Monday, August 30, 2010

Tickle Me Pickled

Join me on my first adventure into pickling.  I am fairly comfortable with canning on general principle, but have mostly kept myself limited to jams, salsa, chutneys, and spiced fruits.  Therefore, I chose to have my first foray into pickling be on the simple side and opted for a refrigerated dill pickle recipe as opposed to the full blown canned pickles.  My recipe came from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.  It has served as my "canning bible" for several years now and has never let me down. 

This year we grew lemon cucumbers in the garden for the first time.  These are wonderful cucumbers that I had previously only enjoyed from the farmer's market.  They are great on sandwiches because they make a large round slice like a tomato and they are also great in salads.  They are so named because they are round and a pale yellow with small white markings/stripes.  I failed to take a picture of the lemon cucumbers before I attacked them with the mandoline, but here they are awaiting their brine bath.  The recipe called for 8 1/2 cups.  Thank heaven for mandolines!

While the brine was slowly bowling on the stove I placed dill seed, mustard seed and peppercorns in the mason jars.  The recipe had an optional ingredient of garlic cloves for this step, but I forgot my shopping list when I went to the grocery store and therefore forgot to get the garlic.  I reassured myself after I finished berating myself that the recipe did indeed state "optional" so they really can't be a deal breaker.  Right?  Guess we will find out.

Finally, all ingredients were ready to join the party.  The cucumbers have to marinate in the frig for at least two weeks before we can call them pickles and start munching.  There are then good to eat for 3 months.  I doubt they will last that long.

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