fridge.

I think that we already ate one at this point.

Here are the eggrolls that I made from the batch above.

I found the before picture of the beets.

I eat the preserves on salad instead of dressing and with almost every meal.

I found an "end of the season" watermelon. 

I bagged up the sweet red center and we ate bowls of it for days.

This was not an easy chore.

This was the perfect watermelon. It had a very thin rind.

Be sure and leave some red on the rind.

This is a gallon jar that we re-purposed. The nuts were awesome!

Peppercorns, coriander seeds and red pepper flakes. 

There is always something to pickle in the fridge with the leftover brine. If not make a tangy salad dressing, marinade or save it for your next pickling adventure.

Mrs. Smith

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Gather Up The "Thanksgiving" Fragments...

We had a small amount of creamed potatoes, a few slices of sweet potatoes and some green beans leftover from Thanksgiving. I ate it for lunch the next day. This was the extent of our leftovers from Thanksgiving with the exceptions of turkey and cranberry relish. We didn't have an enormous Thanksgiving meal. It was a simple meal and I didn't make any extras like I normally do. I just didn't have any room in the fridge after receiving our grocery order. 

I decided on a smoked turkey for Thanksgiving after discovering the high price of lunch meat. Number One wanted some lunch meat for sandwiches, so when I went to the store to pick up the groceries I  discovered that lunch meat was $16.99 a pound. I hadn't purchased our turkey yet, so when I saw a whole smoked turkey for $19.99 I thought that it was a great deal. When I checked out it was actually $29.99. It was still better than one pound of lunch meat for $16.99. While deciding on which one I would buy I noticed that they were all 10 pounders. I knew that this was not probable, so I picked the largest one. I weighed it when I got home and it came in at nearly 13 pounds. That sweetened the deal even more.

After our Thanksgiving meal, we separated the rest of the turkey into three bags. The breasts went into one bag to be sliced for lunch meat. They weighed almost 4 pounds. Number One and I wrestled with the wings and legs and finally we got them into the second bag for whatever meals I come up with and the third bag was the back and the rest of the carcass. I froze it immediately with the drippings from the pan. I will use it for making turkey stock at a later date. 

I decided to make black eyed peas with smoked turkey. Number One requested Jiffy cornbread with jalapenos. I forgot the jalapenos and some of my pictures will not upload. This is two of three fails for the day.

I took out a leg and started carving.

Princess Abigail waited in anticipation for her share of the turkey. She was beside herself while we were heating up the turkey on Thanksgiving.

There is still a lot of meat on the bone, so I put it back in the fridge.

I added the smoked turkey and some spices to the black eyed peas that I had thawed out the night before.
Food would be so boring without spices. Edible, but boring.

I put a diffuser under the pot and stewed it for a bit. My stove does not know what "low" means. Then I put it in the oven to continue cooking while I baked the cornbread. 

I still had some bread that I needed to turn into croutons, so while I had the oven on I baked some.

I roasted the last of the pecans at the same time.

A great healthy snack.

I will turn the last of the romaine into a large salad for next week.

 The third fail for the day was a pan failure. I made Cranberry bread out some of the leftover cranberry relish. It is delicious, but it failed to come out of the pan in one piece. I think it's time for new pans. These pans have lasted over 20 years.

Have a great day,

Mrs. Smith