Small Batch Refrigerator Pickles and Other Yummy Urban Solutions
Hey all you urban gardeners with your tiny area to grow tomatoes and herbs – or you CSA participants who don’t know what to do with 3 beets – I have a solution for a problem you may not have even realized you had.
Okay so for whatever reason, you have a handful of cucumbers or tomatoes or beets or really anything. You want to do something other than put them on the top of a salad but the thought of canning seems time-consuming and difficult and REALLY retro. I hear you and you are going to love this. Make refrigerator pickles. They are great because you can make very small batches and it doesn’t require the prep work and forethought that comes with proper canning. Seriously. You can do this less than half an hour and then you have fresh wonderful pickled veggies that you made all by yourself. Impress your friends and enjoy the terrific bounty of your local farmers market. I am also including a recipe for the world’s easiest best tomato sauce for when you have too many tomatoes to eat but not enough for a giant batch of sauce.
Basic Refrigerator Pickles
Enough veggies for 3 pints – if you are using tomatoes (and you should because they are amazing) make sure to use firm or even green ones so they don’t fall all to pieces. This is 1 ½ – 2 lbs of veggies generally.
1 ½ cups vinegar (cider or white)
1 ½ cups water
2 Tbsp. fancy salt of your choosing – Kosher is good, so is Himalayan Pink
At least 2 garlic cloves per pint – if you love garlic, use more – you know who you are
A pinch per pint of crushed red pepper – or more, again – you know what you like
½ cup of fresh herbs of your choosing – dill would be the obvious choice but feel free to experiment
1 Tbsp. lime juice, optional
Put the veggies – including garlic, fresh herbs and crushed pepper – in pint jars. Pack them in pretty tight but don’t bruise them. Combine the vinegar, water, and salt in a saucepan and simmer just until the salt is good and dissolved. Let the mixture cool for a minute and then pour it into the pints. Seal the jars and put in the refrigerator. Allow to “pickle” for a day or two before indulging so that you get the full pickled effect.
Insanely Easy Pickled Beets – Very Small Batch
1 pint’s worth of beets (3-4)
¼ c. white vinegar
2 Tbsp. sugar – raw/organic is fine – don’t use honey
Pinch of salt
1 tsp. ground cloves
Trim the greens off the beets and discard (or eat your greens). Place beets in a small sauce pan and cover with water. Allow water to boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from heat, allow to cool a little so you don’t burn your fingers. Peel and slice beets and then stack them in a pint jar. Get them in there really tight. Combine remaining ingredients in a sauce pan on the stove until the sugar dissolves. Pour into the pint jar. Seal and refrigerate.
Jolee’s Tomato Sauce
3 pounds of tomatoes – roma or cherry work best, but any good RIPE tomato will work, especially if you have a good blender
½ c. EVOO
12 cloves of garlic
½ c. chopped fresh oregano or basil
1 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pour olive oil into a cookie sheet or other large pan. Cut tomatoes in half and put them cut side down on the pan. Add garlic, herbs and salt. Place in the oven and cook until the tomatoes are browned – about 30-45 minutes. Allow to cool and then put the whole mess into a blender (in batches if needed) and mix up to your preferred thickness. If it is just too think you can add some broth to even it out. Yom.