Monday, October 5, 2015

Hungarian Sun Pickles (Kovászos uborka)

Hungarian Sun Pickles
Kovászos Uborka
first day outside!

Mmmm pickles. I love pickles, be they in vinegar, brined, cucumber, okra, etc. My all time favorite, though, would have to be the Hungarian Sun Pickles. I have fond memories of eating them as a child, and they have quite a unique flavor. Every summer now I buy (or grow) pickling cucumbers, and make at least one batch of this delicious pickle. The funny thing is, when I last went to make them, I searched my blog to find the recipe, and realized that I haven't added it yet! So here it is. 

Hungarian Sun Pickles
Yes, that is parsley, not dill. And a grape leaf. Please see notes. 


  • 8 cups filtered or bottled water
  • 1/2 cup of salt (kosher, sea, or canning is best)
  • Dill (Fresh, dried, or just the seeds)
  • 3 or more garlic cloves
  • Rye Bread (really any bread will work, but Rye is traditional)
  • Enough Pickle-sized cucumbers to fit your jars. 
  • optional- hot peppers
  1. Bring Water to a boil, remove from Heat and add salt.
  2. Prepare and Slice the cucumbers- chop off both ends, and then cut- traditional is quartered lengthwise without cutting all the way (so that they remain intact) but spears, chips, whatever works. 
  3. Pack the jars- Dill, peppers (if using), garlic, and cucumbers.  
  4. Pour the warm brine into the jar to cover the cucumbers.
  5. Tuck the bread into the jar and under the lid. The bread creates a barrier from the outside air, adds complex sugars for the ferment, and gives it a unique taste. Make sure to layer the bread to cover any opening. 
  6. Use plastic wrap, a plastic baggie, or cheesecloth to cover the top, and secure with a rubber band. Pierce a few holes if using plastic wrap or plastic baggies. This is to let air escape, but keep the pests out. 
  7. Set outside during the day for 1-4 days, depending on the heat, and let ferment. 
  8. When fermentation is done, scoop out the bread, and store in the fridge. If you want to make sure and get all of the bread, dump the contents into a bowl, repack everything except the brine, and then pour the brine back into the jar through a sieve. The milky yeast is normal at the bottom of the jar. 
  9. Enjoy! 

The finished product!

  • This pickle turns soft quick. Although I made 4 jars in my pictures, I regretted doing so because I ended up having to use the last pickles for dips and soups. Just make one jar at a time, and enjoy within a week. 
  • Because I live in Italy, I cannot find Dill anywhere. I'll have to grow it myself for next year. So in this batch (in the pictures) I used parsley instead. Although not bad, it's no substitute for Dill. 
  • This last batch I also tried to use a grape leaf in the jar to help keep the pickles from going soft (I had read about the technique on the internets), but it didn't seem to help. 
  • I also used whatever bread I had in the pantry this time- which turned out to be a wheat and a hard white bread. Still turns out a great pickle. :-)
  • For more information please visit: One of my Sources 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Limoncello & Rosemary Fig Jam

We have at least 6 (I'm too lazy to go out and actually check) Fig trees at our new house in Italy. Apparently that is quite a bit, because we are practically giving figs away. Unfortunately figs, although being absolutely sweet and delicious, don't last long. This is the reason I had never seen a fig in a grocery store until a visit to my sister-in-law in Northern California when I saw a basket of fresh figs and had to buy it. Fresh is absolutely amazing if you can get your hands on some. But hurry up and use them!
Because of our crazy surplus, the easiest thing to do with them is make jam. That way you can enjoy them all year long. I have also dehydrated and froze them, but I like canning them into jam the best, because its a finished product, and it makes a great gift!
My first batch of jam was just regular fig jam. But with this latest batch, I wanted to make something different. I looked around on Pintrest, and found that a lot of people were putting liqueur into the jam, like brandy and grand marnier. I thought, hey, I don't have any of those, but I do have Limoncello from a friend, and some rosemary outside, so why not combine these? If I may say so myself, it turned out fantastic!
So Many Figs!

Limoncello & Rosemary Fig Jam
adapted from the Ball Blue Book guide to preserving

Yield: about 5 Pints (I ended up having 4 pints and 4 half pints, but only because I added another 2 cups of figs)

  • 5 pounds of Figs
  • 6 cups of sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2-3 tablespoons of Limoncello
  • a few sprigs of Rosemary
  • 3/4 cup water if your figs aren't very juicy
The Rosemary on top of the jam. The plant was blooming with beautiful blue flowers. 
To prepare the figs: Completely cover figs with boiling water. Let stand for 10 minutes. This allows the figs to become a nice gooey mess. Drain, stem, and chop figs. Measure out 2 quarts of chopped figs.

To Make the jam: combine figs, sugar, and water(optional) in a large saucepot. Bring slowly to a boil, stiring until the sugar dissolves. After rinsing the rosemary, add to the pot. keep the rosemary in the pot for as long as you want, just know the longer it stays the more rosemary flavor you'll get in the jam. I left mine in for about 10-15 minutes. Remove the rosemary, and make sure you remove any leaves that got left behind. Cook the jam rapidly to gelling point (Or however long before that, I like mine slightly less than Jelly). As the mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking.
Add lemon juice and cook a few minutes longer. skim off foam if necessary. Add Limoncello and stir to combine. Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Adjust caps. Process 15 minutes in a boiling water canner.

Here you are! let me know what you think :-)