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Classic Pickle Recipes from Chef Craig Flinn

GREEN TOMATO AND APPLE CHOW

Chow chow, as it is affectionately called in the Maritimes, is made with green tomatoes and onions. I use the apple as a sweetening element. It is crucial to use an apple that holds its shape otherwise it will melt and make the chow sloppy. I also cook my chow a bit less than many recipes as I enjoy the crisp texture of the green tomato and onions.

  • 9 lb (4 kg) green tomatoes diced
  • 2.2 lb (1 kg) onion diced
  • 1/4 (60 mL) cup rock salt
  • 2.2 lbs (1 kg) peeled and diced apple (Jona Gold or Northern Spy)
  • 2 cups (500 mL) apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) brown sugar
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) cloves
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp (3 mL) allspice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) dry mustard
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) pickling spice
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) water
  1. In a large mixing bowl combine green tomatoes, onions, and rock salt and set in a cool place overnight. It is not necessary to refrigerate at this point as it is desirable to extract as much water as possible from the vegetables. This process is more efficient if the vegetables are not extremely cold.
  2. The next day drain the vegetables of the released liquid but do not rinse. Place in a large pot and add the apples, cider vinegar, brown sugar, and spices. The pickling spice, available as a mix in most grocery stores, is best wrapped in a sachet of cheesecloth. This bundle can be easily removed after the pickles have simmered. Handy spice bags are now available as well during the pickling season.
  3. Simmer the pickles on low heat for 1 hour. Remove sachet and discard. Make a slurry of the cornstarch and water and add to the pot. The sauce will thicken very slightly and develop a lovely glossy sheen. Jar the chow in sterilized mason jars as per the manufacturer's instructions.
  4. For longer term storage of the chow, process the jars in a water sterilization pot as per the instructions. As a general rule, jars submerged in boiling water for 30 minutes will successfully sterilize the food.

 

CHIVES' MUSTARD PICKLES

This recipe comes after much experimentation and taste testing dozens of types of mustard pickles from village markets all over Nova Scotia. It has evolved into a "spoonable", chutney style pickle instead of large and chunky. This means it works well as a garnish for fish or as a condiment with burgers and sausages.

  • 10 cups (2 1/2 litres) English cucumbers diced, seeds removed (see below for instructions)
  • 5 cups (1250 mL) onions diced
  • 1 cup (250 mL) red pepper minced
  • 1 cup (250 mL) green pepper minced
  • 4 stalks celery minced
  • 3/4 cup (180 mL) rock salt
  • 5 cups (1250 mL) boiling water
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) whole yellow mustards seeds
  • 4 tbsp (60 mL) dry mustard
  • 4 tbsp (60 mL) turmeric
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) crushed fenugreek
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) cumin
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) ground black pepper
  • 6 cups (1500 mL) white vinegar
  • 8 cups (2 litres) white sugar
  • 2/3 cup (180 mL) cornstarch
  1. To properly prepare the cucumbers slice lengthwise and using a spoon remove the pulpy seeds from the center. Do not peel. Dice into pieces about 1/2 inch square (1 cm). Add salt to water and bring to a boil. Pour salted water over cucumbers, onions, peppers, and celery and let stand for 2 hours. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large pot combine spices with vinegar and sugar. Once thoroughly mixed remove 2 cups and set aside. Add the vegetables to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook the vegetables for a minimum of 15 minutes to remove as much excess water from the vegetables as possible. Make a slurry of the cornstarch and the reserved 2 cups of vinegar/sugar blend. Increase the heat again to high and resume the boil. Add the slurry and stir continuously until the pickles and sauce thicken. Simmer for 3 minutes and proceed to jarring in sanitized containers. It is always best to follow the manufacturer's directions for sterilizing mason jars and lids.
  3. For longer term storage of the chow, process the jars in a water sterilization pot as per the instructions. As a general rule, jars submerged in boiling water for 30 minutes will successfully sterilize the food.