In a pickle

It’s nearly winter, and I failed to summon the courage over fall to experiment with canning.

I don’t know why I’m intimidated — maybe I’m afraid of flubbing instructions included with canning jars; maybe buying fruit from the grocery store feels like cheating, as my yard isn’t sunny enough to grow my own — but I’m not going there. Maybe next year.

I did, however, venture into pickle territory.

As you may recall, we had an abundance of cucumbers this summer, on through autumn, really. So when I harvested all that mint & put the yard to bed, I plucked all the remaining cucumbers off the vine and got to work.

pickling

It was easy: easy ingredients, easy procedure. And the finished jar was so pretty.

aerial pickle jar

It’s now nearly Christmas, and there’s a pickle tie-in: die weihnachtsgurke (“the Christmas cucumber”). Legend tells us that German families traditionally hide a pickle ornament on the tree, its deep green acting as a camouflage, and the first child to spot the ornament on Christmas morning gets a special present. (Ironically, Germans don’t actually do this; Americans do. I even own one of these.) Christmas pickles. Do it.

Easy pickles
1/2 dozen or so cucumbers of any shape or size, cut lengthwise
1 cup kosher salt (table salt won’t work)
2+ cups water
2+ cups vinegar
assortment of savory herbs & flavors (I used dill, whole garlic cloves & black peppercorn)
large (5+ cup) seal-able glass jar

1. Add halved cucumbers and herbs to your jar.
2. In a saucepan, bring water and salt to a boil until salt dissolves. Remove from heat and add vinegar.
3. Pour saltwater-vinegar solution over pickles until jar is nearly full (leave about a 1/2 inch for shaking room) and let cool completely.
4. Seal jar tightly, then shake pickles in their brine.
5. Refrigerate for at least 2 full days (agitate the jar every so often) before unsealing to enjoy your pickles.