Pick a Pickle

Almost every vegetable garden explodes in July. My first July harvest included the last of the spring greens and asparagus, midcycle broccoli and garlic scapes, and the first snap peas, carrots, beets, and bulb onions. The harvest will go straight into our mouths, but as the yields grow jugs of vinegar and a box of salt will be front and center, ready for pickling.

All of my recently harvested vegetables can be pickled, along with snap beans, summer squash, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, garlic, cabbage, and even fruit. That’s the beauty of pickling: it lets you preserve any low-acid vegetable safely. And like many of my favorite processing techniques, it’s endlessly variable. Various pickling techniques let you preserve everything from a single cucumber to a box of cukes. You can flavor them to fit any meal: American dills or bread-and-butters with burgers, Japanese kyuri asazuke with sushi, Indian kheer uragai with curry—and that’s just a few variations on cucumber pickles.
Read more about quick and easy pickling

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Under Pressure

I have vivid memories of a giant silver kettle rattling away on the stovetop, letting off steam like a rocket about to head to the moon. But I was likely too young to be involved in actually running this pressure canner. And by the time I was old enough, my mom had acquired a vacuum sealer and exchanged the steamy heat-of-summer process for extra chances to open the freezer door.

When I inherited my mom’s canning equipment more than a decade ago (with the caveat that I fill both our shelves with its results), I also inherited “the beast”: the heavy pressure canner capable of holding 7 quarts. I promptly broke it before I could even get its old seal tested. It now makes a lovely open kettle for cooking down applesauce and other large batches. I’ve never replaced it, and I’ve never missed it. And here’s why. Read more about (not) pressure canning