Sunday, September 16, 2007

Pickles

It's that time of year again...or maybe I'm a bit late? We went to the market yesterday morning and there they were, dozens of baskets of perfect little cucumbers, just begging to be made into pickles! I wasn't going to do it this year, what with everything else going on, but the cukes just looked so good, and it was a beautiful day, and I figured that I had a spare couple of hours, and well, that's why I'm always cooking. I get suckered in and inspired....by things like cucumbers.


Last year I made pickles for the first time- my first attempt at canning. Actually, it was more like pseudo canning since I went the 'refrigerator' pickle route. That means no boiling and sterilizing and sealing, and then worrying about killing someone via botulism everytime you offer up a pickle. Experienced canners might not worry, but I'm not ready to take the chance. I'm still haunted by the scene in Larry's Party where the daughter-in-law accidently kills the mother-in-law with some home canned beans. After that, the marriage was pretty much never the same. Ha ha.


This method means, for the the uninitiated, that you plop the stuff in a clean jar, cover it in brine, screw on the lid and stick it in the fridge. Ready to eat after 4 days, last a year....as long as you store them in the fridge. Easy. I'm no pioneer woman, so this is my idea of canning! Someday I'll attempt the real thing.

So, since the boys in this family are the primary pickle eaters, I put Colin to work scrubbing the cucumbers while Ethan had his afternoon nap. I'd made the brine earlier in the day, so all I had to do was peel dozens of garlic cloves, slice up the onions, wash the dill. We don't often work together in the kitchen, so this was nice....an actually chance for real conversation! And now, the man appreciates his pickles even more :)

Refrigerator Dill Pickles (adapted from Maggie Johnson's recipe, from the FoodWine list)
Makes approximately 15 - 500ml jars

12 cups water
4 cups vinegar
1 cup kosher salt
Dill seed
Mustard seed
3 onions, sliced
1 bunch fresh dill
2-3 heads of garlic, separated into cloves & peeled
1 - 4 litre basket of small cucumbers, halved, quartered or sliced

Put water, vinegar and salt into a pan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool to room temperature. Put 1/2 teaspoon dill seed, ½ tsp mustard seed, 1 clove of garlic and a few pieces of fresh dill flower in the bottom of each jar. Pack with onions and cucumbers. Put another clove of garlic, ½ teaspoon dill seed, ½ tsp mustard seed and more fresh dill on top. Add more or less of the garlic and spices according to your taste. Pour vinegar solution over the top. Let sit on counter for a few hours, then refrigerate. The pickles will be ready to eat in four days.

Pickles last one year. Store in refrigerator.

3 comments:

Rennagayle said...

Thank you for sharing the pickle recipe. Yours look scrumptious!

Are onions added for the benefit of flavoring the pickles, or for the purpose of eating? I ask because we don't care for eating pickled onions, so I'm wondering if it would be okay to ommit them or are they needed to make the pickles taste right?

BEATRICE said...

Hi Rennagayle....I've tried to reply to your comment a few times, but keep getting the email bouncing back. Thought I'd try here, in case you came back.

Glad you stopped by and I hope you like the pickles! I use the onions primarily for flavouring the pickles, but they are also good on their own. I've never not used the onions when making the recipe so I'm not sure what effect omitting them would have. Maybe try some with and some without? Now you've got me curious so please let me know how you make out if you try them.

Beatrice

RennaGayle said...

I just discovered you'd answered me here! I'm not sure why my e-mail wasn't working. :-o

I haven't yet tried the pickles, but have copied the recipe off to retain for when I get a good deal on some cukes!

Thanks for responding! :)