by Andrea Weigl, cookbook author and producer at Markay Media
Editor’s Note: Andrea shares three recipes: Habanero Gold Pepper Jelly, Ben Barker’s Jerusalem Artichoke Relish and Sweet and Spicy Refrigerator Pickles from her book, Pickles & Preserves: A Savor the South Cookbook.
Habanero Gold Pepper Jelly
This recipe was shared with me by an avid canner Rebecca Ashby of Winston-Salem. She not only serves it over cream cheese with crackers but also as a basting sauce for swordfish or pork loin. N.C. She was inspired by a version in the “Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.” From “Pickles & Preserves: A Savor the South Cookbook,” by Andrea Weigl, (UNC Press, 2014).
Makes about 6 to 7 four-ounce jars
½ cup diced dried apricots (about 12 medium)
¾ cup white vinegar
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
¼ cup finely chopped red bell pepper, seeds removed
½ cup finely chopped habanero pepper, seeds removed
3 cups sugar
1 (3-ounce) pouch of liquid pectin
Place the apricots and vinegar in a large stainless-steel stockpot or enamel Dutch oven. Let the apricots soak for at least 4 hours at room temperature.
Add the red onion, peppers, and sugar. Stir. Bring the mixture to a hard boil, or a boil that cannot be stirred down. Add the liquid pectin, bring back to a boil and cook for 1 more minute.
Pour the jelly in hot, sterilized jars, leaving a ¼-inch headspace. Process the jars for 10 minutes.
Ben Barker’s Jerusalem Artichoke Relish
I grow a patch of Jerusalem artichokes, also called sunchokes, in my backyard. The second year I harvested them, I had more than I could possibly use. I found a willing taker in the James Beard award-winning chef Ben Barker, who along with his pastry chef wife, Karen, owned the now closed-Magnolia Grill in Durham, N.C. (It should be noted that Karen has her own James Beard award.) In exchange for the artichokes, Ben shared his relish recipe and graciously let me reprint it in this book. Although I can’t claim credit, this relish adapted from Barker’s recipe receives many compliments. Be sure to clean the artichokes with a scrub brush to remove all the dirt and cut off any troublesome or soft spots. From “Pickles & Preserves: A Savor the South Cookbook,” by Andrea Weigl, (UNC Press, 2014).
Makes about 7 pint jars.
1 gallon plus 2 cups cold water
1 ½ cups kosher salt, divided
3 ½ pounds Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed, trimmed and cut into a small dice
2 cups small diced red pepper
2 cups small diced yellow pepper
2 cups small diced onion
2 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
5 cups cider vinegar
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 teaspoons pepper flakes
2 tablespoons ground turmeric
Place 1 gallon cold water and 1 cup kosher salt in a large bowl. Stir to dissolve the salt; add the diced artichokes. Soak overnight or at least 5-6 hours. Drain well.
Place the peppers, onions, ½ cup salt and 2 cups water in another large bowl. Let soak 1 hour. Drain. Combine with the artichokes.
Combine the sugars, vinegar, mustard seeds, pepper flakes, and turmeric in a stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a simmer and simmer gently for 2 minutes. Pour over the artichoke mixture. Let cool to room temperature. Pack in the hot sterilized pint jars, leaving a ¼-inch head space.
Process the jars for 10 minutes. Let sit at least 2 weeks before enjoying.
Spicy and Sour Refrigerator Pickles
I first tasted these pickles while judging an office cooking contest at Burt’s Bees corporate headquarters in Durham, N.C. This recipe is adapted from Beth Ritter’s winning entry. Ritter says the recipe appeared in the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram years ago and was attributed to Dock and Opal Everett who used to own a produce stand in Waco, Texas. I use a mandoline to make quick work of slicing the cucumbers, jalapeño and onion. From “Pickles & Preserves: A Savor the South Cookbook,” by Andrea Weigl, (UNC Press, 2014).
Makes 2 quarts
2 pounds pickling cucumbers, such as Kirby, cut into ¼-inch slices (about 8 cups)
1 jalapeño, sliced
1 onion, peeled and sliced
4 cups distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup pickling salt
3 1/2 cups sugar
1 ½ teaspoon celery seeds
1 ½ teaspoons turmeric
1 ½ teaspoons mustard seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
Combine the cucumbers, jalapeño, and onion in a large bowl. Set aside.
Heat the vinegar, salt, sugar, celery seeds, turmeric, mustard seeds, and black peppercorns in a medium stainless-steel saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir about 10 minutes, until the sugar and salt are dissolved.
Pack the vegetables into two quart jars. Ladle the hot brine over the pickles, leaving ½-inch headspace. Seal the jars with lids.
Let these pickles sit in the refrigerator for 5 days before eating. These pickles are good for a year but best within 3 months.