Monday, July 21, 2008

Fridge Pickles of Death + home-econamarama

...or maybe Fridge Pickles of Doom. Which one makes you more afraid? Disclaimer here, folks, I have been called Asbestos Mouth by a former roommate. I like the heart palpitations that go along with extremely hot peppers. That and the spins make peppers quite a nice legal high! Either way, this pickle is supposed to burn your face off. Here at the Little Pink House in Northeastern Oklahoma we're of the mind that more is more. More spice, more garlic, more sour, more heat! Turn it up to eleven!

Fridge Pickles with Habanero and Garlic - makes one gallon

1) Grow pickles.

2) Harvest pickles (about five pounds, maybe? Maybe more? As many as fit in the jar. No more, no less...)

Sample Pickles

3) Harvest dill.

4) Harvest dill flowers. Harvest habaneroes. Harvest onions (or cut some from your braid in the garage).

5) Clean and wash pickles and habanero. Place in a bowl of ice water for 30 minutes.

6) Clean out a big pickle jar you've been saving for just this occasion.

7) Fill with 5-8 dill flowers and some extra dill fronds, a whole head of peeled and separated garlic, 2 small, quartered spring onions, 1 Tbsp whole black peppercorns, and 1 tsp. coriander.

Top View!

8) Boil up the brine - 10 cups water, 2-3 cups vinegar (depending on your sour jones), 1/2 - 3/4 cup Kosher salt (depending on your salt jones...and your blood pressure). Stir until salt dissolves.

This is what simmering water looks like:

9) Prick the habanero with a knife or fork. Place the pickles and the pepper in the jar. (This makes for a spicy pickle...if you don't want it that hot, use less - maybe a strip of habanero - or use a jalapeno or other milder pepper...or skip it if you're from New England......kidding.) Observe hot pepper safety.

10) Put the glass jar in the sink, just in case there is some heat reaction type breakage. This has never happened to me, but I always put it in the sink just in case because that idea is scary as hell. (Flying shards, oh my!) Let the brine cool slightly and then pour it into the jar. There will be an almost immediate color change.

11) Top with a handful of wild grape leaves (or cultivated grape if you are so lucky) for crispness. My grandmother told me about this tip.

12) Let sit in a cool dark place for 3 days to a week then move to the fridge...Voila! Fridge pickles!

**A note of caution: The brine will be spicy due to the pepper for several days. I found that the first few days it actually burned my hand on contact (not bad, but enough) and then lately has mellowed. Just be careful when handling and cutting super hot peppers.

And, in other news, I spent Saturday canning. My first time! I was a canning virgin until July 19! I canned up 13 pints of homegrown tomatoes and 3 quarts of beans. Unfortunately the liquid in the beans is no longer to the top of the jar. I don't know if I had seepage or what, but I imagine I'll have to eat them up pronto. I'll blog more about this soon, because I had so many questions and it was quite the process...

I've also been seed saving like mad! So far I've sifted out Viroflay spinach seeds, red savina peppers, butternut squash seeds, dill seeds, onion seeds, and three kinds of tomato - Golden Queen, Green Zebra, and a specimen from the Paul Robesons that was more pink than the others and had much less cat-facing. I've got lettuce and radish seeds at the ready but haven't gotten them sorted out yet. And the birds are digging the drying sunflower seeds!

Super high-tech seed saving technique - looks like the Star Wars backdrop in reverse!

Also yesterday we wandered into the part of the yard that makes us long for a compass and a boyscout tent to start cleaning out the (I shit you not) 5 foot tall weeds that were growing there. Mostly lamb's quarters and poke and various vines, morning glories, the heart-shaped leaf type (I don't know what that is), and wild grape. Long, hot story short, we ended up taking down two huge lamb's quarter bushes and made up a tasty stir fry afterwards featuring bulgar, okra, Turkish orange eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, Tabasco peppers, lime juice and peanut butter (for that delicious Thai flavor!).

Pre-dinner time
And then tonight I was sooooo inspired by Melissa's delicious basil culinary dare-devilry that I whipped up a nectarine, basil, and goat cheese salad with blue berries, lime juice, and a dash of Tabasco! Yes, really! Tabasco! Just a dash - it really made it all come together. YUMMMMM!!!!

So that's all for the home-econamarama...more on canning and my exquisitely local review of what grows well at the 36-95 in peak summertime heat...coming soon.


anajz said...

I want to come to your house to eat! :)

Lewru said...

We feature local cuisine and a prix fixe menu. :)

Hausfrau said...

How big is that pickle jar? It looks bigger than my son! Or maybe it's just the angle.

Bee said...

Oh man, my husband would love habernro pickles. Too hot for me, but I might try that with a nicer pepper. =) I'm jealous that you've gotten canning done too. Did it take you all day long like everyone tells me when they try to break me of my desire to can?

Tara said...

Hooray for hot pickles! Any other suggested uses for habs? I have a small box of them that I don't know what to do with, as I don't use them too often normally.

Your yard sounds like ours. There are parts of our property that I haven't actually seen. Every week we take a tiny bit more of it back.

Melissa said...

oooh, what a great idea to add blueberries into the salad! and the pickles sound great. I'll have to try to find some time to experiment!

Lewru said...

Hausfrau - I think it's a gallon. So it might be as big as him sitting down. He certainly couldn't fit in it! :)

Bee - um, yeah. It took me all day pretty much. But I'm really new at it so I imagine it could be done much faster.

Tara - I think a blog post on using habaneros is in order!

Melissa - thank you for the original idea! It was freaking delish!

Meryl said...

My father-in-law makes pickles like this, only he adds sugar as well. You bite into one and think, "Oh this isn't so bad...." then the pepper hits!