11.14.2015

Getting Pickled {a cookbook review)

I am a big fan of preserving fruits, vegetables, cheeses, fish, and meats for future use. One old-fashioned and too-often forgotten method of preservation is pickling.

Schiffer Books offered me a review copy of Pickled Delicacies: In Vinegar, Oil, and Alcohol (Baumgartner, Hauer, Mahriner-Eder, and Obermayr. Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 2015) and I jumped at the offer because I am always looking for new ways to put up seasonal and local foods.

I opened the book to the middle and started reading. My immediate reaction was to go to the front of the book and find out if this was a translation. Don't get me wrong, the English is perfect. It is simply that the instructions reminded me of the style of European cookbooks, which made me love this book for that reason alone. It is, in fact, translated from German. (Leopold Stocker Verlag, 2008.)

For anyone who spends even a little time in the kitchen, these recipes are just right. They aren't laborious, and are easy to follow.

I like that the book is divided into five kinds of pickling processes, even though only three are listed in the title. Vinegar. Oil. Alcohol. Salt. Sugar. Maybe salt and sugar are assumed, but salt is one of the best preservers available, and sugared items certainly appeal to my sweet tooth. (Not all pickles are sour!)

Pickled Delicacies has a great variety of ideas - from sweet, to sour, to salty, and tipsy - many of which are new to me. Different flavor combinations, such as today's pears in saffron syrup, will really make this book a go-to when I want to create something out of the ordinary. It includes recipes for fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and fish ... and even one for quail eggs. The book has no meat-based recipes (no corned beef, no ham hocks), but I don't find that a detractor.

I think many of the recipes would make wonderful gifts. Note: Whether for yourself or for friends, proper sterilization and sealing of the jars is important, though it isn't covered in too much detail.

I give this book a thumbs up, mostly for its creativity. And, in the introduction, the authors encourage the reader to experiment. These are people who are passionate about their craft, and are encouraging to their readers to discover their personal creativity. No yields were given for these recipes but, with practice, that can be done through the cook's intuition.

Pucker up - it's pickle time!

~ David

Pears in Saffron Syrup
My suggestions are in blue.

1 cup white wine
3/4 cup water
4 firm pears (I used Bosc)
1/2 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 bag of saffron [I used a heaping 1/2 teaspoon]
1 tablespoon orange water (boil an orange peel in sugar water)

Wash the pears, peel, quarter, and remove pits and core. Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape out the pulp, and set aside the pulp for later.

Boil the wine, water, and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Then add the vanilla pulp and saffron and boil gently for 15 minutes.

Now add the orange water and pear quarters and boil until they are semi-soft. Remove the fruit with a skimmer and place into [sterilized] jars. Pour the [boiling] hot syrup over it [the pears] and add in the vanilla bean. Close tightly and store in a cool place.

Tips: Because of their beautiful color, pears in saffron syrup make a decorative dessert. Serve this delicacy with ice cream or pudding [custard], or use it as an original cake topping. Put a thin layer of jam on a cake and decorate with thinly sliced, well-drained pears. If you don't plan to serve the cake right away, cover the pears with jelly.

Makes about 2 pints.



25 comments:

  1. Mmmm....this sounds wonderful! I do love pears a lot. So, I do not have to "process" them in a boiling water bath? I have read that one always has to do that. I wish we had planted some pear trees 14 years ago when we moved to our farm!
    It's not too late.
    Growing up I remember helping my aunts and grandmother can fruit. I wish I had paid more attention to it but I was too young, I guess, to learn from them. I just remember being so HOT and they were, too. Or course it was done at the peak of summer/autumn and there certainly was no air conditioning.

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    1. Hi, Caterina! If you wanted to keep these for a long time, they should be processed. Since it only made 2 pints, I didn't think it was worth firing up the kettle, as I know they will be gone before too long! They are resting peacefully in the fridge! I think you will live these!

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  2. My mouth is watering! Looks like a beautiful book and the flavors in this particular recipe are so lovely -- and stunning!

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    1. Thanks, Valentina! I really did enjoy all the different and unique recipes in the book!

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  3. I have never attempted to pickle fruit - these look fabulous - I might try with stone fruit, which is just starting to be in season now here in Australia

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    1. I think "pickle" is an unusual word when thinking of fruit, Paola. "Preserve" or "put up" are the terms my family would use! I hope you find some pears to play with!

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  4. Aside from a quick method for onions, I don't think I've ever pickled anything. I did olives a couple of times, as well, but the second batch went wrong somewhere. Is there an olive recipe in that book?

    And look and your gorgeous pears! I can almost smell them!

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    1. I remember your olives, John, and dream of trying them someday. These pears are definitely worth trying - the color alone is gorgeous, and then there are the aroma and flavor!

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    2. John - I just checked, and there is not an olive recipe within. If I find a good one, I will definitely share!

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  5. Hi David, sounds like my kind of cookbook, the pears sound amazing and would make wonderful Christmas gifts.

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    1. I think so, too, Cheri - although I think these will be gone by Thanksgiving!

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  6. Oh David, I want this book too. I love to make bread and butter pickles and certain seasonal jams/jellies and I would love to learn more methods and recipes! Thanks for the review and your photos (as usual) are absolutely beautiful in this post!

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    1. Thanks, Marcelle - you are so sweet! Bread & Butter Pickles are my absolute favorite! It is fun to put things up for the future, isn't it?

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  7. What a lovely review and recipe, David! I adore anything pickled in vinegar and many things in alcohol! At one time, I had 15 different kinds of vinegar in my kitchen. That's when I realized I might have a "problem", if you can call it that! :)

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    1. Oh, Christina - I am afraid to open my pantry to count the oils and vinegars I have. I already admitted to my salt problem on the blog! :)

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  8. Pack me a peck of pickled pears! GREG

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    1. And here I thought you were Peter Piper! Thanks, Greg!

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  9. I am really starting to love canning--there are some wonderful recipes out there if you go beyond the basic. I will have to pin this one, hoping for a good pear harvest in 2016.

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    1. Yes, Inger, there are so many things we can say having a pear tree like we had in Maine, but having limes, lemons, and oranges isn't too bad, on the other hand...

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  10. I love the idea of pickling and preserving foods and am totally taken by this book (pears and saffron???), but have never tried yet because I still need to get over the fear of sterilization and sealing, but am very tempted by this.

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    1. The sterilization is really quite simple, Fiona, but for this recipe you can simply refrigerate them for up to a month. I have done a lot of canning and, if you follow the directions, it is really simple and safe to seal the jars! Let me know if you want more info...

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    2. Will do when I finally decide to jump! Thank you

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    3. :) - Happy Thanksgiving! Are you celebrating in Milan?

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  11. Dear David, "Eingelegte Köstlichkeiten in Essig, Öl und Alkohol" sounds good to me...and "Birnen in Safransirup" just look absolutely wonderful - great flavors, wonderful presentation - what a great book to own!

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    1. Hast du dieses Kochbuch? It is really full of wonderful ideas! We are saving the pears for tomorrow night's dessert with some excellent vanilla ice cream.

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Thank you for taking the time to leave me a note - I really appreciate hearing from you and welcome any ideas you may have for future posts, too. Happy Cooking!

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