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Pickling & Preserving Made Easy

Pickling & Preserving Made Easy

  • Photos by Christopher Testani
  • Recipes by Sarah Carey

Our new favorite jams, jellies, and pickles are every bit as delectable as old-fashioned state-fair winners, but we’ve streamlined the process of making them.

No Pressure

Foolproof Jams, Jellies, and Pickles

Forget what you’ve been told you need -- an enormous pot, boiling-water baths, sterilization guidelines, and so on. Instead, turn out small batches with the fruits and vegetables you find at the farmers’ market on any given day. These pickles and preserves all keep in the fridge or freezer for months -- and each is worthy of a blue ribbon of its own. 

Jams, jellies, and pickles look luminous in glass jars. Any clean, freezer-safe nonreactive container with an airtight lid will do.

Can-Do Pickles

Crisp and Tangy

Think beyond the classic cukes -- you can pickle all manner of vegetables and fruits. Just slice them and soak them in a seasoned brine, sour or sweet. Serve the pickles as part of a cheese platter, on sandwiches, or as a simple side. The tomatoes and tarragon beans are excellent in a Bloody Mary.

Use Your Pickles

Can-Do Jellies

Smooth and Sweet

Made by simmering and straining fruit, jelly gets its glossy translucence and silken texture from fresh juice. We used the smallest amount of sugar that would still allow the mixtures to set (thanks to a reaction among the sugar, acid, and naturally occurring pectin in the fruit). Besides breakfast and peanut-butter sandwiches, these preserves are excellent with cheese, like this semifirm pecorino.

Stick a Spoon In It

The Sheeting Method

To test if jelly is done, dip a large metal spoon in, lift it horizontally above pot, and let mixture drip back in. Jelly is done when mixture has thickened slightly and drops of it slide together off spoon in a sheet. (Temperature should register 221 degrees on a candy thermometer.)

A Must-Make Appetizer

Chicken-Liver Mousse with Raspberry Jelly

A glossy layer of raspberry jelly offsets the richness of the chicken liver mousse perfectly in this party-ready appetizer. Serve with an assortment of your favorite pickles.

Can-Do Jams

Chunky and Fruity

Unlike jelly, jam contains pieces of fruit -- in fact, it’s not much more than the fruit cooked down with sugar until it becomes thick and spreadable. Like jellies, jams freeze beautifully, so you can enjoy the taste of summer long after the season is gone.

A Must-Make Dessert

Plum-Jam Crumb Cake

Tender cake, plum jam, and a buttery topping make every bite of this dessert triply delicious. It’s the perfect portable treat and can be made with any flavor of jam.