Tuesday, August 31, 2010

In a Pickle!

I got a little goodie packet from an aunt the other day which had this wonderful old shabby white relish dish in it that she picked up for a quarter at a garage sale in the midwest where such things are still possible, and tucked in with the dish was a jar of her home made bread and butter pickles.

Which I opened and ate in less than an hour! SO delicious and there's no way to describe how perfect that blend of salty and sweet is to someone who's never tasted them. The closest I could come up with was to say they taste similar to the Japanese cucumber salad you get in the sushi bar.

(People in California can relate to that. They can't seem to relate to being able to eat a whole jar of pickles at one setting. That's because they are thinking Vlasic Dills, or those limp, lifeless things they put on your cheeseburger at McD's.

These pickles are like a salad. A jar is about a 2 portion salad, but since I'm a hog I can eat two portions standing up while digging in the fridge for more stuff to munch. I'm just saying, is all.

Anyway, I decided to make a batch of my own so I went to the co-op and bought a likely amount of pickling cucumbers, 5  jars and the rest of the ingredients I didn't have on hand. On hand were vinegar, sugar and kosher salt aplenty.

Beautiful! They even still had the blossoms on the ends! No oiled up cukes from Paraguay, here!

I put this picture in to show my awesome knife. It's so you know I mean BUSINESS as a slicer-dicer person.

I'm pretty sure I overdid it with the salt. Isn't this beautiful though? That's my giant deep bread dough bowl. And it was just at this brining point that I realized from eyeballing these cukes that the 5 jars I had weren't going to be enough!

So I was off to the co-op again where I discovered they had their cans on sale at the moment and I got a dozen for $9.99. Which is good because the pickles were expensive! Those water-logged suckers weigh a TON. Buying produce to can it in order to save money is really a myth! You must grow your own if you are doing it for budget reasons. I'm doing it for gluttony reasons and because you can't get bread and butter pickles that taste like these unless you make them from scratch.

Back from the store and these are beautiful and starting to look like pickles. They were in the salt for 2 hours and I rinsed them very well because I could tell I'd overdone it.

20 minutes boiling the pickles and onion in the vinegar, sugar, turmeric, mustard seed and celery seed sauce. YUM!

This is where I sure wish I had a helper, a bigger stove, a bigger kitchen, and a real canner not just a pretend one. Oh, and a jar grabber and a canning funnel, too! I made do with tongs and burned fingers.

Keeping with the myth that I do things effortlessly with nary a spill or a disaster in the kitchen (LOL-not!) I carefully edited the part where the stuff slopped all over the counter, the jars got knocked over and had to be re-sterilized, and the sink was so full of sticky syrup pans and utensils that I didnt even have room to put WATER in there for washing them, and am now leaving you with this cool picture of my 9 jars of bread and butter pickles, the one jar of leftover syrup/sauce that I couldn't really bring myself to throw out, and the 2 jars of quickie-refrigerator anti-pasta pickles I made out of King Kale and some cauliflour I had on hand and threw in after the pickles were done, and which I've already eaten because I couldn't wait.

Taking into consideration all purchases and that I had to buy my own jars, I figure it cost me about $4.00 a jar for these bread and butter pickles. Really crappy ones cost that much right now at the store, and these are..well...