03 December 2008

In a pickle

Well, yes.

I could be speaking of the current
Parliamentary-constitutional issue that's before us. For those Canadians who, a few weeks ago, wished for some excitement in our political sphere, I think you'll find that things have gotten a wee bit peppier on The Hill.

And I know I'm not the only one who's heard the occasional "
prorogue" as "perogy," summoning a former GG, the late The Rt. Hon. Ray Hnatyshyn, in hopes for a recipe or two.

Perhaps that will be the next post...

But for now, I'm writing about pickles. Cucumber pickles, to be accurate.

I must admit that I'm a bit of a sour pickle addict I come by it honestly as My Dear Little Cardamummy is also one. And I must admit that prior to this past summer, I've never made pickles. My Dear Little Cardamummy decided years ago (20, I believe) to make cucumber pickles...without a recipe. And as with so many adventures, she doesn't experiment in small batches. No. She made many, many, many jars of pickles. In fact, she opened the last jar this year. No. It didn't keep.

So this year we made pickles. Well...I made pickles. She wasn't up to standing near a stove of vinegar so I wound up replenishing her pantry (and stocking mine). Thanks to our
lovely and gracious Dana, I was pointed here to answer my canning questions...and this is where I found the ketchup recipe I was quite happy with.

Admittedly, I was a little trepedacious about pickle-making. I remember watching a Good Eats episode about the process...complete with a special pickle crock whose lid resembled a giant slice of lotus root, and days of scumming and skimming. Umm...No. For this first adventure, I just wanted something relatively low maintenance: boil, spice, pour and store. The other things was I wanted sour, crunchy dills. Mum's pickles (the ones that were good...the ones from years ago) were on the softer side and although vinegary, not really dilly. As I was bound and determined to follow instruction of someone who actually knows what they're doing, I found this recipe for
Kosher dill-style pickles after a brief poke through the canning site.

After I read through the recipe and a quick trip to the farmer's market for little pickling cucumbers and fresh dill, I set to work in her kitchen. Remember: she has all the canning equipment. My word it was easy. Really easy. So easy I thought I'd done something wrong or missed something or lost a section of the printout. But no. It really was that easy.

The hard part was letting the jars of sour, crunchy jadey goodness sit for two months.

Two whole months.

Now I have wonderful self control....Mum on the other hand needs to be reminded why she needs to stay away from the jars. Often. Like, daily.

Earlier last month we cracked the first jar open. Wow. They were sour ( I used pickling vinegar at seven per cent acidity, instead the normal vinegar that's at five per cent). They were crunchy (because I tipped and tailed the cukes) and they were dilly. I know my mum has already gone through one one-litre jar...I have a bout four pickles left in my first jar. I also know that next year, I'll have to do a double batch, probably for each of us...


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K and S said...

what a great post! the pickles sound delicious, I could feel my mouth pucker with your descriptions of them :)

glamah16 said...

Now that is something I have always wanted to do. She really thought her jar of pickles would be good after 20 years! Were you there when she opened it?

Anonymous said...

My mouth is watering. I love pickles, and all summer long make a countertop version that turns out beautiful half-sours in two days, though they do not keep in the fridge forever. Which is fine, because I eat them constantly!

Anonymous said...

Always glad to share the pickle love! I'm half Ukranian so I come from a long line of pickle and perogi makers. In fact, my Aunt Joyce arrived yesterday from Winnipeg with 10 dozen homemade perogies in her suitcase that will be served on Sunday at my mom's holiday open house. I hope that someone brings some good pickles! You wouldn't happen to be free by any chance...?

NKP said...

I love pickles, good for you for making your own. I did a few this summer, just getting my feet wet in the canning world - I actually had no idea how long they were supposed to sit after being canned - thanks for the heads up!

Sara said...

mmmm pickles! i tried making kosher pickles a few years back, where they had to brine at room temperature in a crock.....did not go well. since then i've only made bread and butter pickles cause i can't mess those up.

Joy said...

Pickletastic! I think you should put a jar of these in the menu for hope raffle - tasty!