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Chai spice pickled green tomaotes?! OOH!

 
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I bought a jar of these yesterday, OH MY!! Tru Spiced Chai Pickles


They are basically a bread and butter pickle variant, less sugar than most B&B pickles  I have had recently (they seem to be nothing but syrup to me :P) and spiced really nicely!

Looking up a recipe for them to see what others have done, I hit this Four ways to pickle green tomatoes and my head said Chai Spiced Green Tomato Pickles!!
It's the time of year to be picking off green tomatoes, and I have some that are chilling off soon, it dropped to 43 last night. I think I'm getting creative in the kitchen later! :D

So I'll be going off her variants, making up one of my own, with cinnamon, cloves, cardamon, ginger and, knowing me, red chile. I think I have a plan!

:D
 
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Pearl Sutton wrote:They are basically a bread and butter pickle variant, less sugar than most B&B pickles  I have had recently (they seem to be nothing but syrup to me :P) and spiced really nicely!



I am a huge fan of bread and butter pickles.  Still working on reliably growing enough cukes to make my own, but the urgency has gone up because: you are not wrong about the syrup thing.  Recently I discovered that Vlasic brand B&B pickles had started to taste funny, so I looked at the ingredient lable.  Those bastards are now adding sucralose (an artificial sweetener) on top of the usual amount of corn syrup!  Which tastes bitter and "off" for starters, if you're sensitive to fake-sugar flavors.  I think they may have reduced the corn syrup a tiny bit to make their nutritional info label look better, but decided at the same time to bet on the American consumer not having any concept of "too sweet".  They are disgusting pickles now, and perforce off my list.
 
Pearl Sutton
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Dan Boone: I went toward not so sweet foods many years ago, and it's been at least 25-30 years since I had B&B pickles I like. I tried some on a salad bar a while back, they were sweeter than the canned pears on the same salad bar, the pears were in light syrup, which was less sweet tasting. I haven't read a label on them for probably 15 years (when looking to see what was in some odd pickles at Big Lots) but I am not surprised they are adding more sweetener. These looked interesting enough to try a jar to taste them.

And chai is one of my favorite things in the world :) I used to backpack a lot, and always made chai for breakfast when out in the mountains, it made me peaceful and happy :D My backpacking buddy slept later than me, and he loved waking up to the smell of chai brewing over a fire.
 
Pearl Sutton
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And I'm about to look up details for doing a butternut squash chai pickle, had a butternut break on the way home from the store the other day, that sounds like fun :) That would add sweetness, without sweetener. Need to see if that's raw pack or cooked, water bath or pressure canned. I'm betting pressured, no matter raw or cooked.
 
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Pearl, in Estonia they make a winter squash pickle that is raw diced squash with light syrup of vinegar, sugar, and cloves.  Tasty and refreshing.
 
Pearl Sutton
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Mk Neal wrote:Pearl, in Estonia they make a winter squash pickle that is raw diced squash with light syrup of vinegar, sugar, and cloves.  Tasty and refreshing.


That sounds good!
Will try it soon, I'm a squash junkie:)
 
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Well since we`re talking squash junkies-- there is a type of sweet here that I`ve never seen anything like in North America, you might enjoy trying it.

Cube up butternut or other winter squash. Put them in a lime (builder`s lime, not the fruit- the recipe I use calls for 2T of lime in 2L of water) solution and let them soak for a few hours, which gives them a weird crunchy texture when they're done. Then drain, wash well, and boil up in a sugar syrup with cinnamon, star anise, cloves for about half an hour. We usually can these up in jars to give as gifts, it is a very old-fashioned thing that nowadays is rather hard to find- I last saw it at a wedding out in the country.
 
Pearl Sutton
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Tereza: Oh NEAT!! Now I'm wondering if I have builder's lime around... I might. Not sure how food grade anything I'd have is, I use it as part of cement mixes. Wondering what else I can substitute for it that might be less iffy, it's a highly alkaline calcium carbonate... (If anyone tries this with lime, be warned, lime burns just like acid does, wear gloves, cover surfaces, it's dangerous stuff!! Treat it like battery acid. This is why I'm looking for a safer substitute...)

Oh! Eggplant is highly alkaline, that's why it kind of burns your mouth if you eat it raw, wonder if that would have the same effect? Certainly easy enough to try. Baking soda is also alkaline. Hm...  I feel an experiment coming on!!
 
