Tuesday, August 21

Pickles: from seed to jar

In June, among the tiny pots filled with herbs and flowers and jalapeƱos, I planted cucumber seeds on my fire escape. The fantasy was that by the end of the summer I would harvest and jar my own pickles, old-timey, back-to-the-land domestic style. Cucumber turned out to be a surprising low-maintenance and resilient plant. It sprouted within days and grew quickly into large, furry-prickly leaves and delicate yellow blossoms. While most of my herbs and flowers wilted, my cucumber pot withstood intense heat, squirrel attacks and even a water-less, neglectful week while I was away. Needless to say, I've developed a deep affection for this plant.
About three weeks ago I had my first, thrilling little harvest. I immediately heated up some white vinegar, a sprinkle of sugar and a tablespoon of salt and poured the mixture over a jar packed with the julienned cuke slivers, a few sprigs of dill, a half teaspoon of cumin, red pepper flakes, peppercorns, and two garlic cloves. We ate the pickles this weekend. They turned out to be crisp and flavorful and a little spicy and taste like "real" fancy pickles—seriously one of the most satisfying culinary projects I've ever undertaken.
Everyone should pickle.

4 comments:

Allergic Girl said...

i've been pickling kirbys for weeks too-so easy and delish to do.

but not with cukes that i had grown myself. seriously impressive ms. ate.

i'm sure they taste even better b/c you grew them. in NYC. on your fire escape. fanatstic!

Kelly said...

Yum! I never thought I was a big pickle fan until a roommate made hot and spicy garlic pickles...it was love at first bite.

Cinde said...

I am growing my own cucumbers and green beans for pickling too. I can't wait to try them... I am inspired by your success!

Cheers,
Cinde

Visit my blog for gluten free vegetarian recipes: http://www.glutenfreetasteofhome.blogspot.com/

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