Thursday, August 5, 2010

Polish Pickles

How beautiful my pickles!
(I JUST learned how to caption pics in blogger)
My fridge has been taken over by cucumbers. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good thing, I enjoy a cuke now and then. And I’ve been finding some creative ways to cook with them (see fried cucumbers). The point of this blog and joining my farm share was for a culinary adventure -- try something new, be inspired by new things, and experiment. So with the idea of experimentation in mind, I decided to attempt to make pickles.

A personal note about pickles: I’m a very picky pickle eater. I like them crunchy and I like them flavorful. I detest those thin little pickles you get in a jar that taste like mush. Bleh! I rarely eat the pickles that come alongside a sandwich in a restaurant because I am skeptical about them. I like a nice crisp, garlicky, dill pickle that has a kick. I suppose I am certifiably a pickle snob. My dad used to make pickles when I was younger, using the whole cucumber and jarring them in our basement for months in a brine of salt, whole garlic, and onions. Now THOSE were pickles. The recipe he used was an old Ukrainian recipe that I can only assume was passed down from my grandmother. Though I thought about trying that old time recipe, I really have no place to put 20 jars of pickles.

I used 4 pretty big cucumbers
Alas, I was looking for something a little…. Easier. I searched the web and came up with a huge variety of pickle recipes, really, it was a number that blew my mind. Who knew there were so many ways of creating pickles? Jarring them, letting them sit from anywhere to a day to weeks, different flavors, styles, my oh my. I was really beginning to get overwhelmed.

I sliced them into rounds
Then destiny struck. My weekly farm share newsletter came with a pickle recipe! An OVERNIGHT pickle recipe! Not to mention the recipe originated with a Polish guy named Joe who used to make the pickles and bring them into the American Legion. Now I know Polish people, (I mean I am half Polish after all), and we are picky about our pickles (see above). Knowing this recipe came from Joe made me confident in their greatness. And oh gosh, they just seemed so easy!

The hardest part about this recipe? Waiting overnight to try a pickle! I know, patience is not my strong suit…. Just think how bad it would have been waiting for a few weeks. Yikes.

The large jar before pouring in the liquid
I followed all directions carefully (though I ended up using 4 cucumbers, not the amount they suggested… maybe my cukes were much bigger than what they recipe had intended). I sliced some of the cucumbers I got pickle rounds and then I also made some spears for variety. The liquid mixture was perfect to fill a tall canister and a shorter canister that I had on hand.

Tick, tick, tick, 24 hours went by… then I popped open one of my jars of pickles from the fridge. I was nervous. I really wanted them to be good. And they were! They were wonderfully crispy and had an impressive garlicy, dill, seasoning kick that is just delicious! I have been snacking on them ever since! I suggest you make some, maybe for a party or picnic or just for fun.

Na Zdrowie! Happy pickling!

Oh how yummy!
Ingredients & Directions --

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • Bring to a boil and let cool.
  • Add:
  • 1 tbsp. pickling spice
  • 1 tbsp. mustard seed
  • 15 to 18 cucumbers, sliced
  • 1 onion
  • As much garlic and dill as you want (I sprinkled in crushed garlic and dill after each layer of pickles.)
  • Layer cucumbers, onions, garlic and dill in a gallon jug in multiple layers.
  • Pour liquid into jar and refrigerate overnight. Keep refrigerated.

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