Sunday, July 27, 2008

In a Pickle

Funny, what a creature I can be of happenstance.

In this case, in regard to what I plant in each year's backyard garden, and what I do with the produce that comes from it.

This year, in May, I happened to visit a certain local garden center on a certain day, and they happened to have pickling cucumber plants for sale. So I got a four-pack of those, and a four-pack of regular cukes.

I planted them, and now in the fullness of time, I have-- cucumbers. A good many cucumbers. Too many to eat fresh, too many to give away.

So I resolved to make-- pickles.

But I was lost in a cookbook maze of crocks and brining and pickling salt and who knows what all. And that was before I could get to the vinegar and spices end of the process.

But there were all those pickling cucumbers! Nothing daunted, I hied myself to the local Agway to buy me some of this magical pickling salt. Maybe they could sell me a crock as well! And it so happened that there I discovered the pickle amateur's salvation, in the form of powdered pickling mix proffered by the estimable Mrs. Wages!

This evening I shook off the leading strings of happenstance. It was time to pickle! I assembled my forces and got to work. I used all the pickling cukes I had on hand, and part of an ordinary one, for good measure. I sterilized my jars and lids and boiled my water and timed my processing.

And now I have eight pints made with half the Polish Dill mix. Did spears, since even the smaller cukes were too big to put in whole. Could've filled one more jar, but alas! I was out of dome lids. If the bushes keep yielding, I'll have to get more Mason jars!

To be on the safe side, I used Mrs. Rombauer's fifteen-minute timing for the boiling-water processing, instead of Mrs. Wages' five. Knowing me, if I'd stopped at five I would've given myself a stomach ache when it came time to eat the pickles, worrying that they might possibly be off, even if they were perfectly good!

I am reliably informed that dill pickles are best if allowed to sit for six weeks before eating. We shall wait, and see what we have in early September!


Anonymous said...

Oh, that sounds so tasty!

I just love pickles. mmmmmmm


St. Blogwen said...

I hope they will be. I expect some of them will be a little floppy, though. JoC says the cukes should all be picked within 24 hours of pickling, but I'd had some of mine in the fridge for a week. Couldn't be helped-- you don't get that much yield off only three plants (a bird got the fourth one and it died).

Sandy said...

Ah, St. Blogwen... made my mouth water just looking at all those pickles! Yummmmmm!