At last!! Pickles Worth Pickling!

Still Life With Pickles

OK, so this is not a quilting project; it has nothing to do with fabric, wool, or thread; and it is not the least bit decorative. But it is a significant personal achievement, so it goes on the blog.

I have been making pickles for probably 30 years. And they have never been able to hold a candle to what I can get with my bagel at Einsteins. I have always considered this to be a personal failing. My earliest pickles, made with a recipe from the Vermont Extension Service (this will date my efforts for most Crackpots) had great flavor but were limp and mooshy. Later efforts, using more up-to-date recipes, produced crisp pickles that were so acid as to make one’s throat constrict. I even tried old-fashioned brined, fermented pickles. Not surprisingly, they turned out to be salty. Last year I tried a recipe from “Too Many Tomatoes….. a Cookbook for When Your Garden Explodes,” called icicle pickles. They were nice and crisp but too acid and flavored with celery seed, which I didn’t like. Finally, last month, in desperation, I decided to try using the method for the icicle pickles and the pickling solution from the Vermont Extension Service. The key elements in the combined recipe are: 1) dilute the vinegar in the pickling solution and 2) do not process for more than 5 min. Today, after allowing the pickles to pickle for about 6 weeks, we tried them with lunch. Eureka!!!! They crunched!!! They tasted like dill!!! They did not make our throats close up!!!! THEY ARE WORTH EATING!! Now we can say, “Gee, a nice pickle would taste good with this,” instead of “Hmmm, we should probably try to eat a pickle with this because we have to eat up these pickles some day.” In fact, the old pickles will be tossed on the land fill where they will turn into compost and free up lots of canning jars for other canning efforts. (Notice how adroitly I can rationalize throwing away food in this case.) You can expect pickles for lunch, Crackpots, but not for Christmas presents. We only had enough cucumbers for one batch. Maybe next year…

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