In a Pickle
So when I went out to check the garden before we went out of town, in addition to the bumper crop of baby eggplant (delightfully ironic that the one veggie thriving in our garden is the one I don’t like very much), I also found a few stunted and sad cucumbers–they are weird, there is this sort of “bulb” of happy cucumberness on one end, and the other end looks like a stunted gherkin. I also had about half an inch of white vinegar left in the old container which I wanted to get rid of.
So I figured, what the heck–Picked them, cut them into wedges, and made a small jar of pickles. And chopped up another with some drying-out baby carrots and the remainder of an onion, changed the brine a little, and made some sweet pickle relish. I know I’ll be the only one eating these, since my family doesn’t like pickles, so the one tiny jar thing is probably pretty good.
Basically, pickles are much easier than I thought they were, and less scary in terms of bugs getting in. (After all, vinegar and water solution is what I use to scrub my toilet, so it stands to reason that the stuff is fairly bug-unfriendly!). You heat vinegar and some salt (or vinegar, salt, and sugar) almost to boiling. While it’s heating, you pack your veggies and whatever “pickling spice” you’re using into clean jars (I sterilize them if I’m not planning to do the water bath, which I didn’t have time for this time), and then pour the vinegar solution into the jars and seal them. Really simple. Explore the internet on your own for a gajillion varieties and possibilities–I’m still basically using the ones from The Art of Preserving, although I’m futzing a lot with the spice combos listed there.
Anyway, it’s cool to have something fairly easy to do with veggies that would otherwise be rotting in my crisper drawer!