The easiest, fastest way to boost a simple dish? Keep a jar of flavor-packed pickle on hand. A perfect combo of sweet and sour, this chunky tomato-pepper relish, aka "pea helper," dresses up a bowl of black-eyed peas, crowder peas, lima beans--any old legume you can think of. Hence the nickname! This makes the perfect hostess gift because it's unique and versatile. And let's face it, who doesn't want their beans to be more exciting?
To make ahead: Refrigerate for up to 1 month. If canned, store at room temperature for up to 1 year.
Equipment: 7 pint-size (16 oz.) canning jars with lids
Tips: Wash jars, lids and bands in hot, soapy water. Rinse well; dry the bands. Place the rack in the canning pot and place the jars, right-side up, on the rack. Add enough water to cover the jars by at least 1 inch. Cover the pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat, but keep the jars in the hot water, covered, until ready to use.
When the recipe is ready, remove the jars from the hot water with the jar lifter, pour out any water, and place on a towel (if placed directly on a cold surface, the jars could crack). Add vegetables or pickle recipes to the jars. Use the funnel to fill jars with brine, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace and making sure the liquid covers the vegetables. Run a chopstick around the inside of the jars to release any air bubbles. Wipe the rims with a clean towel. Add lids and rings and tighten until just finger-tight (won't move with gentle pressure), but don't overtighten.
1 vegetable, 1/2 other carb