As you can see by the blatant infrequency of my blogging as of late… shit’s been cray. There have been a slew of changes at work (all good, all super exciting), a lot of half marathon training (’twas in vain… more on that later), and a LOT of work on the SNAP! show, “In Spite of Reality” (I’m assistant directing and acting/singing as a lead). So it’s not that I have lost my desire to write. But I’ve barely had time to poop on the reg, so something had to give.
Even amidst all of this craziness, I’ve managed to find tiny pockets of precious “me” time to regain my footing and remember what I enjoy doing. Something I enjoy most of all is trying new recipes. And while it’s not technically a recipe in the traditional sense, I have always longed to learn how to pickle vegetables.
When I was in elementary school, we spent a lot of time at my grandparents’ house, where they maintained a garden that seemed to stretch for miles in the never ending wonderland of their back yard. They cultivated impressive foliage (“foliage” – what a fantastic word. Note to self to use that more often) and just about every vegetable that you can imagine. My grandfather used to take us out when he would pick, and I have a very vivid memory of him snagging a crisp green bean off the stalk and popping it right into his mouth with a hearty declaration of “Mmm! Oh that’s the stuff!” (To this day, I cannot eat green beans without fondly reliving that moment) Then, he would take us back into the house and down into the dark, damp recesses of the basement (which scared all of us shitless, by the way), and he would describe how he would can and pickle everything. He always had rows and rows of cans and jars lined up at his workstation, displaying everything from beets to cucumbers, radishes to beans, in various states of pickled deliciousness.
My grandfather savored this entire process – from planting the seed to popping the pickled delight into his mouth – and shared it with us with gusto. Well, let’s be honest, he did EVERYTHING in life with gusto. And 8-year-old Carolyn thought that his garden, his pickling room and all of the care and enthusiasm he put into it were full of wonder and magic.
(If you’re still reading after that lengthy tangent, thank you. I know, you thought you were just going to get a quick and simple recipe for making homemade pickles. And you will, I swear.)
Hence, why I have always wanted to learn to make pickles. Truth be told, I should have asked my grandfather to teach me when he was still alive. But I didn’t, so the best thing I know to do is to teach myself and to enjoy it as much as he did.
1.25 cup vinegar
3.5 cup water
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp sea salt
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 bunches of dill
3-4 average sized cucumbers
Cut cucumbers into spears.
Combine water, salt, sugar, and vinegar in a saucepan and bring to a boil on the stove. Remove from heat and cool completely.
Place cucumbers, dill, and garlic in mason jar(s). You may need to pack them in a bit. Don’t worry, the liquid will fill in the nooks and crannies.
Pour cooled liquid in jars and seal and refrigerate for 3 days. They should last about a month in the fridge.
Note: for my next batch, I plan to add a tad less sugar and a tad more salt. This recipe from Hip2Save is sweet and salty, but I prefer a stronger salty or garlicky bite to my pickles. I think it’s a matter of preference and being willing to experiment a bit.