Making pickles seemed like such a great idea.
I seeded three sorts of cucumbers, and planted out a dozen plants in late spring.
The plants flowered all over, tons of blooms. I began to fear for a tidal wave of production.
(You know how I feel about tidal waves.)
Still, I watered them every day, and picked maybe 1 to 3 nice ripe mature cucumbers about that often–more than enough for fresh eating.
It seemed time to make pickles.
A little research revealed that pickle recipes demand maybe 40 pounds of cucumbers, each one four inches long and each one picked on the same day after which you instantly start the esoteric days and weeks of the pickling process. ( I calculated that I should have planted about two acres of cucumbers for a batch.)
The Food Preservation Committee–the dog and I–held an emergency meeting in the lawn swing and were in complete agreement that making traditional pickles was simply not a choice at this juncture. (“Maybe during some other incarnation” is what we put in the footnote of the meeting minutes.)
But life is sometimes fair and doors open or anyway computers load data and I found many recipes for what I am calling “Instant Sweet Pickles” –which just means you eat them now instead of canning them and eating them later, always a plus for those of us with no patience. Or perhaps I rationalize (rationalise) again. (I know I do it.) Anyway this whole summer pickles thing is quick and really good and, call them marinated or call them pickled, we are about to consume this season’s fifth quart of them.. So here’s a recipe–
Instant Sweet Pickles
Put 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 cup sugar, 1.5 tablespoons salt into a little kettle. Fill a tea strainer with pickling spices and toss it in. Simmer everything for about ten minutes.
Fill a quart jar with cucumber slices layered between a few rings of sweet onion. (I’ve also added green beans. You can get creative here.)
Take the tea thing out of the kettle and pour the hot syrup into the jar over the sliced cucumbers. It won’t quite fill the jar at first but as the veggies get hot they kind of sink and then it’s plenty of liquid to cover them. I turn the jar now and then as it cools, then refrigerate. They keep for a couple of weeks at least but probably they will be gone before that…
I bought the pickling spices in bulk as a mix and I’m not certain what is included.
Peppercorns. Cinnamon chips. Celery seeds. Bay leaves maybe…
I’ve tried this recipe with both pickling salt and regular salt and I don’t see a difference. I also used little “pickling” cucumbers along with English ones, all good.
These pickles are grand on sandwiches or just plain or in salads like pasta salad or potato salad…
Which brings me to the potatoes–just a small update.
The plants have fallen over in their pots. Which is a lot of falling because they became tall. Some of them bloomed. I will wait for their obvious demise at which time I will dig. Stay tuned, because it will possibly be the closest we ever come to the experience of opening an Egyptian tomb.