Saturday, October 1, 2016

Pickle 'em while you can...

I started pickling and canning vegies and fruit at an early age. Mostly, as a "keep her busy" project with my Dad...at least I thought. Now, that I'm older what I thought was an attempt to keep me out of trouble was actually the passing down of family recipes and secrets to a child who showed interest in the culinary arts.
Unfortunately, Daddy has passed on and until recently I didn't know how complicated pickling, jarring and canning was. It's m me a year to capture the sweet tangy taste of homemade pickles we shared, until now.
The secret? Most recipes call for a combination of apple cider vinegar and white vinegar to the liquid. But, much to my surprise after adding most of the ingredients to the pot which was already starting to boil I reached for the white vinegar ... and the cupboard was bare.
What to do... what to do? I thought plain ole water will have to do. It was risky at best and could possibly dilute the already simmering  pot of sugar, apple cider vinegar and pickling spices.
I did what most artist do ... I tasted the brew to see if it made a difference. Actually, it didn't in fact I think it might have helped a little.
After the initial boil. And then the second boil I placed the sliced cucumbers and onions in three separate containers. Poured the pickling liquid into each one and prayed for the best. Now, at this point I should say, fill/pack your jars to the brim. Pack the pickles tightly into the jar. Otherwise, as shown the pickles will just float in the liquid. It isn't really a problem, but it does make for a better final product.
A day later the pickles were sweet, tangy and spicy. Just the way Grandma made them. And the onions weren't half bad either. I took a jar to my friends and fellow foodie's house. She thought the pickles would be best served with hot dogs and hamburgers. That's music to a foodies ears.
 
Pickling does a heart good. Next time you reach for a jar of relish or pickles at the supermarket. Look at the price and ask yourself is it worth $3.99+ or more. Then, venture on the wild side and make your own. There a tons of recipes to follow for pickling so ... grab a onion, cucumber and make some magic.
 
Cooking with love makes any recipe taste better ... and possibly the spirit of my Grandmother was watching over me with love, too.