Friday, August 21, 2009


Oh, how I had been dreaming of making pickles!

Nora and I got up really early on Saturday and went to the farmer's market in search of pickling cucumbers. I bought 2 pounds, but we ate those all up that same day! Crunch, crunch!

And so on Wednesday, I got up really early and went back, hoping to buy many more. Except that there were none. Fortunately, one of the farmers told me she was planning to harvest on Thursday. So I gave her my phone number.

Today, she called! It totally made my day. I have had a bottle of vinegar and a box of pickling salt sitting on my kitchen counter for over a week.

So this afternoon, we ventured out to the farm to pick up 1/4 bushel of pickling cucumbers. Luckily, the farm was not far from our house.

When we got home, we scrubbed the kitchen sink and then filled it with teeny tiny cucumbers and cold water.

Nora helped me scrub the little buggers with a vegetable brush (she scrubbed one and then asked if she could eat it). Then I cut off all of the blossom ends because I read somewhere that they contain an enzyme that makes pickles get mushy. Which sounds pretty gruesome.

Then, we put 10 pounds of ice into our camping cooler, put the clean cucumbers on top, and poured in some water. The cucumbers swam around in this icy bath for several hours while we walked next door to pick grape leaves, dill and raspberries.

Don't they look so eager to help me? Actually, they did an amazing job. We set up an assembly line, with a bowl each of peeled garlic, grape leaves and dill heads. Each girl put these into five jars, for a total of ten jars, and then filled them up with icy cold cucumbers. (FYI I also read in several places that grape leaves ensure crunchy, crispy pickles.)

While the girls played with Polly Pockets, I boiled the brine and ladeled it into the jars, then put on lids and did a 5-minute process. I also had to call my mom in to rescue me when I ran out of brine and had no more vinegar. She brought a bottle over even though she was busy with other things.

You're supposed to wait 8 weeks to try them, but I am not sure I will make it that long. I really want to go try one now, even though they are still warm, and warm pickles don't sound that great. I'll let you know how long I can contain myself and how they taste.

I am already dreaming of pickle spears and hamburger chips. Though that might have to wait until next year.

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