“Have nothing in your houses that that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” – William Morris

How exciting it is that spring is right around the corner?! Last month it was such a treat to have our family showcased as the cover feature of Marquette Neighbors. It was a pleasure, and humbling, to share our story. It really made me reflect on the mountains we have moved over our eight years together. We all have grown so much emotionally as a family. I am proud of the life we are building for ourselves and I look forward to seeing what the future holds. 

While my husband and I share the quest for a more natural and simpler life, I have a confession to make, I am a glass jar hoarder. While I do have an impressive collection of Mason jars for canning, much to my husband John’s dismay, I have taken to saving every single jar that crosses our kitchen. I even find jars in my mailbox at work that co-workers have saved for me (along with egg cartons for our hens’ eggs). I may even be guilty of buying certain foods at the grocery store because I fancy the jar it comes in. It is true that we have boxes of jars in our barn, John’s shop, and in our basement. 

Why so many jars you may ask? Well, they are so versatile. I use them to store homemade taco seasoning and spice mixes, I freeze soup in them, use them for leftovers, make and keep homemade salad dressing, and jars keep cut up fruit and vegetables fresh longer and easy to see and grab in the refrigerator. However, the two most important reasons for keeping glass jars (aside from the obvious benefit of recycling) is that I use them for the flower bouquets that I sell at the Skandia Farmers Market and I use them to make refrigerator pickles. 

Unfortunately, my store of refrigerator pickles is dwindling and my garden fresh cucumbers are months away. Since I have been trying to ration my pickles, so I do not run out, I decided to pickle some carrots and cauliflower. After all, one of my current favorite tangy snacks is carrot slices in vinegar with salt and pepper.

The benefit of making refrigerator pickled vegetables is that you do not need canning supplies and you can do them in small batches and experiment with different flavors/spices. Part of the fun of cooking and food prep is playing with your food. 

You can also pickle other vegetables like asparagus, Brussel sprouts, and bell pepper. 

*This recipe makes 4 large jars (32 ounce)

*1 head of cauliflower (cut into the size florets that you would like)
*1 bag of carrots (peel and cut into the size and shape you’d like. Some people like to slightly cook the carrots, but I like them raw and crispy)
*1 bunch of fresh dill
*1 large head of garlic (I take the peel off and give each clove a good smash with the edge of a chef’s knife)
*2 jalapenos sliced (I keep the seeds in them, because I like the heat)
*¼ of a large onion (chopped into small slices)

*1 ½ quarts of apple cider vinegar (many people use white vinegar, but I like apple cider)
*1 quart of water
*1 teaspoon of turmeric
*2 Teaspoons of mustard seed

*¼ cup of canning salt (if you do not have canning salt, you can use non-iodized salt. The iodine makes the vegetables darken. You could use kosher or sea salt)

You can add other things to your brine: dill seeds, coriander, black peppercorns, and pepper flakes. Pickling spice can also be found in the spice aisle.

Make sure you sanitize your jars. In the bottom of the four jars I divide up the slices of jalapeno, onion, garlic cloves, and dill.

Then pack the jars with the vegetables. I combined both the carrots and cauliflower, but you can keep them separate.

Add all of the ingredients for your brine into a pot and bring to a boil and stir. Once it comes to a boil you can pour over your vegetables.

Let sit until room temperature and then close the lid tightly and put in the refrigerator. Most refrigerator pickle recipes say that they are ready within 24 hours, but I tend to wait at least a week or two before digging in. While they are said to safely last at least two months, my refrigerator pickles do last much longer.

If you like tangy foods as much as I do, I know you will love these vegetables. They are great on their own, or in a salad. Try dipping them in tzatziki or hummus for a great flavor and texture combination. Plus, if you are a jar hoarder like I am, it puts your collection to great use!

Make sure you check out the tabs at the top of this page for more fresh and wholesome recipes. Also, find my Facebook page and give it a like/follow. I love to hear from others who love to cook and enjoy trying new recipes.



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