4:42:00 PM
When I think about canning during the winter one of the many vegetables that doesn't do well in a pressure canner but shines in the water bath is the fennel bulb. A pickled fennel is really a flavorful jar of winter. I have done the onion fennel relish last year and it was yummy as an antipasto or good added to a salad.

This year I am looking for a flavor that will help the fennel shine on it own. Researching fennel recipes and checking my "Flavor Bible" I found citrus and sweeter flavors pair well with this winter root veggie. The brine I decided to use was more of a "bread and butter" brine and kept it simple with a meyer lemon peel like the green beans to infuse a bit of lemony flavor. Here is the recipe for Pickled Fennel.

Pickled Fennel
8 large fennel bulbs
4 cups sugar
5 tablespoons Kosher salt
6 cups white vinegar
12 slices of lemon zest without pith (2 per jar)

Preparation : Prepare 6 pint jars, lids, and rings. Sterilize the jars and keep them in the hot water till its time for processing. Make sure to fill your water bath canner and get the water to a simmer.

Cut the fennel bulbs into thick slices, removing the core and set aside in a bowl.  
In a stainless steel or enameled dutch oven add the sugar, salt and vinegar to a boil. 
Add the fennel pieces to the vinegar mixture and turn off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Make sure your jars are ready or your fennel will get mushy the longer it sits.  

Demonstration setup!

Filling the jars: On a dishtowel place your hot jars in a semi circle leaving room for your pot that has your recipe.  Using your funnel in each jar using a slotted spoon, put the fennel into the jars leaving 1/2" headspace. Start from the top of the semi circle and work your way to the end. Using a chopstick add 2 strips of the meyer lemon rind to the sides of the jars and a fennel frond from the plant. Using a ladle now fill the jars to the 1/2" headspace with the vinegar mixture.  Remove air bubbles and refill to the proper headspace if necessary. Remove your pot and taking a clean papertowel wet it with warm water and wipe the rims of the jars removing any food particles or liquid that would interfere with a good seal. Using your magic wand extract the lids from the hot water and place them on the now cleaned rims. Add your rings to the tops of each of the jars and turn to seal just "finger tight". 

Processing: Make sure your rack is on the bottom of the canner and place the jars in the water bath making sure that the water covers each of the jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add hot water to the canner if it doesn't measure up. Cover the pot and turn up the heat under the canner and wait for the water to start boiling. Once the water has come to a boil start your timer for 15 minutes. When complete turn off the heat and remove the cover and let the jars sit for another few minutes. Remove the jars and place them back on the dishtowel in a place that they will sit overnight to cool. Do not touch or move them till the next morning.

Sealing: Some time in the next hour your jars will be making a "pinging" or "popping" noise. That is the glass cooling and the reaction of the lids being sucked into the jar for proper sealing. Some recipes may take overnight to seal. Check your lids and reprocess any jars that did not seal.

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