2020 has been quite the year for us all. But fortunately, I can focus on positive changes for Twice as Tasty. Despite limits on in-person workshops and other live events, Twice as Tasty has grown and thrived this year, particularly with the publication of my first cookbook and its accompanying recipe collection. It feels fabulous to be able to reflect on happy developments and highlight good news in such a challenging year. Read on, and you’ll be smiling too, or skip down the page to read about the year to come.
Read more about what to expect in 2021
Now that you’re eager to or have successfully made pickles from the recipes in my new cookbook, The Complete Guide to Pickling, where and how should you store them? I talk briefly about pickle storage in the book, but several more tricks and tools will help you keep your pickled foods fresh and crisp.
As I mentioned in my post about pickling hacks earlier this month, you need two basic tools to make and store pickles: a container and a way to cover it. To ensure your pickles and their container stay clean and fresh, inside and out, choose nonreactive containers and lids—in other words, ones made of glass, stainless steel, food-grade plastic, or silicone.
Sure, you can cap your pickles with old metal mayonnaise lids or reuse tin-plated canning lids and rings; I did this, and recommended this repurposing, for years. But both will rust and break down over time as the acid in the pickle brine eats away at them, leaving an unattractive sticky mess around the jar threads, on your refrigerator shelves, and even potentially on the underside of the lid, where it can flake down into the food. Instead, I now save those old lids for dry storage and have switched to nonreactive options for high-acid foods.
Read more about storing pickles
When I was testing tools for The Complete Guide to Pickling, I had the most fun with tools for fermentation. Until I started writing the book, I had mostly fermented using tools and equipment already in my kitchen, relying on zip-close bags, small glass jars, and airlocks cobbled together with old canning lids. But when I realized I would be including more than 30 fermented recipes in the book, it was time to research and test some fermenting tools.
The surge of interested in fermented foods has opened opportunities for companies and entrepreneurs to present tools designed to make fermentation easy, manageable, and trouble free. Some of those companies were willing to send me their products to test as I created the recipes in the book.
My main takeaway was this: If you catch the fermentation bug, it’s worth investing in some tools. To create a healthy fermentation, you must keep the food submerged in the brine. You’ll get the best results if you can also limit airflow. Here are some of my favorite tools to help with both.
Read more about fermenting tools
As I explain in the opening chapter of my new book, The Complete Guide to Pickling, space is the primary reason I process pickles. Many pickles taste better and stay crisper, and fermented ones keep their probiotic goodness, when you don’t subject them to a boiling water bath. But some pickles hold up well to high heat, including beets, snap beans, and (when handled properly) cucumbers. Other pickled foods are ideal for canning, including many of the chutneys, sauces, relishes, and sauces in my book.
If you already can jams, jellies, and fruit in a boiling water bath, you likely have everything you need in your kitchen to can pickles. But if you’re new to canning or have been using some tool hacks to process your jars, a few tools will make your home canning easier, safer, and more reliable.
Read more about canning tools for picklers