Margaret Button | Kitchen Comfort: Try these easy pickling recipes

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Early in my marriage, I went through a stage where I felt the need to preserve summer's bounty by canning tomato sauce or making jams and jellies. Then God blessed us with a child, which left me no spare time — and the only thing I was concentrating on preserving was my sanity. As the years went by, our garden became smaller and I discovered I could freeze veggies and spaghetti sauce. I canned hot sauce a few years ago (after an explosion of cayenne peppers from the garden) and my mother-in-law's chili sauce a few times, although it doesn't last long enough to be canned!

This year, I planted jalapenos in one of the horse troughs I call my garden. There weren't enough to bother canning, but freezing them makes them mushy. A friend came to the rescue by suggesting I try pickling them — using a recipe that didn't require processing the filled jars in a water bath. There's a jar of pickled jalapenos sitting in my refrigerator just waiting for a plate of nachos or a big pot of chili. Warning: Wear plastic or latex gloves when slicing and handling the jalapenos ... and whatever you do, don't rub your eyes!!!



Quick pickled jalapeno rings


INGREDIENTS:

3/4 cup water

3/4 cup distilled white vinegar

3 tablespoons white sugar

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/2 teaspoon oregano

10 large jalapeno peppers, sliced into rings

DIRECTIONS:

Combine water, vinegar, sugar, kosher salt, garlic and oregano in a saucepan over high heat. Bring mixture to a boil, stir in jalapeno peppers and remove from heat. Let mixture cool for 10 minutes. Pack peppers into jars using tongs, cover with vinegar mixture, cover and refrigerate until needed.

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I also came across a recipe for some pickles that seemed custom-made for me. One of my go-to drinks year-round is the infamous gin and tonic — with two wedges of lime. So, trying these pickles was a given. I also think they would be good if vodka was substituted for the gin. Plus, there was no cooking or water bath involved.

Gin and tonic pickles

INGREDIENTS:


6 small cucumbers, such as Persians, ends trimmed and quartered lengthwise

4 slices of lime

1/2 cup gin

1/4 cup lime juice

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup tonic water

DIRECTIONS:

Place cucumbers and lime slices into jar. Top with gin, lime juice, sugar, and salt. Screw lid on tightly and shake to combine. Open jar and add tonic water; the cucumbers should be fully submerged.

Refrigerate overnight and up to 2 days to allow cucumbers to pickle. (Pickles will keep in the fridge up to 1 month.)


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