Using up preserves, part 2

This week, I am giving thought to the various jars of pickles left on base
in my fridge. Not just the usual cuke suspects: I’ve also accumulated
pickled beets, beans, and carrots in my summer preserving travels. Often
forgotten in the mad rush to get food on the table, these pickle stragglers
can add zesty flavour to any meal!

Here are some suggestions:

1. *Add chopped pickles to burger meat:* Many gourmet butchers now
regularly add chopped pickles, relish and/or pickled peppers to their
burger patties…and you can too! The built-in flavour is delightful and
eliminates the need for extra condiments. Try a dill pickle-jalapeno pepper
mix for a combo of sour and spicy that is just right on the grill! Or try
pickled beet-burgers for their bright colour and sweetness. If you’re
impatient with fine chopping, just toss everything into the food processor.

2. *Make rouladen*: The Germans were really onto something when they
decided to roll up a whole dill pickle in a wide strip of thinly-sliced
beef before popping it on the grill: a smear of horseradish or mustard on
the beef doesn’t go amiss, either! Add a strip of bacon to the outside for
extra decadence, and secure your roulade with a toothpick so it doesn’t
come unravelled! Dilled green beans or carrot spears can be subbed in for
dill pickles.

3. *Make kabobs*: Skewer alternating chunks of dill pickle with fresh
tomatoes, mushrooms, chunks of pepper, and meat of your choice for a fresh
twist on a kabob.

4. *Make pickle dip*: Grab your electric mixer and blend together a
cup of sour cream with a block of cream cheese, salt, pepper, a bit of
chopped onion, and a few finely chopped dill pickles (you could also use
dill relish). Fresh dill adds colour and extra flavour to your dip.

5. *When the pickles are gone, don’t pour out the pickle juice!* Some
drink it right from the jar; others pour it into a Bloody Mary. You can
also use it as the basis for a tangy salad dressing. I like to use my
pickle juice to make German potato salad, the no-mayo version of a picnic
classic. Here’s a favourite recipe from my forthcoming book, *Grow Hope: A
Simple Guide to Creating Your Own Food Garden at Home. *You can find more
recipes there, as well as encouragement for starting your own food garden
(or improving your existing one!)

German Potato Salad

  • 5-6 potatoes, cubed (don’t bother
    with peeling)
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup pickle juice, or apple
  • cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seed, or Dijon
  • mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, parsley, cilantro, chives, or a combination!

In a large pot, add cubed potatoes and cover with water; bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, slice bacon into small pieces and fry in a large pan until brown
and crispy. Remove bacon bits from the pan but keep the hot fat. Add
chopped onion and fry until translucent. Add vinegar, sugar, mustard seed,
and pepper. Once potatoes are soft, drain and add them to the frying pan.
Stir until potatoes are well-coated with dressing. Add chopped fresh herbs
and serve warm or cold.