Wednesday, May 08, 2013

One Pineapple, Two Pickles

I'm old enough to still think of pineapple as a once-in-a while indulgent purchase. While they no longer come to us from Hawaii, there's still something exotic about the fruit that calls for a special preparation. Unlike the pineapples of my youth, you rarely get a bad one. Today's varieties are almost always fully ripe when they arrive at the store, and much less acidic. I can't remember the last time I had a bad pineapple.

I like that the pickled pepper recipe uses the pineapple rind that would otherwise be discarded. I used very milk poblano peppers for mine,as we're not that adventurous when it comes to hot peppers. You may choose something a bit stronger. I also had the most intense purple garlic I've ever tasted to use. I say that in a good way, but I used much less than the recipe called for because the garlic is really powerful. Feel free to adjust the spices, ingredients, and amounts.

For The Vinagre:

(Based on a recipe by Daisy Martinez)

Peel of a large pineapple (discard the top and bottom) reserve pineapple for the recipe below
1 large, sweet onion, sliced as thin as possible
10 garlic cloves (less if very strong-or more if you have a problem with vampires)
Sliced or chopped peppers of your choice-amount will vary to your tastes)
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram leaves (you can be lazy and toss in the stem if you like)
10 peppercorns
1 teaspoon coarse salt

Place the peels in a large pot, with water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for 30 minutes. Drain. Fit everything else into a large jar (a quart ought to do it). Pour the hot liquid over to cover. Cool, seal, and store in the fridge. Reserve leftover pineapple liquid for next recipe, but if you forget, just use pineapple juice)

For the Spiced, Pickled Pineapple:

(Adapted from the Ball Blue Book)

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup pineapple liquid from recipe above, or tinned pineapple juice
1 1/2 stick cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon whole allspice
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 fresh pineapple cut into spears or chunks

Tie spices in cheesecloth or a spicebag. In a large pot, combine sugar, vinegar, and juice. Add spicebag. Stir until sugar dissolves, then cover and simmer 20 minutes. Add pineapple to syrup, and simmer until heated through. If preserving, pack into heated jars and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes, otherwise cool, seal, and store in fridge. Improves with storage. 

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