The Hot-filled, Chilli, Sweet and Sour Cucumber Puccini

I got some cucumber puccini. I restrained myself from consuming it all in order to do what I wanted next, the hot-filled chilli sweet and sour cucumber puccini.

few cucumber pucciniThe chili, sweet and sour pickling solution. The following measurements were result of adding and tasting, a trial and error. First, I poured 150 ml vinegar to mixing container. Added water gradually until the sourness was mild enough. Then added refined sugar until I achieved the sweetness that suited my taste buds.

— 150 ml vinegar
— 200 ml water
— 20 tablespoons sugar

I determined how many puccini I can fit in a wide short jar. Cut both puccini ends to match the jar height. Those cut ends will also allow faster penetration of pickling solution to cucumbers.

cucumbers in jarsfitted puccini cucumbers in jarsDropped  chili peppers to jar. This will add chilli flavor to cucumbers after curing or storage. This is the first time I have done this with cucumber so I was not sure about the expected outcome. I am hoping for a chili cucumber.

large siling labuyocucumber puccini chili pepperHeated the pickling solution to almost boiling. Add it to jar and covered immediately.

jars filled with cucumberThe next things to do are store it and wait patiently.

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Update as of January 28, 2013.

I guess  I am being punished for staying out the norm. First, the cold sugar/syrup preservation method for balimbing did not worked well. Second, this direct hot-fill method for puccini pickles is not working well too. All cucumbers shrunk in size as a result of syrup vinegar mixture rapidly taking out the cucumber water reserved.

I gonna do the proper proven procedure next time, or may try another odd method. Let us allow it this way for the mean time so we can evaluate the flavor.

cucumber puccini trial after few days

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Update as of February 10 , 2013.

After 17 days of storage, I think it is about time to see the result. Would the chilli pepper in a sweet and sour pickling solution make the cucumber taste  better? Or it would be worse? Let’s see!

I opened the tightly sealed jar. The bubbles started coming out of the shriveled cucumbers. It is unexpected.

pickled cucumberHere is the short explanation for bubbling cucumbers. Remember that I did hot-fill the pickling solution and cucumbers in the jar. The hot steaming solution drove away some air. After sealing, it created a partial vacuum that grabbed the air space inside cucumber making it shriveled even more. Opening the jar returned the air pressure back to normal, resulting to expansion in cucumber size. It then created air spaces that slowly being replaced by liquid. This last step is where bubbling occurs.

Going back to organoleptic properties. It is chewy, crunchy, slight sweet, slightly sour and a bit hot. It is perfect for my taste buds.

shriveled cucumber

How To Make A Quick Okra Pickles

Pickling usually involves soaking vegetable in brine solution and letting it naturally ferments for several days to several weeks. Natural microflora carry out the tasks that adds new set of flavors. Followed by discarding the brine and replacing it with sweet and sour or sweet pickling solution. Omitting the first stage makes a quick pickle, a quick okra pickles.

Okra or ladies finger.  A vegetable belonging to cotton family.  Cotton last for almost eternity but okra only last for seven days when in good condition, handled properly, and stored in room with temperature of about 10ºC and 90 to 95% relative humidity.  Pickling is a great way to salvage excess produce and those that failed to reach market in time.

Here it goes…

1) Get fresh okra. No bruises and damage. Should be firm and succulent. Wash in running water to remove adhering dirt.

fresh and washed okra

2) Cut off the base. Make it slanting in case wanted to arrange up side down in sleek jar. The cut will allow faster absorption of pickling solution. Arrange in jar, vertically if using a small sleek jar, horizontally if using a large container.

okra arranged in jar

3) Prepare pickling solution, 30% sugar and 30% vinegar for sweet and sour, 30% sugar and 5% vinegar for a sweet pickle. Add spices of choice like ginger, black pepper, chili and herbs.

4) Bring the mixture to boil. Allow to cool for five minutes and pour to container with okra. Place a bag of water on top to prevent okra from floating – use polypropylene bags. Cover. Let stand for two days before eating or adding to vegetable dishes. Keep refrigerated after opening.

okra pickles