Saturday, August 9, 2008

A snap and a crunch

When the vegetables started to pile up on my counter last week, I knew I had a problem. There were and still are 4 squash, which has turned into 10; 4 peppers, magically now 9;
5 cucumbers, now 2.
Now I know what you are asking? Where did the cucumbers go?
Well, I decided to do some pickling. Yes, I know, me with all my "oh my god, the kitchen is going to explode" episodes, decided that she would pickle. And no there was no damage to myself or my kitchen.
Actually, I thought about pickling two years ago, when I was a vegetarian. My mom actually sent me my great grandmother's recipe. However, the procrastinating college student, I was never got around to it, and eventually had to throw the cucumbers out. I know it was a waste of food, but I had yet to realize my food impact.
So last week, when I had the abundance of cucumbers, I decided to give Homesick Texan's pickle recipe a go. It sounded easy enough. There was no boiling of ingredients, just the sterilization of the jars, which I've done before. And in 4-6 days I'd have pickles. So I gathered ingredients, sterilized the jars, which splattered water all over my stove. I then mixed the brine added the cucumbers and placed them in the fridge. There they sat for 5 days, haunting me.
Of course, I shook them everyday and everyday was tempted to steal one, but I waited. And then today I broke and opened one of the jars. And when I bit into that first pickle spear, I died a little. That is because the pickle was so good. It had that right acidic bite and it was still firm. I had one than another than another. Finally, I just put them away before I ate them all.
Now I know the difference between the store bought pickle and homemade ones. Today when I opened up one of the jars of pickles and took a long spear out, put it between in my teeth, I felt the snap and heard the crunch. Before I even tasted it, I knew it was a great pickle because of the crispness of it. Sure you can get that from store bought, but you taste the dill more in homemade and you miss out on it being truly something you had created. The store bought ones just take away all the fun. So this is added to my list of recipes. Now what to do with the rest of the vegetables?

Refrigerator dill pickles
(from Homesick Texan)
6 Kirby cucumbers, cleaned, stemmed and halved, lengthwise
1/2 cup of white vinegar
2 tablespoons of salt
1 tablespoon of black peppercorns
1 tablespoon of coriander seeds
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of fresh dill

Place salt, peppercorns, coriander seeds, garlic and dill in a sterilized 1-quart Mason jar.
Layer sliced cucumbers in jar, leaving 1/2 inch at the top.
Pour in vinegar.
Fill jar with water, seal with lid and shake for about a minute.
Refrigerate for six days, shaking daily.

Makes 1-quart jar of dill pickles. This simple recipe, however, can easily be multiplied.

Note: I divided the recipe in have for 1/2 pint jars. They are a little sour, but that is the way I like them.


Esi said...

Wow! You have me wanting to make my own pickles, something I never would have thought to do. Thanks! :)

Jessica@Foodmayhem said...

Pickling takes a type of patience I don't think I have....I envy you and your jar of yummy pickles.

Adventures in MetroLand said...

You might try making and canning some squash soup for the winter with your excess squash. You can also freeze the summer kind really well or grate it and freeze it for zucchini bread later on. If you want to make a meatloaf of or really moist burgers you can add the shredded squash to the meat mixture. Tomatoes can be made into tomato sauce and canned for winter too.

Gillsnthrills said...

Yay! I've been looking for a good refrigerator pickle recipe. I might pick up some cucumbers at the farmers market tomorrow. Thanks!

GirlCanBake said...

Ha! You died a little!? Hilarious! I haven't made pickles yet this summer. You just might have inspired me! Thank you!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Now you've got me hankering to try making pickles. I haven't done it in years and I miss good, crisp pickles.

Hannah said...

I've gotta say, I'm a huge fan of pickles, and these sound incredible. I haven't ever made my own, but now I really want to!

Terry B said...

Wow. Now this sounds like pickling I could do. The Chicago Tribune recently had an article in its food section trying to pretend that traditional pickling and canning wasn't the enormous pain in the patoot that it is. I didn't buy it for a minute. But this sounds doable--and tasty. I approve.