Tereza Okava
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you are entirely right, lime is nothing to fool around with.

what we use is calcium oxide, preferably food grade (hydrated lime - https://www.azurestandard.com/shop/product/food/baking-pantry/calcium-hydroxide/cal-lime-calcium-hydroxide-food-grade/20410?package=BP426).
it is the same thing you use to nixtamalize corn, so you might find it if you have Latino communities making masa near you.
I have heard of this food grade unicorn but have never found it-- I have the construction version in my yard, and since it is washed out I use it for this (and for making masa with whole corn).

Interestingly, another name for this hydrated lime is pickling lime, which makes me wonder what kind of other recipes are out there.
 
Pearl Sutton
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Oh! I have the kind you use to nixtamalize corn, packed down deep, not reachable right now. And pickling lime, I had forgotten that word, I know you make pickles squeak by soaking them in pickling lime, rinsing them well, and then pickling.
When working with lime in concrete, if you don't wear gloves, it sucks all the moisture out of your hands, and then it starts burning, but the dehydration comes first. I bet that's the point here, to remove water as well as damage the cell walls.
I had the grocery store on my list today, I'll grab an eggplant, and see if they have pickling lime.

Looking it up online:

In the past, pickling lime was used to ensure firm, crunchy pickles. Today, pickling lime is used less often due to dangers that arise from improper use of the powder.

 Yup. I can see that. It IS hazardous. Eggplant isn't.

The purpose of food-grade lime is to preserve the pickles' firmness, and a similar firming agent, alum, is sometimes used instead of lime in some pickling recipes.

 Oooh, alum! I have that!

Because the Lime is alkaline, you have to get rid of it all, or it would neutralize the acidity that you are going to use to preserve the pickles with. People haven't always rinsed it thoroughly, though, leaving some alkalinity and raising the pH of the pickling batch by neutralizing the acidity.

And that's where you get the botulism I have seen mentioned also. Se if you do this, RINSE IT OFF VERY WELL!!

I think eggplant is sounding safer. I'll get one today. I'll try the alum too.


 
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@ Pearl Sutton - I'm now confused. Are you going to try to use the eggplant to temporarily make the squash more alkaline?  If that's what you mean, it doesn't matter *what* you use to make the target veggie more alkaline - if you don't wash it off well, it will still neutralize the acidity of the recipe, and that will still raise the risk of botulism. You either have to get rid of the alkaline material before canning, or increase the acid - more vinegar, or some recipes call for adding lemon or lime juice, to get the same level of protection. (This is from *very* old chemistry class and hopefully a *real* chemist will come along and make this make sense to me.)

Alternatively, my potentially faulty logic would suggest not just rinsing in water, but consider a second rinse in water with vinegar added? (Repeat brackets from above - Chemists, please come and help!)

OR you choose a method of canning that has the same effect of protecting against botulism. Pressure canning for a longer period will do that, but it tends to undo the effect of getting crunchy food that you were looking for. When I'm trying to make pickles and *want* some crunch, I try to make sure the acid is high enough that I feel comfortable "pasteurizing" rather than canning. This involves keeping the bath water in a *very* narrow range -  180-185F for 30 min. which I find quite difficult to do, so I only do so when I'm looking for that "crunch". http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_06/low_temp_pasteur.html gives a bit more info, and here - http://www.pickyourown.org/pickledbreadbutterzucchini.htm#pasteur - gives a specific zucchini recipe which uses the technique.

All that said, very few people get botulism now-a-days, because most manuals about home canning have done everything they can to protect themselves as well as their clients. Jam that used to rely on a 5 min boiling water bath in my childhood, now calls for 10 to 15 minutes. Many modern recipes call for adding lemon juice, but I blame that on the fact that many "modern" fruits and vegetables have had more sweetness bred into them, and acid bread out, so I think there is more than one factor at work.

Please keep us posted on your experiments!
 
Pearl Sutton
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Jay Angler wrote:@ Pearl Sutton - I'm now confused. Are you going to try to use the eggplant to temporarily make the squash more alkaline?  If that's what you mean, it doesn't matter *what* you use to make the target veggie more alkaline - if you don't wash it off well, it will still neutralize the acidity of the recipe, and that will still raise the risk of botulism. You either have to get rid of the alkaline material before canning, or increase the acid - more vinegar, or some recipes call for adding lemon or lime juice, to get the same level of protection. (This is from *very* old chemistry class and hopefully a *real* chemist will come along and make this make sense to me.)

Alternatively, my potentially faulty logic would suggest not just rinsing in water, but consider a second rinse in water with vinegar added? (Repeat brackets from above - Chemists, please come and help!)


Yes. Planning to substitute blendered up eggplant for the lime, and rinse it really well, and in a second vinegar rinse, before doing anything else to it.
Not trying to be confusing, trying not to be by speculating ahead of time things I might not end up doing for one reason or another :)
And will keep you up on it!
 
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Thanks for clarifying. Sounds delicious! I wish I was close enough for a taste-test.  If you want crunch as well as flavour, I suggest you read the links about pasteurization. I set a timer for 5 min. repeatedly to check on the temperature of the bath while feeling like I'm not standing there watching a pot simmer. The amount of electricity changes over time, even though I start with hot pickles and hot jars, so it does take repeated tweaking to keep it in the zone.
 
Tereza Okava
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but the issue is only canning- you can still fool around with this stuff if you're not looking at long-term storage. (i don't can for space and oh-man-not-another-thing-for-me-to-do type reasons). I keep this squash candy business refrigerated, don't leave it out, and it never lasts long enough to worry about. i'd send you some, because now I have a hankering for it and will have to make it!!! lol
 
Pearl Sutton
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just came from the store, there was no eggplant, I got alum and pickling lime. We shall see!! :D  
A problem with tiny towns, things like eggplant are iffy to find.
I'll actually measure stuff etc, so others can see what I did. I don't usually do so. I think mom has measuring spoons in her tea stuff. I know I don't in the cooking stuff.
I'll probably not can it down either, I don't expect it to last. :9
Off to cut up squash!
 
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You can find pickling/slaked/hydrated lime at Wal-Mart and most any grocery around here, in the canning supplies. It's cheap, and specifically for food. I think it's also used in fermented pickles, and I know it's supposed to be a good way to preserve raw eggs, to store, too
 
Pearl Sutton
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My report, finally!!
I put 3/4 of the squash in one bowl, the other 1/4 in another. The bigger bowl got 4 cups of water (enough to cover it) and 2 Tablespons of lime. The smaller bowl got 2 cups of water and 1 T alum.  Covered and left on the counter.
Next day I checked them, not doing anything interesting. That night I checked them again, nothing still. Rechecked the package of lime, it called for 1 cup of lime per 2 gallons of water. Rechecked my math, yup, 2 T is correct. The recipe on the package is for cucumbers though, which are softer than squash. So I doubled the amounts in them, adding another 2 T lime to the bigger bowl, and 1 T alum to the smaller one..

And then I got busy. And they sat longer than I planned. So today, 5 days after I put them in, I cleaned them well, soaked them in multiple changes of water. The stuff in lime, at that point, was a bit bland, but neat texture! The stuff in alum was similar texture but sweeter, if I had been asked to identify what it was, I'd have said just the center core of a carrot. So then they got cooked. Both in sugar water (didn't want to get too weird with the concept, had already tortured the recipe!) the lime'd squash got cloves and garam masala added, the alum'd squash got fresh ginger. Both cooked slowly for a bit over an hour, till there was almost no liquid left. The alum'd squash was excellent flavored, but had gone mushy, not as mushy as you'd expect cooked squash to be, but definitely had little texture.  The lime'd squash still had all of it's texture, retained shape and firmness, as well as excellent flavor.
The texture is hard to describe. Crispy-soft? Gently firm? It's weird. Very good though.

So what happened to my experimental victims? Some of the alum'd squash got put into a cheesecake that had no other sweetener added, the lime'd squash makes an awesome topping on said cheesecake :D

An interesting aside, I left these on the counter for 5 days, well covered, and there was no decomposition of any sort going on. When you pickle things in vinegar you are moving the pH out of the range that bacteria can live in, into the high acid range, and strong alkaline has the same effect, apparently. When I realized I had spaced them out, I was wondering if I was going to have to just toss them, and I inspected it all  very closely as they were repeatedly soaked and rinsed and resoaked.

So my final opinions:
I will do this with the lime again, using other things as victims, this is interesting. Thank you Tereza for the idea :D
It does stop bacterial growth.
WEAR YOUR GLOVES if you do this!!  It's not something to be non-careful with. YOU CAN GET HURT EASILY!!!
it will also burn countertops, and eat cloth. And be sure to use a glass or ceramic bowl, will eat plastic, and damage metal (and get metal in your food.) This is serious chemistry y'all, treat it as such. Do not get casual or sloppy about it!
RINSE IT VERY, VERY WELL. Soak it, rinse it again, several times. Seriously, you want this stuff OFF of it. DO NOT GET CASUAL OR SLOPPY ABOUT IT!!!
 
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